Have you ever paused and checked out other vehicles while stuck in traffic? Chances are you were able to spot a car magnet or two, probably plastered on a pick-up or a company vehicle. When you get home, check out a random racing channel, and you’ll be bombarded with a blur of decals, wraps, and magnets sporting the biggest brands and names in various industries.
Car magnets are a cost-effective way to promote a business—they are much more affordable than vehicle wraps and decals. Because they’re removable, you purchase them only once. Does your business need more exposure? Drive around with your car magnets installed, and you are bound to be noticed by thousands of other drivers and passersby.
If you think it sounds too good to be true and you’re waiting for the catch, you’re not alone. A quick Google search of “Do car magnets cause paint damage?” brings up almost six million results.
So, do they?
Proper Way to Use Car Magnets
To set the record straight—no, car magnets do not damage paint if installed and cared for correctly.
Car magnets work the same way as any other magnet. Stick them slowly and carefully on a clean, dry, and flat metallic surface, and they’re guaranteed to stay put. Since a car magnet is thicker than a car decal, avoid applying it over bevels, creases, and grooves to prevent air pockets. Use a squeegee to ensure that every square inch comes in contact with the vehicle’s body—the slightest gap will cause the magnet to lift and fly off once the wind gets under it. Rounding the corners of the car magnet also helps it stay on longer since sharp points are prone to lifting.
Scratches and dings are usually caused by dirt and debris stuck between the magnet and the vehicle. To avoid these, check both the car’s surface and the magnet itself before installing. To reposition an installed car magnet, peel it off carefully instead of dragging it across the body.
Car magnets should also be removed and cleaned at least once a week—more so during summer or if the car is regularly exposed to intense heat and UV rays. Otherwise, the magnet will get stuck, and you’ll have difficulty peeling it off without damaging the car’s exterior. Removing the car magnet regularly also prevents the exterior paint from unevenly fading. Check your car magnets after heavy rain or snowfall as well because there’s a chance that water might have seeped in.
If the vehicle recently underwent a paint or waxing job, observe the curing period before installing the car magnet. The average curing time is 90 days for car paint, 60 days for clear coat, and only two days for wax.
There is also a proper way to store car magnets when not used. Keep them laid flat in a clean and dry place to avoid molds and cracks. Store each magnet separately, or at least keep the magnetic sides from not facing each other.
When installing a car magnet, keep these guidelines in mind to make the most out of your marketing materials without compromising your vehicle’s overall look.