How Long Do Racing Stripes Last?


June 20, 2022

Racing Stripes
Table Of Contents

You want your vehicle to look custom and cool – but you don’t want to waste your money. So if you’re investing in racing stripes on your vehicle, you need the fact. 

There are two main types of racing stripes: painted and vinyl. Painted racing stripes are applied to the vehicle in the same way that regular paint is, while vinyl racing stripes are a vinyl decal that is applied to the vehicle. 

Vinyl racing stripes offer plenty of benefits versus paint. Let’s explore all there is to know about vinyl racing stripes to answer all your must-know questions. 

What Are Vinyl Racing Stripes?

Vinyl racing stripes are a type of vinyl decal that is applied to the car. Vinyl racing stripes offer several advantages over painted stripes, such as being easier to apply, less expensive, and can even be longer-lasting.

Why Racing Stripes?

Racing stripes can make a car look faster, at least according to the adage. That’s why most people associate stripes with race cars. Classic racing icons like Shelbys and BMW’s M racers featured stripes that added to their visual appeal and made them iconic and memorable.

On the surface, a stripe may look merely like a cool flashy feature. However, racing stripes also serve an important purpose. They indicate to race teams which cars are theirs so they can keep an eye out for their team car when it comes in for service during a pit stop.

And racing stripes don’t only allow the pit crew to notice their cars more easily, they also serve the same purpose for fans! When fans can tell by the stripes which driver they’re rooting for, they’re more likely to pay close attention to the cars as they drive around the track.

Thus, racing stripes have practical benefits and visual appeal both on and off the racetrack. 

How Are Vinyl Stripes Different Than Wrapping A Car?

Vinyl racing stripes are similar to vehicle wraps. Typically, a car wrap refers to the process of covering a car completely in a vinyl cover like a second skin. With racing stripes, the application process is similar, but installers use much less material, making the project much less expensive. 

Additionally, racing stripes tend to be solid colors, whereas car wraps are often covered in logos or designs for business advertising purposes. Meanwhile, racing strips are more about visual appeal than business marketing. However, you can add vinyl graphics anywhere on your vehicle to accent the stripes!

How Much Do Vinyl Racing Stripes Cost?

Vinyl racing stripes typically cost between $50 and $100, depending on the size and style of the stripes. The cost to paint stripes on a vehicle is similar. However, there are advantages to using vinyl. 

Both secondary paint (like to add a stripe) and vinyl can fade. However, if your vinyl racing stripes eventually fade, you can easily remove and replace them. With painted stripes, you’d have to repaint the entire vehicle. A difficult and costly endeavor. 

Will Racing Stripes Increase Or Lower The Value And Cost Of My Car?

Racing stripes typically do not affect the value or cost of a car. However, if you paint stripes on your car, you could actually be lowering the value of your car. You see, customizations are meant for the individual – you. If you sell your car, the new owner might not be into the same look. 

Luckily, vinyl stripes are fully removable. That means whether you own or simply lease your car, it’s an affordable customization with no long-term implications on the car’s value. 

How Are Racing Stripes Painted Or Applied?

Racing stripes are painted or applied in the same way as a regular paint job. However, vinyl racing stripes are a vinyl decal that is applied to the car. Installers start by cleaning the car to prep the surface, then heating the vinyl and applying it. The application process does not damage the car’s original paint. 

If you opt for paint, you are completely changing the body of the vehicle. Painted stripes are permanent and you cannot easily reverse or replace them. 

How Long Will Racing Stripes Last On A Car?

Vinyl racing stripes typically last for several years without fading or peeling. Painted racing stripes may last for a few years, but may eventually fade or peel, as well.

Like other kinds of vinyl wraps, vinyl racing stripes will last longer the better they are maintained. Meanwhile, a paint stripe requires regular waxing and polishing to prevent chipping and discoloration. 

To extend the life of car and hood stripes, clean them regularly and keep the car out of direct sunlight whenever possible. Sun exposure and excessive heat can damage the vinyl, so park under covered spots whenever possible. 

Painted stripes versus vinyl stripes

Painted racing stripes are applied to the car in the same way that regular paint is, while vinyl racing stripes are a vinyl decal that is applied to the car. Generally speaking, it is not wise to paint your vehicle. The process is expensive, and if you opt for a cheaper job, you will likely regret it. 

Vinyl wrap material is temporary – which in the case of racing stripes is actually ideal. You can freshen the look to maintain a cool, trendy style, all without permanently damaging or altering your vehicle. 

How Do You Care For Vinyl Stripes On A Car?

Regular maintenance will help you keep your acing stripes looking great. That means gentle cleaning and some waxing now and then. Nothing too difficult, really!

When cleaning your car, it’s best to avoid automatic car washes, unless they’re brushless. Vinyl wraps and decals are made to peel off eventually, and brushes and hire-pressure hoses can hasten that process. 

So whether you have a wrap or a stripe, proper care includes cleaning with a mild soap and drying with a soft cloth. 

Care also means sun protection! Park your vehicle in covered, shady, or indoor locations as much as you can. 

Can You Wax Vinyl Racing Stripes?

Yes, you can wax vinyl racing stripes. Waxing will help protect the vinyl from UV rays and keep the racing stripes looking new. Wax over the stripes by hand so you don’t snag an edge with a buffer. Make sure you use a wax intended for vinyl decals. 

Are Racing Stripes Worth It?

Racing stripes are a matter of personal preference. Some people think they add a cool, sporty look to a car, while others think they are tacky. Ultimately, the decision of whether or not to add racing stripes to your car is up to you!

Racing stripes may add value to your vehicle as an “upgrade” when you’re looking to sell it. Alternatively, if your buyer is not interested in this style, vinyl stripes can be removed, leaving no trace. 

Overall, determining the worth of applying a racing stripe or stripes to your vehicle is about the enjoyment you will get out of it. And for a relatively low cost, they are typically “worth” it if they bring you any joy!

DIY Racing Stripes Vs. Professional Application

Racing stripes can be applied either DIY style or by a professional. If you decide to install them yourself, there are many online tutorials and videos that can show you how. 

However, we recommend having a professional apply your racing stripes for the best results. As we’ve mentioned, racing stripes are applied just like vinyl wraps. This process involves heating, stretching, trimming, and adhering… A lot of fine detail work!

If you don’t have all the necessary tools and materials, like a heating gun, hard and soft squeegees, edge adhesive, etc. you may be in over your hard. And for the relatively low cost of having a professional installation, you’re often better off knowing your stripes will look great and last a long time. Trust a pro. 

And when it comes time to replace or remove your stripes, it’s best to take it to a pro, as well. This way you won’t have to worry about accidentally scratching or otherwise damaging your car’s paint in the process. 

What To Plan For When Adding Vinyl Stripes To Your Car

When adding vinyl racing stripes to your vehicle, you will need to take into account the cost of the vinyl, the cost of professional installation, and the care and maintenance of the vinyl.

Other Cost Considerations Of Vinyl Racing Stripes

In addition to the cost of the vinyl and professional installation, you will also need to take into account the care and maintenance of the vinyl racing stripes. 

Waxing and cleaning your racing stripes on a regular basis will help them last longer. However, these ongoing costs are minimal. 

What If I Want To Remove Vinyl Racing Stripes From My Car?

If you want to remove a vinyl racing stripe from your vehicle, you can do so by heating up the stripe with a hairdryer and then peeling it off. However, take care not to scratch the paint underneath. 

Typically, you can remove vehicle stripes on your own. Unlike car wraps, they cover a much smaller portion of the vehicle. However, the important part is to lift the edge up to start the process without chipping the paint, and then to pull back and peel carefully without pulling up any paint, as well. 

If you’re concerned about doing this yourself, you can always go to a professional installer to have the stripes removed. It’s best to take your vehicle to a car wash afterward to remove any remaining adhesive. 

Bottom line: how long do vinyl racing stripes last?

Vinyl racing stripes, like vinyl wraps, typically last for several years without fading or peeling. 

The biggest factors that impact longevity are care (how often they are cleaned and waxed), sun exposure (how much they are driven or parked outside in the sun), and other life factors like getting scratched or dinged up during regular use. Meanwhile, painted racing stripes may last for a few years, but may eventually fade or peel. 

Many people find stripes on cars to be an iconic throwback to the early days of racing, or a sexy and trendy way to make your car look faster. Ultimately, the decision of whether or not to add racing stripes to your car is up to you! 

Do you have any questions about vinyl racing stripes that we didn’t answer here? Let us know in the comments below! And be sure to check out our other articles on vinyl car wrap care and maintenance. Happy driving!

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