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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Wax Over Decals

We own a Keystone Passport travel trailer with a fiberglass exterior. I like to keep a coat of wax on the trailer to protect it. The trailer has many decorative decals and I have been told that wax can harm the decals. It is a real pain to wax the trailer and not the decals. Is there a recommended product that can be used on both the fiberglass and the decals? Ken H., (Aurora, CO) 

Frankly Ken, I believe a lot depends on the type and quality of the material used to make the decals and/or applied graphics and how well they were applied; in other words, to what degree of preparation, etc. My research shows many various comments and suggestions for applying or not applying wax over graphics. Some have had success while others have not. Mequiars product specialist, Michael Stoops had this to say:

“You can wax over vinyl stickers, decals and graphics if they are smooth and glossy in appearance. For those that are matte finished it's best not to wax over them, but we have seen some really good success with Gold Class Trim Detailer lightly applied to matte finished graphics.

A couple of things to look out for:

  • Pointed edges on decals can be prone to lifting if rubbed over too often and once they lift, it's pretty much game over for that decal.  
  • Dark colored graphics against dark paint (think red on black, etc) may show dried wax along the edges that you'd have to clean up with some Quik Detailer and a soft brush.  Not a serious problem, just a little extra detail work.”
All that said, I would suggest trying it in on a very small decal first to determine if it will work. Having a spare decal on hand in case it doesn’t, is probably another good idea. But with all the varied suggestions found all over the Internet, I’d say it’s a crap shoot when it comes to waxing over graphics. With so many unknown factors, it’s almost a mandate to try it and see if any harm is done. But there is clearly a risk, as determined by some.

I think it would be wise to ask Keystone and see what they recommend and also to see if they have any spare decals just in case.

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