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Best and Worst Car Stickers and Decals

It’s fun to add flair to your vehicle, but not every choice is a winner. Here’s some of the best and worst car stickers. Got anymore to add?

The Cheapest Way to Personalize Your Vehicle

Car covered in stickers
Car covered in stickers

I remember getting my first car as a teenager and immediately slapping stickers all over it. Some random skateboard and paintball brands, some symbols from the Star Wars movies, and even some cringeworthy meme ones thrown in. While it didn’t make that Chevy Malibu look any cooler, it made the car feel more like my own. Looking back, I probably should have held back a little on getting a bunch of “cool” stickers and invested more on keeping up on maintenance items, but hindsight is 20/20.

While I can think back and laugh at the sticker bombed mess I left on that old car, there are some people still out there driving with some terrible car stickers or decal choices. Obviously, if the owner likes what I consider a bad sticker or decal, then by all means continue to own it. Not all sticker choices I consider bad either, though. There are also some nice, subtle choices I can commend and others that I wouldn’t mind putting on my next sports car to give it some panache. So, here’s a list of some of the best and some of the worst car stickers and decals out there.

Best: A Sports Team Logo

NFL vinyl decal - fanatics.com
NFL vinyl decal - fanatics.com

Have a favorite NFL, MLB, NHL, or NBA team? Feel free to support them with their logo on the back of your vehicle. It’s not too intrusive, there are varying designs to choose from, and whatever team you ride with is usually a lifelong commitment, so no worries about disliking it years later. Obviously, less is more here. Don’t go overboard with tons of different variations on your team’s logo all across your vehicle unless you’re commonly traveling to tailgate parties. In that case, you’ll fit right in.

Worst: Bumper Stickers

Tailgate covered in bumper stickers
Tailgate covered in bumper stickers

Bumper stickers are available at every gift shop or gas station around the United States, and act as a plague among the available car stickers. Dumb dad jokes, snide comments to other drivers, political candidate support, remembering that vacation to the Grand Canyon, there is a bumper sticker out there for everything. A single bumper sticker is bad enough, but seeing those cars drive by with dozens plastered around the trunk space is ridiculous. At that point nobody can even comprehend what all those bumper stickers even say unless other drivers are bored in standstill traffic behind them.

Best: Installed Aftermarket Auto Parts Logos

K&N decal - K&N Filters on facebook.com
K&N decal - K&N Filters on facebook.com

If you’ve installed some aftermarket parts onto your Honda Civic, Ford F-150, Chevrolet Corvette, or whatever project you’re working on, let people know about it. Aftermarket car brands like K&N, BBS, Skyjacker Suspensions, and Sparco provide stickers with their automotive performance products. You can place them on your rear windshield to let people know what’s added to that car that passed them, or have some fun with it and place them in an organized manner on your door like a racecar.

Worst: Parody Logos

"Toyoda" decal - amazon.com
"Toyoda" decal - amazon.com

If you’re trying to make your car a joke on purpose, then these are for you. There are some parody car decals out there that get borderline cringeworthy when seen in person. A grocery list designed to look like aftermarket brands, “Welcome to Gapplebee’s” in the same style to the Applebee’s logo, the Toyota logo morphed into Yoda from Star Wars, there’s plenty of examples out there I could run through. In the end, just know it was probably only funny when you saw it online. The joke typically falls flat in person.

Best: A Full Vinyl Wrap

Wrapped Aston Martin - wrapstyle.com
Wrapped Aston Martin - wrapstyle.com

Vinyl wraps are like giant stickers that go all around the exterior of your car. It’s how rally and NASCAR vehicles get their awesome designs nowadays and it can also work great for advertising your own business while driving around town. Whether it’s adding a complex and eye-catching design to the outside or just wanting to change a car’s color without painting it, a vinyl wrap is great option.

Worst: A Full Vinyl Wrap 

Full vinyl wrap with bubbles - CK Wraps on youtube.com
Full vinyl wrap with bubbles - CK Wraps on youtube.com

It can also be a terrible option. If you do an exterior vinyl wrap by yourself and it has glaring imperfections like tears or air bubbles, then the end product won’t come out how you had imagined. There’s also the matter of personal choices when vinyl wrapping a car. Plus, while you can change the color or design to basically whatever you want, it may end up being a major eye-sore to others. Excessively reflective material, headache inducing neon colors, or adding stuff like a Louis Vuitton pattern will effectively make the vehicle considered detestable.

Best: Racing Stripes

427 Cobra - shelby.com
427 Cobra - shelby.com

Racing stripes are a classic decal. They’re simple, effective, and have a great history stemming from famous racecars like the Shelby Cobra and Ford GT. There are the classic stripes down the middle or you can have them run asymmetrically on one side, and they come in plenty of color variations allowing you to come up with the color scheme that you want.

Worst: Flames & Scratches

Claw mark decal - amazon.com
Claw mark decal - amazon.com

Flames and scratches could be in their own separate sections, but they fall into the same scenario. Neither of these options are really cool anymore. Hot rods used to wear the flames across their bodies with pride, but that flame job doesn’t look quite right as a car sticker on a PT Cruiser. Claw marks and long tears down the side used to look aggressive in the early 2000’s, but after 20 years, that Dodge Neon with a scratch decal over the headlight isn’t impressing anybody.

Best: Showcase Some Accomplishments

Army Dad decal - customstickershop.us
Army Dad decal - customstickershop.us

If you want to let everyone know what kind of accomplishments have happened in your life or with your car, adding a car sticker to commemorate the event is a great option. Do you take your vehicle to car shows, dragstrips, or track days and have won some awards? Showcase them on the car then! Did your 4×4 make it through the Rubicon Trail? Great job, let others see! Are you just proud of your kid and want to put that “Proud parent of an honor student” sticker on your car? Go for it!

Worst: Itasha

Itasha designs - web-japan.org
Itasha designs - web-japan.org

This may be a new term for you, but it’s slowly becoming more prevalent as JDM culture makes its way across the pond. Itasha translates to “painful car”, because the designs of these cars can be considered uncomfortable or embarrassing to see in person. Itasha typically focuses on a singular fictional character from an anime or video game and centers the entire car design around them. It can be as small as a couple of select character car stickers, all the way up to ridiculous full body vinyl wraps. Thanks Japan, I hate it.

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Jesse McGraw

Jesse McGraw brings his life-long car obsession into his writing. A fun childhood that involved growing up around race tracks, working on a rusty ‘99 Dodge Dakota held together by zip ties, and collecting Hot Wheels developed into a strong appreciation for automotive history. If there is an old, obscure, or rare car, he wants to know about it. With a bachelor's degree in Web Development & Design from Dakota State University, Jesse can talk shop about car or computer specs, focusing on classic cars, imports, and car culture.

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