The bus has been wrapped, the press release is over, it’s full of passengers and is in service! Now it’s time to get some additional revenue from advertisements! But what’s going to happen when those vinyl ads are installed over the top of that beautiful livery wrap? It’s a common concern! It’s actually the number one question we get from customers, especially those wrapping their buses for the first time. We have narrowed down the best ways to preserve wraps, while getting the most out of your advertisements, into 7 rules to be sure your ads make you money instead of costing you money.

RULE 1 – Overlaminate your wrap.

A successful livery wrap begins with the materials it’s made of. If a customer is going to be placing advertisements over a livery wrap, we always spec a film laminate instead of clear coating or liquid laminate. This rule also goes for pigmented films. We find that the film laminate creates a barrier that the others cannot. 


RULE 2 – Know your warranty.

There are several options when it comes to printed livery wraps and advertising films. The manufacturer of the livery material normally will warranty the printed livery if you use a compatible advertising material. Simply check out the product bulletin of your livery wrap material to see what advertising film will not have an effect on the warranty.

Photo provided by Trevor Jensen

RULE 3 – Be sure the livery wrap is in good condition.

Before installing any ads on top of a livery wrap, the wrap must be in good condition. That means no scrapes, lifted edges, or bubbling. If ads are installed over those types of conditions, it will result in damaging the wrap when the ad is removed.


RULE 4 – Oversize or undersize.

Typically, advertisements will be placed under windows and aligned with the top edge of the livery wrap. While it may result in a cleaner look, there must either be an overlap of ½” or a gap of ½” from the edge of the livery wrap. This prevents the edge from lifting on the livery when the ads are removed.


RULE 5 – Installation

Just like the wrap, installing ads carelessly will result in not only damaging the wrap but can damage the bus or vehicle. The most common ad wrap installation issues we see are the result of poor trimming or cutting. This is the consequence of the installer trimming too deep, over trimming or having a knife slip. Be sure to discuss the ways the advertisement installers will be preventing damage to the vehicle’s finish when installing ads.

Photo provided by Trevor Logan Jr.

RULE 6 – Don’t stack ‘em!

A very common practice for transit advertising wraps or banners is to install one ad over another. While this may be a common practice to do on a painted surface, we strongly discourage it. Stacking the ads will collect debris and cause stress to the edges of the livery wrap, which could result in failure. Our suggestion is to remove ads before installing new ones to prevent any chances of the livery wrap failing.


RULE 7 – Remove the ads as recommended.

Each advertisement or removable vinyl film will have specific instructions on removal. Following these directions closely will prevent the surface from being damaged and for the film to come off cleanly without leaving residue behind. Check the specifics on the ad film data sheet since these procedures can vary depending on the film being used for the ads. Typical removal is within 30-90 days, while some can last up to a year!

Bottom line is advertisements should never scare you away from fully wrapping your vehicle. While damages do occur, many of the damages can be prevented by following the 6 rules. Has your bus or vehicle ever been damaged by advertising wraps? Let us know in the comments!  

Ad’ing it all up!

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