Technical Bulletin



Auto Trim DESIGN® is committed to representing our products and services fairly, accurately and honestly.


With that in mind, it’s recently been brought to our attention that manufacturers such as 3M and Oracal, makers of vinyl goods that are used for production of a majority of our graphic kits, has limited warranty on their product to vertical applications. In other words, applications such as Rally Stripe kits are not covered whatsoever.


While these manufacturers do not specifically state they DO NOT warranty horizontal applications, the following statements are left for reader’s interpretation:


“A significant decrease in performance may be experienced if films are exposed horizontally or near horizontally.” – 3M High Performance Graphic Films Series PN, Product Bulletin 1-57, August 2000


“Minimum Life Expectancy (based on accepted application procedures on vertical surfaces).” – Oracal Series 751, 851 and 951 High Performance Cast Technical Bulletins, Revised 04/08


Thus, the vagueness of their written language as well as recent experience leaves us to concentrate on what they ARE NOT saying – in essence, they WILL NOT assist or provide warranty coverage in the event failure occurs on horizontal applications.


In discussing this matter with manufacturers, reasons for the “hands off” position include geographical (temperate vs. high heat climates), atmospheric (i.e., acidic fallout) and materials composition.


While many graphic companies purport to offer warranties on horizontally applied vinyl products, be aware that everyone is in the same boat. To our knowledge, manufacturers such as 3M, Avery, Oracal and Ritrama DO NOT and WILL NOT provide warranty relief for horizontally applied graphics on any of their vinyl film products to anyone. If you hear a company tell you otherwise chances are they are either ignorant to the facts or they are dishonest.


In any case, we find it our responsibility to provide the very best materials in the market which we feel will last the longest in any application while at the same time providing clear and accurate information on product application, care and warranty information as specified by the manufacturer.


Moreover, it is our desire to go one step further in offering our own three (3) year pro-rated warranty specific to horizontally applied graphics. Please review the tables and conditions below:


Pro-Rated Warranty Schedule - Opaque Colors
Month Range Credit* Amount (%)
1-12 100%
13-24 65%
25-36 40%



Pro-Rated Warranty Schedule - Metallic, Luster & Specialty Colors
Month Range Credit* Amount (%)
1-6 100%
7-12 75%
13-24 50%
25-36 25%
*"Credit" amount is the amount allowed towards warranty replacement. It does not refer to a "cash" value.


Warranty Coverage Conditions


1)         Pro-Rated Warranty covers horizontally applied graphics only. Vertical applications within 10 degrees shall be covered under each manufacturer provided warranty.

2)         Pro-Rated Warranty schedule does not apply to Ultra Metallic films. Ultra Metallic films are not recommended for horizontal applications.

3)         Pro-Rated Warranty does not apply to geographical areas with high concentration of Acidic Surface Waters per U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Clean Air Mapping and Analysis Program's Environmental Assessment Maps. For information on the Effects of Acid Rain in regard to Automotive Coatings visit the following link:

4)         Pro-Rated Warranty provides material replacement only. Other costs such as existing product removal, installation and shipping are not covered.

5)         All colors fade, especially those in the Red family. Thus, this Pro-Rated Warranty does not cover what we deem as “normal” fade. This warranty is specific to noticeable rapid deterioration of vinyl film and adhesion properties.

6)         Pictures will be required to substantiate claim.

7)         Vinyl product must be cared for in accordance with recommended Care and Maintenance procedures outlined by each manufacturer.


Can anything be done to vinyl product to lengthen the life of graphics? Certainly. For example, as noted in Oracal’s Care and Maintenance of Vinyl Vehicle Graphics bulletin, a silicone of Teflon based polish may be used. This may assist in protecting vinyl film finishes from the affects of heat and atmospheric fallout which can adversely affect the life of vinyl film products.


In closing, please rest assured we stand ready and willing to assist the best we can. We look forward to continually releasing state-of-the-art graphic designs which are produced with the finest quality product available. At the same time however, we strongly suggest you present our warranty information to your customer base so they too become educated with these changing times. It’s been our experience that most people are reasonable and are willing to work within the framework of certain policies  - as long as they are properly educated beforehand.




J. Michael Thienel