Eyeballing It: Tips on Installing Your HOV Stickers


Are you one of those gifted types that can freehand a long, level, straight line with one smooth effortless stroke of a paintbrush? Not me. I need all the help I can get to keep things straight around here. So when it came to adorning each of our EVs with California HOV stickers, I had to resort to tricks that I learned through net wisdom and from a couple of friends that are graphic artists.


The stickers arrived in the mail in one long strip. They also came with installation instructions and some official paperwork to stuff in the glove box. No tips on how to stick them on straight though. You might want to try a method that allows for dry runs and includes visual aids before permanently affixing the stickers to your ride.


First, trim the backing around each sticker. Leave a margin around the curve so that you don’t slice into the decal, but try to keep the cuts straight on the straight edges; you’ll need those edges to line things up on the car.


Next, figure out where you want to stick the decals and clean the surface of the area where you’ll be applying them. Now stick a couple of pieces of painter’s tape on the back of the decals, rolled over itself so you can hang it on the car temporarily. It’s best to use painter’s tape so that it’s easy to reposition.


After that, just slap the entire assembly on the car and move it around until you’re happy with the way it looks. You can try lining it up with character lines, trim pieces, or some other


After you’ve temporarily hung it on your car, stick pieces of painter’s tape along the straight edges of the sticker. The tape will serve as a guide when you’re ready to permanently affix the sticker.


I got all these steps done, and then it was time to commit. I took the sticker off the car, removed the backing, and carefully lined up the corners and edges of the sticker with the pieces of painter’s tape, working the sticker’s adhesive onto the car from one edge to the other, trying not to form any bubbles. Finally, I removed the pieces of tape and stepped back to see if I screwed up or got lucky. It turned out great.


It took me about a half hour total to install all three stickers, including the time to trim the backing and take some pictures. Which to me was time well spent since I’ve seen way too many sticker installs while on the road and at charging stations that were so randomly misaligned and out of place that I couldn’t help gawking at it thinking, “How the heck did that happen?”.


In summary:


Trim the backing to the shape of the decals and test fit them on the car. Try different positions. View your candidate placements from different angles and distances before committing. When you find the perfect position, frame the sticker around its straight edges with painter’s tape. Then affix the sticker permanently using the painter’s tape on the top and bottom as a guide.

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