Most small businesses start, well... small. The personal vehicle is also the business vehicle. The entrepreneur wears many hats. He or she is keenly interested in promoting his or her business, but doing so on personal time can seem a bit inappropriate or awkward. Magnetic signs can be perfect for individuals who need to use the same vehicles for both business and personal use and want to remove their signs when away from business.
Magnetic vehicle signs can be a good, flexible signage solution for many small business owners. But make sure you understand all the limitations and risks of magnetic signs, as well as the super important care and maintenance requirements.
If you are choosing magnetic signs over vehicle graphics to save cost (rather than a need to avoid mixing business and personal) we recommend getting an estimate on both to understand how much you might be saving. Then weigh that cost savings, if any, against the time required to maintain your magnetic signs and the risks and limitations of using them. You will then be well prepared to make the best decision for your business and situation.
Below are the 5 most common risks and limitations of magnetic vehicle signs:
1. Not Meant for Highway Driving
Magnetic vehicle signs have been known to fly off vehicles traveling at high speeds. If the magnet is not securely attached to the vehicle at all edges, wind can catch under the magnet, essentially turning it into a sail. This creates a risk of serious liability and hazard on the road. Limiting your use of magnetic vehicle signs on local roads at lower speeds is recommended.
2. Need to be Kept Dry and Clean at All Times
Magnetic vehicle signs need to be kept dry and clean at all times. Dirt and condensation builds up regularly between the two surfaces, reducing the strength of the magnetic grip. Any obstacles between the magnet and vehicle will increase the potential for the magnet to fly off the vehicle at higher speeds. In addition, any dirt or particulates between the magnet and the vehicle become highly abrasive. Repositioning the magnet by pulling or sliding can scratch or damage paint.
3. Can Eat Through the Body Paint on a Vehicle
A metal reaction occurs between the metal in the doors, the magnet, and the moisture that builds up between them. This happens over an extended period of time when the magnets are never removed from the vehicle.
4. Can Bond to the Vehicle
When condensation or any moisture builds up between the magnet and your vehicle it can create a powerful bond. When this occurs, the magnet becomes almost impossible to remove in one piece. If this happens, you can try to lift a corner of the magnet and use a heat gun to dry out the area under the magnet.
We haven't tried it ourselves, but IncrediblyDetailed.com has a great article on how to remove stuck vehicle magnets should you ever find yourself with a magnetic sign bonded to your vehicle.
5. Doesn't Stick to Non-Steel Surfaces
Of course magnetic signs will not stick to aluminum, fiber glass, plastics or body repair fillers. Many doors or other vehicle panels are made of other materials. Tailgate on your new F-150? Sorry, that's aluminum. Verify that the area on your vehicle where you plan to place your magnetic sign supports magnetic attraction.