Why Use Cast Vinyl For Vehicle Graphics

Vehicle graphics have been a popular use of vinyl for years. For a time, the most popular and widely recommended vinyl for vehicle graphics was Oracal 651. As a calendered vinyl, it had its limitations including conformability and durability, but it outperformed the competition of its time. Even today, many pros still prefer Oracal 651.

The Problem With Calendered Vinyl

Some old pros might be shocked to learn that calendered vinyl is no longer being recommended for use on vehicles. As previously mentioned, all calendered vinyl has limitations, and many people are no longer happy with what calendered vinyl can achieve. Calendered vinyl, like Oracal 651 and EnduraGLOSS or EnduraMATTE, typically lasts up to 6 years, and exposure to the elements can decrease that lifespan and cause fading, shrinking, or peeling. Instead, cast vinyls like Oracal 751 and 951 are now highly recommended for vehicle graphics due to their durability, dimensional stability, and conformability.

The Advantages of Cast Vinyl

There are many advantages of using a cast vinyl over a calendered vinyl that will keep your work looking as good as the day it was applied for years to come, and it will leave you and your customers feeling more satisfied overall.

  • Durability- Cast vinyls have a longer outdoor durability than calendered vinyls. Oracal 751 is rated for up to 8 years of outdoor durability. Oracal 951 is rated for 10 years. In comparison, Orafol’s most popular calendered vinyl Oracal 651 is only rated for up to 6 years. Unlike cast vinyls, it’s not recommended for use on vehicles. To make matters worse, if you apply that calendered vinyl to an angled surface like a windshield, it cuts the vinyl’s lifespan in half.
    • Dimensional Stability- The other great thing about cast vinyls is that they don’t tend to shrink or lose their shape like calendered vinyls do. They have excellent dimensional stability. That means the graphic you put on a vehicle will maintain its shape, and it’s very unlikely to shrink, crack, or peel. Calendered vinyl on the other hand will shrink over time with heat and exposure to the elements. For example, black vehicles trap and amplify heat that essentially cooks the vinyl. Heat from the engine will do the same to hood decals.
    • Conformability- One of the major advantages of cast vinyl over calendered vinyl for use on vehicles is its conformability. Cast vinyl was made to conform to compound curves, so it’s perfect for use on vehicles with a lot of curves. Calendered vinyl can conform to simple curves. However, it doesn’t perform well when it comes to the compound curves that make up the surface of a vehicle.

    If you’d like to learn more about the differences between cast vinyl and calendered vinyl, you can check out this video from ORAFOL’s This VS That series.

    Why Cast Vinyl?

    In the competition of vehicle graphics, cast vinyl comes out on top. To get beautiful vehicle graphics that won’t fade or shrink, cast vinyl is the way to go. Cast vinyls are proven to last years longer than calendered vinyls in harsh outdoor environments without fading, shrinking, or peeling, and they can conform to all of the curves of a vehicle unlike calendered vinyl.