The Dos and Donts of Buying Exterior Adhesives

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The Do's and Don'ts of Buying Exterior Adhesives

Adhesives are a fundamental part of the design and production processes of almost every object in people's lives, from disposable nappies, to mobile phones, briefcases, computers, cars, ships, and even spacecrafts. In fact, without their cohesive properties the entire world would literally come unglued. Many innovative adhesive types are quickly replacing nails, plugs, and screws in workshops and garages because of their strength and durability; their use both curtails the damage from traditional soldering, riveting, and welding and makes for many happy thumbs.

In the automotive industry, adhesives have varied uses, such as holding car frames, wheels, and engines in one piece and keeping the wiring, seat cushions, and CD players in place. The most popular type of adhesive for tuning and styling cars, vans, aircrafts, boats, and motorcycles is the exterior adhesive, used to attach fancy emblems, badges, and mouldings as part of a cosmetic trim package or to repair parts such as broken door handles and mirror brackets. A bit of research on the different types of exterior adhesives and what to look for, and one is ready to buy. Consumers can purchase exterior adhesives in brick and mortar hardware shops or from online sites like eBay, which, as the world's largest auction site, has an edge on all others when it comes to quality, variety, service, and value.

Do Know Your Exterior Adhesives

An adhesive is a semi-solid or liquid substance produced from natural or chemical elements for use in bonding two surfaces together. Adhesives stick two pieces of material together, forming a permanent or semi-permanent bond that also shields against harmful vibrations. Adhesion also results in an overall lightweight product when compared to other methods of joining material together.

Exterior adhesives are special types of adhesives designed to withstand harsh and extreme weather conditions and road shocks. They are sturdy, flexible, and easy to use with a strong hold on all exterior surfaces, and are available in liquid form or as double-sided tape sensitive to either pressure or heat. Examples of automotive accessory parts that need the exterior adhesive are number plates, door handle covers, mirror covers, side vents, ornamentation, and the window sill trims, among others.

Don't Overlook the Value of Research

Do not be afraid to ask around at professional car body shops, mechanics, and garages for answers to your exterior adhesive questions. Popular adhesive manufacturers like 3M, Foliatec, and Henkel have websites with a lot of information regarding adhesives, from the types available down to the science of adhesion. These companies are constantly developing safer and more innovative solutions for the automotive industry. Many of the products have extensive data about their features, specifications, and uses. There are also consumers who review adhesives, weighing the good against the bad and offering opinions about whether they are good value for money. While a little research does not pare everything down to a single item to purchase, it helps one get an idea of what to look for, and a prudent shopper is one who always knows what they are buying.

Do Buy Good-Quality Exterior Adhesives

Many exterior adhesive buyers are overwhelmed when faced with a heap of choices that can be crushing in its diversity, especially when technological advances and innovation throw in their lot as well. However, a little research and adhering to the following considerations when buying exterior adhesives can turn it all into a pleasant and satisfying exercise. To evaluate exterior adhesives for quality, one should consider the material used in their production, their strength, their degree of weather resistance, and whether they conform to health and safety standards.

Type of Exterior Adhesive

There are two main types of automotive exterior adhesives categorised according to form: adhesive glue, which is liquid; and adhesive tape, which is an innovative concept in which the adhesive comes in the form of a double-sided tape. Adhesive glue is strong and versatile, and bonds with plastic, metal, glass, and wood with no trouble, but cannot bond with soft plastics like polyethylene. It is messy to apply and takes longer but is also easy to remove in the case of blunders. Adhesive tapes are available as pressure-sensitive and heat-sensitive tapes: one uses light pressure to form a bond and the other a heat source. Popular, clean, fast, and aesthetic, they form bonds with most material but are a headache to remove in case of mistakes. Here is a table to show the differences between the two most common types of exterior adhesives for the automotive industry.

Type of Exterior Adhesive




Easy to re-glue with mistakes, easy removal, easy to switch to tape

Messy, unpopular, takes longer to prepare


Popular, easy to use, innovative, no messes

Poor alignment if done incorrectly, tape removal time consuming, hard to switch to glue

While adhesive tape is popular with many professionals and novices, there are some that still prefer the adhesive glue, if for no other reason than because it is easier to switch from adhesive glue to adhesive tape than the other way round.


A safe exterior adhesive is one that is manufactured in accordance with the stringent European Health and Safety directives, which require that it be non-flammable, non-corrosive, and non-toxic with no risk of damage to persons and the environment. Manufacturers who do so always let consumers know using a CE marking somewhere on the product because it reflects well on them and their reputation of producing safe items. Adhesives with no such markings are of doubtful constitution and might be injurious to one's health. Green shoppers can also look for environmentally friendly exterior adhesives, produced in a way that reduces or minimises toxic chemical use and its production.


All exterior adhesives are synthetic polymers; modern ones possess more remarkable qualities than older types. As such, they are often better suited to the many types of materials that the adherents come in, from metals like steel and chrome to thermoplastics like polypropylene and polyethylene and modern composites of carbon fibre and fibreglass in aircrafts. It is important to consider not just the adherent material but also the condition of its surface, such as the door of a car, and the type of paint coating used. Enhanced vehicle designs have a more repellent surface or have parts made from low-surface energy plastic which is hard to stick to and thus need an adhesive that is strong enough to hold fast. This is also why some adhesives require primers to pre-treat and improve adhesion.


Exterior adhesives must be tough and of ultimate strength when it comes to the force of the bond or how fast it holds the two parts together. The longer the bond lasts, the more reliable the exterior adhesive. Resilience is another critical issue. Adhesives that dry too hard tend to get brittle and crack easily, causing a lot of structural damage, so the ideal is one that is highly resilient and flexible. A good adhesive also compensates for the thermal expansions of the different parts joined together rather than cracking under opposing stresses.


Any exterior adhesive worth its salt has a high degree of resistance against water, salt water, temperature, oil, corrosion, UV radiation, humidity, solvents, and harsh stresses such as road shocks; it remains stalwart and does not melt or change under the with ageing. Extremes of weather rate high among the reasons most exterior adhesives do not hold up, especially those that are not easy to clean or paint over because paint offers an extra layer of protection on a dust-free surface. When dealing with automotives, consumers should always choose exterior adhesives that offer impact resistance and toughness.

Do Buy Exterior Adhesives on eBay

For dozens of solutions, search the eBay home page for 'exterior adhesives' and look through the
listings for those that meet your needs, bearing in mind the one should always buy adhesives only in new and unused condition. Read item descriptions to find out whether what is on offer is the right type of exterior adhesive for your specific automobile type and job. Do peek at what the eBay Top-Rated Sellers have for you: their reputable service and consistent and positive feedback rating guarantees satisfaction and fast shipping.

When you find the perfect adhesive for you, use PayPal to purchase the item. As the most recommended payment method on eBay, PayPal is fast, secure, and safe, and keeps all your confidential credit card or bank account details under wraps so nobody else is privy to them during transactions. Once your exterior adhesive arrives, go ahead and stick that Union Jack badge emblem on your car for all to see.


Hidden away between components inside many products, adhesives enhance the quality of life in their own unobtrusive way. Bonding technology has quietly replaced traditional manufacturing processes like soldering and riveting for improved product durability, performance, and quality, with flexible designs that are as aesthetically pleasing as they are cost effective. In cars and motor vehicles, adhesives find many applications, most popular as exterior adhesives for the tuning, styling, and repairing of the car's exterior. Body shop professionals and car care enthusiasts know that without an exterior adhesive that sticks fast and for as long as possible, all their efforts are futile and frustrating.

The most important qualities of a good exterior adhesive are durability, strength, and a high resistance to ageing and harsh weather conditions. When buying exterior adhesives, consumers should also consider the type of material that the adhesive is made from and whether it conforms to standard health and safety regulations for adhesives, as well as whether it is compatible with the exterior of their vehicle. A good-quality adhesive not only meets the consumer's requirements but is also great value for their money, and many of these are available on eBay.

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