LET'S TALK ABOUT LETTERING ON YOUR TOPLIGHTS
on your car fenders too ... read on.
When you purchase a toplight through www.TaxiCabElectronics.com you can expect it to come with lighting (whether you choose
standard light bulbs [incandescent] or LED's [new light emitting diodes with high intensity] and the appropriate light-bar inside. You can
also expect to have your light lettered front AND back without charge. You specify the text that goes on the light, and we set you up.
You can also order lights blank - without lettering at all. Some folks have vinyl sign shops who do logo's and trademarks for them,
and prefer to have those people do the lettering and marking for them. No problem: just let us know when you order.
We generally use "vinyl" lettering, that is, plastic letters that are cut from adhesive vinyl sheets, and applied at the factory so they
are centered and arranged properly. These are set up by computer so they are able to use various fonts [lettering styles] and
sizes can be matched to your exact toplight choice. For instance, some companies use a larger toplight for their vans and a
smaller size for their sedans. We can put the same fancy lettering on both sizes by adjusting the template with our computers
when we make the toplights. [There is also a type of lettering cut from plastic, that is epoxy'd on and cannot be removed.
If you prefer that older style, specify "RAISED ACRYLIC" lettering.] For the majority of toplights, we use Vinyl.
Now, suppose your telephone number changes: Hey! It's on the toplights! No Problem! You can get Stick-On vinyl lettering from
your office supply store [Staples, BizMax, Office Depot etc.] or art shops. You can remove the original lettering by carefully sliding
the business end of a hard-back razor blade under the corner of each letter, then pull the letter off the sign by gently smoothly tugging.
NEVER TRY TO SCRAPE THE LETTERS OFF - YOU WILL RUIN THE TOPLIGHT. The lettering on newer lights will easily peel. The
older lights in your fleet will be more difficult, but you can get the lettering off by warming (NOT HEATING) the toplight with a hair
dryer. Here in the desert southwest we just set them out in the sun for 20 minutes - no challenge at all!
Any sticky glue from the old vinyl lettering can be softened with a bit of isopropyl alcohol available at any drug or cosmetics counter. It's common rubbing alcohol, same as the nurse uses on your arm when she takes a blood sample. Just apply a few drops to a paper towel and rub gingerly on the adhesive on the light shell. It'll come right
You can use the stronger stuff - acetone - BUT BE CAREFUL! Acetone is the same stuff the beauty parlor uses to
We have changed the company name on hundreds of toplights because of regulatory changes, company changes by independent operators who decided to go with a different dispatch service, and so forth. By carefully removing the old lettering being careful not to scratch the plastic shell - especially on rounded portions of the light - and then cleaning the old adhesive traces with isopropyl alcohol, the new lettering has a clean and tidy surface upon which to present itself.
Weathering of the plastic surface in desert sandstorms or heartland hail, or even northern snows and ice, can cause the surface to remain smooth under the old lettering, and have a textured skin where it was exposed. That means you can still see the old lettering "ghosts" after cleaning an old toplight. There is really no way to cure that short of coating it with clear lacquer spray. We recommend against that because the coating will react differently to heat, cold, moisture than does the shell. That may cause peeling, even dislodging of the new lettering. Answer: replace the toplight or live with your ghosts! :-) Yikes² !!
In some cases (not all) we MAY be able to match your original lettering and provide the new text for a nominal fee. But don't count on it!
Rather than try to replace the incorrect digit only, remove ALL the old numbers or letters after measuring them exactly. Then replace the
WHOLE telephone number or word, with the same size NEW vinyl. Trying to replace one or two letters will almost always get you sign
that looks like it has been changed by an amateur. Hey, wait, that's what we did! Huhh!!
Now, there are signs out there which we have sold with plastic, cut out letters glued to them with epoxy resins. They are raised from
the surface of the light - a tiny 3-D effect if you will. They look great until you have to change them. The only solution is take the light
off the cab and replace the whole thing. You won't get those letters off that old topsign with dynamite and three muggy-thuggy friends.
It ain't gonna happen. You will break the letters, break the light, bust your knuckles, and perhaps lose your immortal soul. Bad plan.
One more note; a few toplights we have observed had been spray painted: One lad took a white toplight, lettered it with "AIRPORT TAXI"
and then sprayed the light black with enamal. Then he removed the lettering with a blade as above. At night his light was supposed to
glow "AIRPORT". What really happened was his black paint wasn't completely opaque and so, looked nasty brown with jagged white
letters showing through. He wasn't really happy with it. Then he decided to scrape the paint off and buy new lettering in black vinyl.
But he tried to use paint remover and acetone to get the stuff off, along with a paint scraper. He eventually purchased a new toplight,
lettered black on white!! Told ya' told ya'! Great goobajooba!
We can do many fonts for your lettering. Normally, we use plain block lettering for your text. That's because it is the easiest to read on
the sign. But you can make changes to that for very little investment: For instance, suppose you wanted to use A SCRIPT [more like
handwriting], or italics [SLANTED LETTERS] or even a different font like Comic Sans or STENCIL or some other commonly found on
the font roster in your computer. If it is a font we can find in our computer system, no problem. If it is NOT, you can make a clear clean image
of your exact lettering and attach it to an e-mail to us. If we can get a clear clean image of your lettering to come up on our computer
or we can scan it into the system like any other scan, we likely can duplicate it for your light. Call us to discuss it. 760-345-4347. In the
same way, we can do logo's if you can provide us a clean clear image of yours. It must be crisp, in focus, reproducible!
We did this one for a client who sent us the image they wanted to use. It looks great, does it not?!
I trust this gets your boat kicked around so it's pointed in the direction of the current. We can always replace the light you mess up if that
happens. We keep pretty good records of what we sold you, so most of the time we can dig up your exact specifications if that becomes
necessary. Suffice it to say, you certainly CAN remove vinyl lettering if you are careful, and change it to what you need. Most of the time,
we can tell you what you bought from us before, and get it for you again. If you mistakenly purchased your toplight from someone else
in the past, take a clear picture of it, measure it, and e-mail the info and pix to us. We MAY be able to duplicate it for you. Mom says we're just
soooo clever! My goodness, yes! - Fred Stock