Automotive Masking Tapes, Specialty Tapes & Applications

Masking tape and painting go hand in hand, and not just for the home. With that being said, regular masking tape won’t work for automotive paint jobs, or any other type of body work.

To protect the windows and interior of the vehicle you’re working on, keep a quality auto body masking tape on hand. Read on to learn more about masking tapes and other types of tape for body shops.

Types of Automotive Tape and Their Applications

Though they are all designed to withstand aggressive work, different automotive tapes are used in different ways. Here are just a few types:

Masking tape

Masking tape is used for temporary project- typically used for no longer than a five-day hold. This includes use as an automotive painting tape- typically in conjunction with masking paper or masking film- for labelling, bundling, masking, and temporary holding.

It’s crisp edges, one-piece removal, and conformability make it the perfect tape for painting projects and smaller projects.

*3M Scotch masking tape is a popular choice when it comes to masking tape for automotive painting.

Double-sided tape

There are many different types of automotive double-sided tape, with many different looks. Sometimes foam is used, other times it’s wide sheets. But for most automotive applications, automotive double-sided tape is used for car interiors.

Because of its ability to stay hidden behind components, it’s excellent for changes to a dashboard or other interior pieces.

It can also be used for small body pieces- trims, moldings, bumper trims, mirrors, etc.- since it is designed to withstand heat, cold, UV light, chemicals, and humidity.

Fine line tape

Fine line tape is an automotive striping tape, used to create a fine line for two tone separation or lettering.

It’s known for having a moisture and solvent resistance as well as a high level of adhesion, giving it long-term applicability. However, there is a specialized backing to allow for it to be easily removed. That specialized backing/ adhesive also makes it possible to paste the tape over freshly painted acrylic and enamel or any other car paint type, without adhesive transfer or other damage.

Slip resistant

While slip resistant tape isn’t used on vehicles, it’s handy to have around the shop, where oil and paint are regularly present.

It is a thin, gritty tape that’s applied to floors that might typically be slick, with the intent of avoiding slipping and falling accidents in the workplace.


Conspicuity tape is white and highly reflective, typically added to trucks, safety and emergency vehicles, trailers, and other large vehicles that might need to enhance visibility and detection of their vehicle at a distance.

It is resistant to water, grime, and most weather conditions, and is rated as a diamond grade, with high quality automotive adhesive.

Abrasive blasting tapes

Abrasive blasting tapes are used primarily for sandblasting or other abrasive work, such as an automotive refinish. What sets this tape apart, and makes it prime for abrasive jobs, is that it is typically made with a rubber or elastomer.

This allows it to withstand harder wear and locks it in place throughout the duration of the project.

Plating tape

Plating tape is one of the most durable and withstanding tapes you can use in your auto shop. It’s used to protect anything sensitive that might be exposed to chemicals or intense heat during a project.

What to Know About Automotive Masking Tapes

For a body shop, masking tape specifically, sometimes referred to as painters tape, is one of the most important supplies to have on hand. However, there are a few things you should know before you shop around.


While there are different tapes for different applications, most car masking tapes have a similar purpose- to protect the car from overspray, dust, and other damage.

Essentially, it’s a safety measure, designed to protect your work, avoid unnecessary clean up and damage, and ensure quality finishing.

What makes automotive masking tape different

There are several things that set masking tape for auto shops apart from typically painters tape used in the home. In fact, it’s almost as if the purpose of the tape, and the fact that it’s an adhesive, are the only factors connecting the two.

Automotive tape is designed specifically for vehicles because they require a different kind of adhesive, the ability to withstand higher temperatures, and hold longer and stronger over various curves and sharp angles.

For these reasons, masking tape is designed with these qualities:

  • Thicker and wider- to stand up to the higher amount of mechanical stress it must go through.

  • Better adhesion- to hold to the metallic body better, handle stress easier, and last throughout the entire job.

  • Tensile strength- to stand up to the vigorous work and be able to conform to the vehicle’s curves and sharp angles.

It’s these important differences that make an automotive tape a quality tool. But while all of them will have these qualities, masking tapes still have their differences.

How to Choose a Good Automotive Masking Tape

There are several things you need to consider when it comes to choosing a masking tape. Neglecting these considerations could mean a poor finish, or damage to essential components, and higher repair costs for your shop.

Characteristics of high-quality masking tape:

  • High-temperature resistance of up to 90°C for one hour or 110°C for half an hour

  • Clean removal, not leaving any adhesive residue

  • Easy to tear by hand

  • Compatibility with the most used painting products

  • Guarantees good conformability to the curved shapes of cars

  • Stands out among most auto paint colors

  • Water and solvent resistant

  • Good tensile strength and elongation

It may seem like a lot to consider for tape, but a premium automotive tape is invaluable, and performance should be considered.


Quality automotive tape keeps your shop production moving. Always research the brand and tape you’re purchasing to ensure that it can hold up to the job.

Auto Body Toolmart has a wide variety of automotive tapes from the top brands in the industry, ensuring that you always receive quality.

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