Used to print on irregularly shaped substrates, pad printing is a common service in the automotive industry. Teca-Print provides in-house contract pad printing services, including single-color, multicolor, multilocation, rotational, and other forms of pad printing.

Automotive Pad Printing Explained

Pad Printing Automotive Services

Pad printing automotive parts is a common practice, as there are hundreds of components in an automobile that are irregularly shaped and require detailed printing. Given the long lifespan of vehicles and the temperature fluctuations they encounter, components must be printed with high-quality, highly adhesive inks. Pad printing offers this level of durability over time.

The technique uses a silicone pad that transfers a 2D image or text onto a 3D substrate. The pad can wrap around or adapt to the shape of the part without distorting the image. Here is an overview of the step-by-step process:

  1. The image is etched into a flat-print plate.
  2. An inverted cup that is filled with the selected printing ink glides across the print plate to flood the etched sections with ink. The ink becomes tacky when exposed to air. This causes the ink to transfer to the silicone printing pad, rather than stick to the wet ink in the etch.
  3. The silicone pad is pressed into the ink-filled etched area of the plate, forcing air outward. The ink is transferred to the pad from the plate.
  4. The pad then presses into the substrate to transfer the image onto its surface.
  5. Once the pad transfers the image, the ink cup returns to the home position and fills the plate with ink in preparation for the next cycle.

Automotive Pad Printing Parts

It is essential that automotive parts are decorated using a highly durable method like pad printing. Long-lasting printed components enable safer vehicle operation as well as easier product identification and traceability. Common substrates for pad printing include glass, silicone, rubber, metal, plastics, and coated materials. Common examples of pad printed automotive components include:

  • Turn signals
  • Controls
  • Fuel caps
  • Dashboard and radio buttons
  • Notification icons
  • Safety instructions
  • Display panels
  • Engine covers
  • Indicator markings
  • Gear level panels
  • Audio panels
  • Wheel rims
  • Headlight switches
  • Windshield wiper handles
  • Hoses
  • Belts
  • Brake pads
  • Branding content

Materials We Print On for the Automotive Industry

Pad printing is vital to the automotive industry because it is cost-effective, provides multiple color options, and delivers quality results. We print on a variety of plastic and metal substrates.


  • Nylon
  • Polyethylene
  • Polypropylene
  • Polycarbonate
  • Polystyrene
  • ABS
  • Acetal
  • K-resin
  • Urea
  • Valox
  • Delrin®
  • Cycoloy®


  • Bare metal
  • Anodized metal
  • Painted metal
  • Powder coated metal
  • Stainless steel

Automotive Pad Printing From Teca-Print

Teca-Print has the equipment and expertise to create appealing brand logos, text, and images on intricately shaped automotive components. Our experienced team of graphic designers works closely with your design team to produce precise, high-quality graphics for your pad printing application.
Contact us to learn how we can meet your automotive pad printing needs.