Car dealerships love to advertise by placing stickers all over every car they sell. How do we remove all those car decals without damaging the paint underneath? Unfortunately, car decals and stickers fade over time. If you follow the proper steps, you can remove the sticker without any issues. After all, the last thing you want to do is create a more prominent issue by scratching the paint or smudging the clearcoat. What about the glue residue? It can sometimes be a bigger mess than anything else, leaving a gray streak. Or the manufacturer’s label from the side window?
Table of Contents
- How do you safely remove car decals and stickers?
- What Items Will You Need?
- How to Remove Factory Decals From a Car
- How to Remove Sticker From Car Window
- How to Remove Bumper Stickers From Car
- How to Remove Sticker From Car Windshield
- How to Remove Sticker Residue From Car Window
How do you safely remove car decals and stickers?
The correct way to remove car decals involves these simple steps:
- Heat the surface of the decal with a blow dryer or heat gun.
- Peel it off carefully with your fingers.
- Moving side to side, peel the label off.
- Spray the area with adhesive remover.
- Rinse with gentle soap and water.
After all, you take pride in how your car looks, and you know that having some faded dealership sticker (or worse, a bumper sticker for the other guys) on the back of the trunk lid will affect the car’s value. There were days when you might have allowed a political sticker on the back of your car or ignored the parking sticker on the windshield, but not anymore. Now, you just don’t have the patience to tolerate the items.
There is something about an unwanted sticker that rubs you the wrong way every time you look at it. It’s as if a part of the car isn’t yours but belongs to someone else.
We have answers for you. Removing an unwanted car decal doesn’t have to be an exercise in frustration. Follow a few simple tips, and you’ll be rid of that unsightly mess in no time. Let’s explore the different kinds of stickers and how best to remove them.
What Items Will You Need?
You will need to gather several items to do this kind of job well. Here’s the list you will need.
- Hair Dryer
- Microfiber Cloth
- Clean Razor Blade (window stickers)
- Adhesive Remover or White Vinegar
- Soap and Water
How to Remove Factory Decals From a Car
Here are the steps to more factory decals from your car or truck.
1. Clean the Area with Soap and Water
If it has been a while since the car has had a bath, you might want to get it washed before you start removing the decal. (For whether a touchless car wash or hand wash is better for your car, see an excellent article here). Dirt or debris can build up on the surface of the exterior of a car and create issues when trying to be removed.
2. Heat the Decal with a Heat Source
Carefully heat the surface with a hair dryer on high (a heat gun can be too powerful). Be careful not to put the heat source so close that it melts the sticker or begins to affect the clearcoat. Spread the heat evenly over the sticker and the edges to loosen them.
3. Peel the Sticker Carefully
Once the edges begin to loosen, use a plastic card or your finger to carefully lift an edge on the decal and peel it off in a side-to-side motion.
4. Spray Adhesive Remover on a Cloth and Rub over the Area
Liberally apply the adhesive remover to a cloth and then wipe the area where the sticker was attached. Be sure of the instructions on the can and reapply as necessary. White vinegar can also work if you don’t have a can of adhesive remover.
5. Wipe the area with Soap and Water
Rewash the area with soap and water and dry. Inspect the area to see if there are any spots or dots of glue that are still clinging to the surface of the car. If so, repeat the process.
How to Remove Sticker From Car Window
Removing a sticker like the new car label from a window is similar to removing factory decals.
1. Clean the sides of the sticker with an ammonia-free window cleaner
The cleaner will remove any debris or dirt that might get in the way of removal.
2. Use a clean Razor blade with a handle Attachment
Holding the razor blade at a 45-degree angle, gently pry a corner of the wet label off of the window and work your way down, keeping the blade flush with the glass separate the adhesive section of the label from the surface of the windshield.
Be careful to move slowly. Quick, jerky movements can cause the blade to slip and injure you or damage the vehicle. Continue the process until the entire adhesive strip is completely removed. If there is lingering residue, you can repeat steps one and two until the glue is completely removed
3. Spray the Glass and wipe again to clean the glass
Sometimes fingerprints can make their way onto the glass while you are cleaning. Give the window a quick spray of window cleaner, wipe with a clean, dry towel, and erase any smudges you might see.
How to Remove Bumper Stickers From Car
The method for bumper sticker removal isn’t much different than a manufacturer’s decal.
1. Clean the sticker with soap and hot water and dry.
It probably goes without saying that you should always work on a clean and dry surface. If you don’t dry the surface, the moisture will dilute the adhesive remover and make it less effective.
2. Spray the bumper sticker with an adhesive remover
Apply this spray liberally to the entire bumper sticker. Follow the directions on the can.
3. Use a plastic scraper or your fingernail to pull back a corner
Gently peel back a corner to get a piece you can lift.
4. Continue spraying the back of the decal with adhesive cleaner
Continue to spray the back of the sticker, concentrating on where the sticker is still attached to the bumper
5. Remove the sticker and residue
Pull the sticker until completely removed.
6. Wash with soap and water
Perform the usual clean-up.
How to Remove Sticker From Car Windshield
A sticker in the corner of a car windshield can be hard to reach. In this situation, a razor blade with a handle attachment can come in handy.
1. Soak the sticker in alcohol or adhesive remover.
You want to soak the sticker thoroughly.
2. Use the razor blade to get under the corner of the and gently move the blade down.
Be careful not to apply too much pressure to not scratch the glass. Slow movements are best here. Jerky movements can cause the blade to slip, cutting a gash in the dash.
3. Spray the affected area with a glass cleaner or remover.
Don’t be afraid to place a dry cloth or paper towel under the sticker area on the dash to catch the runoff.
4. Repeat until the sticker and residue are eradicated.
How to Remove Sticker Residue From Car Window
Sticker residue can be tough to get rid of it. Spray the window with window cleaner and let it soak. Clean the entire window when finished to remove smudges. There are times when the original window sticker might have been attached incorrectly, too close to the bottom rubble window guides.
If there is residue still on the glass, you may be able to peel back the guide carefully and retrieve the pieces of glue.