How To Safely Remove Your Old Car Decals

Do you wish to remove old car decals and stickers as though they were never there? Luckily, stickers and decals don’t last forever, even if they were applied to the painted part of your car. 

Eventually, whether you still like the sticker or not, it starts to wear and fade with time. Taking the proper steps to carefully remove the sticker without causing any damage to your car at all is the goal.

While there are a plethora of products that can remove the adhesive and make the decal disappear completely, not all of them will leave your car’s paint untouched. Follow these tips to avoid scratches and damage to your car with correct decal removal every time. 

Remove Dirt & Debris from the Surface

The first step to remove your old car decals would be to ensure there’s no dirt and grime on it. Fill a small container with warm water and add a couple of drops of liquid dish detergent; you can also use laundry soap. There are some readymade vinegar-based car wash liquids available in the market as well. However, make sure to use a mild soap as grainy, harsh soaps can leave etches in the paint job. 

Apply your soapy concoction and rub the area well to ensure that no dirt or grime interfere with the decal’s ability to separate from the surface.

Add Heat to Weaken the Adhesive

The next order of business would be to use a heating appliance such as a hair dryer to loosen up the decal’s adhesive. Keep the hair dryer a few inches away from the targeted area and focus on the centre for a few seconds. Then you can start heating the other parts of the decal until the whole thing is warm to touch. Some might suggest a heat gun but that would be highly harsh for the car so avoid it. 

Now you need to apply some rubbing alcohol, WD 40 lubricant, or some other oil to begin the process of loosening the edges. You can also use good old nail polish remover for it! Whatever you use, please make sure to gently rub it on your decal.

How to Peel Off Your Decal Carefully

The peeling of the decal requires you to use something thin enough to gently take off the sides of the decal. You can use a spatula or an old credit card; if you have a 3-D sticker on your car, one of the easiest ways to remove it is by using a piece of fishing line. Fishing line is mostly made of nylon and is a great way to remove stickers without damaging the car. 

If you don’t have fishing line, dental floss also works. First, slide the line beneath the 3D sticker – even just a small corner will get you started on the removal process. Next, work the fishing line/floss across the back of the sticker, using it somewhat like a saw between sticker and car to slice it off from the surface. Just be patient completing this step to prevent any paint being scraped off.

Remove Excess Glue from the Surface

Once you have removed the sticker, there may be some adhesive left behind. Use a glue remover available at any big box store and wipe the area with a microfiber cloth to get rid of the sticky residue. If all else fails, you can even use an eraser to peel away small remnants of the decal. Excess glue can again be weakened by a lubricant and can make the process really easy. 

Wash the Area 

The last step would be to wash the area by using your mild soap and sponge and making sure there’s no residue left. Finally, give it a thorough wiping with a microfiber cloth and your car is clean and shiny. This final step is important to ensure that every piece of the decal is off your vehicle.

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