How to Remove a Sticker from Your Car

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The back of people’s cars often turns into a gallery, sporting mementos of the car owners’ lives. Bumper stickers and advertising decals accumulate over time and, sooner or later, you want to get rid of them. This often proves frustrating because the adhesive hardens after baking for years in the sun and suffering from temperature swings. Using a razor seems the logical way to go, but the risk of scratching your body work makes you hesitant. So…The question remains; how can you completely remove a sticker and adhesive without damaging your windows or paint?

Remove Sticker from Your Car

The cost of removing stickers, ads and lettering

If you want a no-fuss approach and have the money, you could always bring your car to a car service. The price will be calculated based on the stickers’ dimensions, the car’s surface and the type of adhesive used. Depending on the amount of stickers you have, the cost can add up quickly. But… if you have a little free time, and don’t mind doing a little work, then DIY is the way to go.

General Information

Removing a sticker might be just a matter of peeling it off, but more often than not it’s going to take a little elbow grease. Different factors may prevent you from easily taking that sticker off. The adhesive is often made for some kind of permanency, and after surviving through different weather conditions, stickers become covered in microscopic cracks. The glue begins to polymerize and the cracking breaks the adhesive into lots of little pieces.

Using heat may be the easiest method of removing stickers, but you have to be careful as you can easily cause damage: Auto glass may become discolored. There’s often a protective film applied to windows’ surfaces that can be damaged. The plastics in your car’s interior can be deformed by using the heat method. Taking this all into account, use the following heat methods at your own risk.

For lettering and ads, you can use a hairdryer to remove the outer layer, and then a glue solvent to remove the adhesive without damaging surfaces. If the stickers have been on the car for a really long time, a car service may still be the best bet as they can even out the discolored patches. If you do it yourself, those patches will even out by themselves if you don’t mind waiting for the sun to do its work.

If we consider a car with fully sealed body parts, then everything is even more complicated. Especially if the film is advertising or decorative. Due to the transparent protective vinyl coating, it is impossible to know what is underneath. Therefore, removing it can damage the paint and also previously applied putty. Professionals will either remove and paint the damaged surfaces, or cover the car with a new film.

ways to remove sticker from car

How to remove the sticker from the car window?

If it’s a recently applied sticker, you might be able to remove it without any solvents. Using your fingernail or a knife, slowly peel it off with a smooth, even pull. If it doesn’t want to come off, heat the sticker label under a hairdryer for a few minutes and try again. But before doing that, you need to take a few precautions; gently clean the car surface around the sticker, set the hairdryer on the lowest setting and heat from at least a few inches away from the sticker.

remove the sticker from the windscreen

No hairdryer? Use a desk lamp. Still not coming off? Rub some vegetable oil on the sticker, leave for a few hours and try again. You could also do the same using rubbing alcohol or acetone and try again. Don’t use acetone inside the car as it can melt upholstery and plastic parts.

Removing bumper stickers

You can remove a bumper sticker using the hair dryer method. If that doesn’t work, here are some more ideas:

  1. Apply wallpaper stripper to the sticker and wait a while until the surface is saturated. Remove as much of the sticker as possible using a plastic spatula. Repeat the process until the sticker and glue disappear. Use some polish to even out discoloration and shine.
  2. Use WD-40. Using gloves spray the sticker. Remove with a spatula. Continue on using a hairdryer to get rid of the leftover bits. If any small adhesive bits remain, wipe them off with a little vinegar and a cloth.
  3. Use proven sticker removal products. You can easily find them in auto stores or online. This method is the most reliable and proven, as these products are made with car protection in mind. When using any solvent, it is very important to use common sense safety by always using safety goggles. Always strictly follow chemical product instructions. No chemical should be used for a long period of time as with prolonged exposure it can burn through protective gloves. It might not be possible to completely remove a sticker in one go. In this case, wait until the surface dries and then repeat the procedure again.

remove the sticker from the bumper

Here are the 12 most common products for removing stickers and glue:

  • UHU fluid;
  • Meyer Chemie;
  • Würth Industrie Clean;
  • NIGRIN;
  • Mellerud;
  • Cleanextreme Aufkleber / Klebstoff-Entferner;
  • TESA;
  • Pesto;
  • Solvent 50 Kontakt chemie;
  • Caramba;
  • Wepos Aufkleber-Entferner;
  • HG.

Removing adhesive glue after removing the sticker

Often removing the sticker is only half the battle. Adhesive glue residue is hardest part to completely get rid of. One tried and true folk remedy is to wipe a little bit of gasoline over the leftover glue, wait, and remove.

Removing tape remnants from the car body

When you do a DIY paint job on your car, you need to mask and tape it up first. Afterwards, removing tape residue using solvents often makes things worse. There are rubber tools out there which can be attached to a screwdriver (or drill at medium speed. which can be effective while protecting your car’s finish. However, the safest method, which protects your new paint job, is by using the alcohol and/or WD-40 method mentioned in the removal of stickers.

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