How to Remove Decals From Cars

There are several reasons why you may want to know how to remove decals from cars. Maybe you got a good deal on a used car but the bumper is covered with ratty looking old stickers, or perhaps you no longer “heart” dogs. Whatever your reason, learning how to remove decals from cars is fairly simple.

To remove decals from cars, you will need:

  • blow dryer
  • extension cord
  • scraper made for body filler
  • adhesive removing solution
  • paste car wax
  • soft cloth
  1. Heating Up a Sticky Situation The first thing you want to do is use the blow dryer to warm up the decal. Point the blow dryer at the decal, moving back and forth for several minutes. If the decal is large you may have to do one area at a time so that it does not cool down too quickly. Once you have one edge good and warm try and get a hold of the edge with your finger nail. When you have enough of the decal sticking up that you can grab it with your fingers point the blow dryer toward the underside of the decal. Keeping this area warm is key when trying to remove decals from cars. Pull the decal up and forward, following with the blow dryer as you go. If the piece you are pulling breaks, just get another edge and try again. This process is not difficult, but it is sometimes tedious and frustrating.
  2. Scrape With Care If you get the decal loosened a few inches, you may be able to use a  scraper made for body filler to speed your progress. Now, just because the tool is called a scraper does not mean that you really want to scrape your paint, right? This particular tool is recommended because the edge is usually nicely rounded. Check the one you buy to make sure is does not have a sharp edge before you use it. You want a smooth, rounded edge on the tool.
  3. Getting Rid of the Goo Once you have warmed, picked, scraped, and picked some more you will more than likely have to use an adhesive remover. You could get lucky and the decal will come off cleanly with no residue left behind. It will mostly depend upon on how long the decal has been in place. Warning: be sure to choose an adhesive remover that is safe for automotive paint!
  4. Only The Shadow Knows Now that you have removed the decal from your car there may be a shadow where the decal use to be. Shadows will vary depending on the color of paint they were on and how long the decal was in place. Colors such as red tend to fade faster than other colors. Using some paste automotive wax and a soft cloth, you should be able to hand buff out most–if not all–of the shadow. Elbow grease helps a lot with this process. If you don't have any paste wax, toothpaste works in a pinch. Warning: you may not be able to remove all shadows completely
  5. Shine and Go You now know all about how to remove decals from cars. With the sticky culprit removed you are free to apply a final coat of wax if you so desire.

Warning:  Waxing and buffing one spot on your car will probably make the rest of the car look dull and sad, so removing a decal from your car may lead to a full wax job…. be prepared. 

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