How to Remove A Sticker From Your Car

Remove a Sticker

Stickers on cars can symbolize just about anything under the sun. They can show support for a certain political candidate, identify you as a proud parent of an honor student or the fact that you just love that one special dog breed. Others are required by local laws, like city stickers. Some even come attached to your new car straight from the dealer.

But political campaigns and straight A's end at some point, and those city stickers need to be replaced every year.

While removing stickers isn't as easy as putting them on, we have some advice that should make the job a little less sticky.

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What you need:

  • Hair dryer with hot air settings
  • Razor blade or a box cutter (if removing from glass)
  • Sturdy plastic card — could be a library card, credit card, frequent shopper card or ID
  • Two clean rags or detailing towels
  • Glass cleaning solution (if removing from glass)
  • Tree sap remover solution
  • Quick detailing spray

What to do:

1. Ensure that the sticker and the surrounding area are free of dirt. Doing this removal process works best after a car wash.

2. Plug in the hair dryer, turn the heat setting to hot and hold the hair dryer just a few inches above the sticker. Do not place the hair dryer directly on top of the sticker and the car's paint.

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3. Keep the hair dryer over the center area for a few seconds, making sure the air coming out is hot and then slowly begin to move it around the rest of the sticker. You want to heat the edges of the sticker last so you can prep for the next step.

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4. After you've let the sticker heat up, use the plastic card at an angle to gently scrape up under the sticker. You can also try using your fingertips. If the surface area is hot enough, you will be able to slide the card under the sticker's edge and begin to peel it away.

Repeating steps 2-3 a few more times may make a cumbersome presidential campaign sticker that's been on your bumper since the last time your party won easier to remove. You can also try moving the plastic card or razor blade back and forth while you slide it under the sticker's surface.

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If you're removing a sticker from your car's glass, use the box cutter or razor blade at a slight angle. Do not use a box cutter or razor blade on your car's paint; it will cause damage. On glass you will be able to apply a bit heavier pressure, if needed, to remove the sticker.

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5. Continue to push the plastic card — or razor blade — underneath the sticker until it completely breaks away from the car's surface. It is completely normal for the sticker to break apart during this removal process.

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6. Once the sticker is removed, you can repeat steps 1-4 to remove any sticky residue or remnants. Tree sap remover also works great. Just apply a few drops onto a clean rag or detailing cloth and scrub away. If there’s sticky residue on your car’s glass, use the razor blade to gently scrape it away.

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7. When that part of the car is completely clear of any sticker and its residue, polish it off with some glass cleaner or quick detailing spray

*While we hope to help, Cars.com is not responsible for any damage that may occur to your vehicle by following the steps above.

Want to know how to clean something else in or on your car? Let us know in the comments section below.

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By Robby DeGraff | April 29, 2013 | Comments (18)

Comments 

WTF

Citrus based adhesive remover is key. Douse the sticker around the edges so that it starts to penetrate the underside. Plastic razor blades are also very helpful, much more so than a credit card.

Tim

I have used this method on my own car and had great results.

phillydan

Never use a razor blade to scrape the inside of your rear window, unless you don't really care for the defroster...

Jay

Why not just use a light bit of Goof Off?

Dan

Doesn't scraping with that plastic card scratch the clear coat? try heating up the sticker with the hair dryer and it should come right off, then use Goo B Gone to remove the residue.

AK Fisher

WD-40 sprayed on the decal does the trick for me.

anonymous guy

Cheaper than Goof Off or WD-40 and just as effective is BBQ lighter fluid. It also works great for removing tar and other adhesives from your car's paint. Just be sure to wash the oily residue off the paint when you are done.

Shorebreak

1. Heat the sticker with the heat gun or hair dryer and enough to get an edge loose on the sticker.
2. Utilize dental floss between the back of the sticker and the painted surface to slowly remove the sticker.
3. Any remaining adhesive backing still on the paint can be removed with applications of 3M Adhesive Remover.
4. Thoroughly clean the area with car wash soap and water.
5. Apply a thin coat of non-abrasive rubbing compound or polish to the area and buff lightly.
6. Apply a cleaner wax to the area and buff lightly.
7. You are done.

Robby DeGraff, Cars.com

WTF- very interesting on the plastic razor blades, I'll have to look into buying some!

Tim- Great to hear! I've done this dozens of times and the results have always been perfect.

Phillydan- Correct!

Dan- the majority of today's cars have clear coats strong enough to endure a gentle scraping as directed above. Remember, you aren't digging into the paint, rather you are lightly pushing up underneath a decal.

Shorebreak-Hah! Very cool tip with the dental floss, never thought of that and will need to try this!

Thanks for this I was able to replace my old stickers from my car and motorcycle without getting scratches. How about how to remove those bubble like dirt from window shields? Even the car wash boys can't took it away from my car.

Shorebreak

Re: Leslie @ Apr 30, 2013 5:40:39 AM

1. Combine white vinegar and water, in equal parts, in a spray bottle.
2. Spray the window shield and allow the mixture to remain there for at least 15 minutes.
3. Gently scrub away the stains with a soft cloth.

Stubborn stickers may require pre-soaking before removing. If a large portion of the sticker was removable, soapy water or an alcohol solution may be able to remove any excess sticky paper. With a spray bottle of soapy water in hand, generously spray the sticker. Allow the water to soak for about ten minutes. Remove as much of the sticker as possible.

Thanks for sharing such a useful information. I hope it will help me in removing the decals from window panes and from my football helmets. I am using decals of Tags Sports they are really fantastic. For more information visit http://www.tagsports1@gmail.com

Lukas

I had the same problem with my car stickers and I tries the same as author did, but there was some glue left. And only this- profesionali autokosmetika urmu helped me to remove it. So I strongly recommend you to try this cleaner :)

I had some issues like this and i followed these instructions and finally succeed to remove decals.

Sarah

Just wondering I'm looking to buy a car but they have removed all the stickers but all of the residue is still on it. Very sharp car and reseasonably price just didn't want to buy it and not able to get all of it off without hurting the paint. Thanks in advance.

Siva

Easy to remove smoothly with a shaving blade and hot soap water by soaking 2-5 minutes.

Thanks for sharing this nice information. I have just followed all your instructions mentioned here and successfully removed stickers from my car.

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