I want to remove a dealer's sticker from my car. The sticker is on a painted surface. What is the best way to do it?

Could I remove pinstripe decals in the same way?

  • I was asking about painted metal, but I'd like to know about plastic surfaces, too. Commented Apr 12, 2012 at 14:58

2 Answers 2

  1. Clean the stickers and the immediate surroundings using a strong solution of car all purpose cleaner and water or car shampoo (without wax!) and water.
  2. Warm the sticker with a hairdryer or a hot air gun to about 30 degrees Celcius.
  3. Start peeling of the sticker gently, you might want to use some thing plastic tool like a plastic putty knife of an ATM card or something. Keep using the hairdryer to keep the glue warm.
  4. When the sticker is completely gone, use the all purpose cleaner to remove the glue and dirt left on your car. Do it gently! Unless you want scratches, of course. This will remove any dirt and glue left on your car and is a important step. If you forget this step the borders of the removed sticker will remain visible for weeks or, depending on the paint and the quality of the stickers, for months or even forever.
  5. Use your garden hose to rinse your car, don't use a pressure washer.
  6. Wash your car using the regular 2-bucket method.
  7. Wax the car using a heavy duty wax. (Thanks NoCarrier)
  • don't forget to put a new coat of wax on top of the paint where the pinstripe used to be
    – NoCarrier
    Commented Apr 4, 2011 at 7:28
  • Thank you for the detailed answer. I plan to use 3M Adhesive Cleaner to clear away the residue once the sticker is off (before washing and waxing), and perhaps to help loosen up the glue at the beginning as well. Commented Apr 6, 2011 at 21:32

I usually just use a Steam Jenny basically a hot water pressure washer, starting at one edge working my way across the sticker. If you don't have access to that you can use a heat gun or hair drier to heat up the sticker and peal off the sticker starting at one edge keeping it at a 90 degree angle while doing so. You can also use a plastic putty knife or plastic razor blade. Take you time and pull with a steady even pressure.

plastic putty knife image

Another thing that works very well is a pinstripe eraser wheel. We use these when we are removing graphics from our emergency vehicles as part of the decommissioning process.

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3M Stripe Off Wheel 07498

You can see a video here of a similar product.

  • @MarkJohnson Yes this method will work on plastic bumpers as well Commented Jul 2, 2012 at 17:39
  • I've been trying to re-find that wheel for years.
    – Bob Cross
    Commented Jul 3, 2012 at 10:13
  • @BobCross They are AWESOME, expensive but worth it. We have a ton of graphics on the sides of our ambulances and quick response vehicles and it makes taking them off much much easier. Commented Jul 3, 2012 at 14:22

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