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My very lucky teen daughter just got a wonderful honest '08 Mustang GT; the black paint work is fair.

One of the old dealers left this hideous sticker on it:

It's one of "those" stickers - kind of a metallic firm thing.

You can't really, get your fingernail under it. Perhaps just with age, or, I don't know. It really doesn't want to come off.

The dealer I bought it from apparently abandoned hope and just left it there!

(As you can see it was even glued/welded/whatever on top of another dealer sticker! WTH!)

I've previously received incredible get-stuff-off-your-paint work suggestions on here ("dental floss under badges!" "warm with hair dryer!") ...

any thoughts on "those" stickers, that hard/firm sort of metallic super-sticky type?

I guess one specific question is, I've often had success with gunk-off (and similar formulations) with different sticker problems, but I've never tried gunk-off on a vehicle ... Should I try gunk-off or it's no good on vehicles?

Ultimately it just makes me so sick I'll take it to a body shop and have them, you know, repaint the whole car to get it off! Who would do that to an awesome yank muscle car?

But maybe someone on here has an instant suggestion? Cheers

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  • I would use a blade as flat as possible to the paint to work my way across the sticker without damaging the paint. – HandyHowie Jul 5 at 7:07
  • @HandyHowie , Howie, thanks a lot - maybe literally a scalpel or ?? – Fattie Jul 5 at 11:21
  • perhaps more a razor blade? – Fattie Jul 5 at 11:22
  • Yes a thin blade like a razor blade. – HandyHowie Jul 5 at 14:29
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    @HandyHowie - funnily enough, your comment, the firts thing posted here, seems to be basically the answer. you CAN take a flat razor blade to your car .. eek! see answer – Fattie Jul 5 at 18:33
5

If you do try a sticker goo remover fluid you might need to paint it onto the edge (it might not permeate the sticker surface) and wait, then pull a bit, paint a bit more, pull, paint... long process

See if a local shop near you has a hot power washer (and I mean an industrial grade thing powered by a Diesel engine that removes the concrete when you use it on an oil spill, not a "stick a token in this and try clean your car with some warm soapy water before the two minute timer runs out" style one - it may be able to blow water under the sticker to help it lift off. Alternatively a sharp knife (x-acto or razor blade) at an angle may be able to separate the sticker from the paint, especially if the sticker is warm. If you use a grinder to round off the corners of the razor blade it will be less likely to scratch the paint. Whichever way up it was when the grinding wheel (travelling downwards) rounded the corners off, that's the side that should be put on the paint - reason being that grinding may leave the back side of the grind slightly rough/proud and more likely to scratch

.. but it looks like the panel is broken at the left side so wouldn't you be getting that filled or repaired in some way which would require a repaint anyway? Take a sander to the panel and sand everything off, sticker, paint, the lot.. it's likely that the sun will have damaged the paint around the sticker so even if you do get it off the ghost outline will remain to taunt you.. polishing to keep the outline at bay will be a regular necessity

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  • It sounds like goo fluid probably WONT just immediately destroy the paint - so I'll proceed carefully with that! Bloody stickers eh ? – Fattie Jul 5 at 11:24
  • every answer here is fanatstic and you are not allowed to tick them all, so I ticked this one since it first officially mentioned a razor blade – Fattie Jul 5 at 18:34
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Try a heat gun (NOT a hair drier - they're not hot enough).

If you damage the paintwork - unlikely - then your plan B was to take it to a body shop instead anyway.

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    Pete - great tip - so really a normal hair dryer is not hot enough, did not know. Will report back :) – Fattie Jul 5 at 11:22
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    @Fattie It makes sense though. With a heat gun, you can set things on fire. You wouldn't wan to do that with your hair. – Mast Jul 5 at 14:27
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    Ideally a variable-temp heat gun and work your way up slowly (if not variable temp, start a fairly long way away). A heat gun on full blast can damage most types of paint. Try when the panel has been sitting in the sun for a while to preheat the metal. – Chris H Jul 6 at 9:22
  • I guess you can save a few dollars by using the heat gun's lowest setting to dry your hair – user253751 Jul 6 at 11:10
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    @user253751, my heat gun specifically says not to use it to dry hair. It also has instructions on using it to ignite charcoal (without the use of lighter fluid). – Mark Jul 6 at 22:47
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Razor + two chemical Cocktail - it worked!

Success - I experimented a lot and fortunately the result was another "mechanics.SE save".

1. Whisky

You're about to take a razor blade to a car, have a large glass of strong whisky first to rock-steady your nerves. I recommend Heaven Hill

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(if you can't get that, Macallan 18 yr old will do)

2. Flat, straight, naked, square razor blade

Experimentation suggests this sort of thing will NOT work:

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Take off and dispose of the safety device

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Then...

3. Drown it in the magic cocktail of GoofOff and WD40

I tried a number of products on different edges. For me, drowning it in BOTH GoofOff and WD does it.

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I simply poured a huge amount of Goofoff on to the surface / some shop towel (WATCH FOR DRIPS) and basically held it there awhile.

(As always with Goofoff, in fact it seems you really do NOT need "a long time", it seems to either work or not; the instructions suggest the same.)

So get the Goofoff in there, and then spray the hell out of it with WD.

Some internet tips suggest putting the chemicals "on the edges". I found that was basically impossible. Just drown it (including the edges). Indeed Goofoff generally softened the damned stickers, rubbed off the pathetic top plastic layers anyway, so it's all good.

Adopt "AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE" approach to the chemicals. Perhaps have a friend continuously spray the WD as you work, even.

Of course take care / test, but I had NO - ZERO damage to the paint from the Goofoff.

4. WATCH FOR DRIPS down on to, say, plastic light covers

I'm pretty sure one or both of the chemicals will streak light covers - beware

So it worked for me, I just razored a few pieces, then soaked again, razored, soaked.

Razoring:

• It seems you have to hold it so that the tiny edge of the blade is basically perfectly flat to the paint surface

• Just do tiny pieces at a time (see below). Forget the idea of doing a big chunk. I did ~70 pieces

• Incredibly you CAN get it literally "in between" your car and the sticker. It works. The feeling is amazing once you are in there

One mistake and you're screwed. It seems to be something where the outcome is either perfection or total disaster :/

• Forget gloves. If you're sensitive to goof-off, no go. Unless you're like a brain surgeon used to working in surgical gloves, this is going to be an unprotected procedure

• You'll need small fingers since the back of the razor, will only be raised a matter of millimeters above the paint to achieve the angle mentioned

• FORGET the idea that "after getting a start, it will peel off in one big piece". Nonsense! (If it was that easy a sticker, you wouldn't need all this, you'd just get under it with a fingernail then pull.) My one came off in ~70 pieces, I counted.

• It really does NOT work w/ just WD. And it really does NOT work w/ just Goofoff. In my experience. For me and the "EZRideMotors" sticker of death - the combo worked.

5. Another mechanics.SE save

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As Jeremy Clarkson says, know you got soul. Thank goodness for this web site.

Tip - I wish I'd thrown a piece of paper on the concrete where the 70 hideous, surely toxic, pieces of metallic horrible sticker stuff polluted my driveway, it took ages to clean up.

And to repeat I guess one has to be super-careful with drips on to taillights.

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    Nice work! Thank you for the completion info. Another way to protect the tail lights would be to remove the whole unit whil eworking on the area, and even work with the boot lid / trunk lid in the open position so the sticker was less vertical. In a flat orientation, I've seen clay used as a "dam" to corral liquids too. Great news! – Criggie Jul 6 at 3:48
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    @Criggie , that is an incredibly good idea. Indeed, it would be hugely easier if the problem sticker was on a flat horizontal surface, then the fluids would obviously not roll off. i don't have the guts to remove the trunk lid though! – Fattie Jul 6 at 10:57
  • if you;d opened the boot/trunk lid then the sticker would have been more-horizontal as the lid goes to vertical? Not sure how far it might open sorry. – Criggie Jul 6 at 11:34
  • Well done! Now your only problems are (a) a teenager driving a 140mph car, and (b) the teenager getting insurance to drive said 140mph car!... – PeteCon Jul 6 at 14:54
  • Right! actually my big problem is a "upper intake gasket" .. new question coming! – Fattie Jul 6 at 16:25
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Irrespective of whether you use heat (as some have suggested) or a solvent (as others have suggested), the more you brutalise the edges and corners the more difficult the operation will become.

A decent hot-air gun would be my first line of attack, and by that I don't mean one with temperature that wanders 100 degrees in either direction.

As far as solvents go, don't use anything that attacks the paint when applied somewhere inconspicuous. I'd start with something like turpentine which can be very effective at softening adhesive, and I'd particularly mention the Mykal range since at least some of them are citrus byproducts and as such are comparatively environmentally friendly.

In any case, start at a corner if possible and either heat the sticker or get solvent onto the edge of the glue, and don't worry at it until the glue is nicely softened. The more of the adhesive (which might actually be an impregnated pad) that comes off attached to the sticker, the less cleaning up you'll have to do later.

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  • A great tip about turps - I will follow these tips! – Fattie Jul 5 at 11:45
  • A hot air gun can be used with one of those non-contact IR thermometers to get an idea how hot things are. Funny story - hot things can look just like cold things. – Criggie Jul 6 at 3:49
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    @Criggie Curiously, I was trying to do that a couple of days ago so I can fairly report that it didn't work well. The problems are (a) that the spread of the air and the area monitored by the thermometer don't match and (b) the emissivity of the work area and its tendency to couple to a hot air flow can result in misleading results. There's really no substitute to knowing the melting point of the adhesive, and having a gun which can be set accurately and stably to a few degrees above that. – Mark Morgan Lloyd Jul 8 at 8:37

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