CARS.COM — Bumper 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 and decals need to be replaced every year. How do you safely remove them?
While removing stickers isn’t as easy as putting them on, we have some advice that should make the job a little less sticky, for you and your car’s paint.
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.
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.
4. After you’ve let the sticker heat up, use the plastic card at an angle to gently scrape up the glue under the sticker. You can also try using your fingertips to peel it up. If the surface area is hot enough, you will be able to slide the plastic card under the sticker’s edge and begin to peel it and the adhesive away.
Repeating step 2 and step 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 to peel it up. If you’re removing a sticker from your car’s glass, use the box cutter or razor blade at a slight angle.
Warning: 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.
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.
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.
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.
In addition to the photos and step-by-step instructions above, check out the video for more on how to remove stickers below.
*While we hope to help, Cars.com is not responsible for any damage that may occur to your vehicle by following the steps above.
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