Some hot water, a razor blade, and a little sticker cleaner is all it takes to remove that tramp stamp
Personalizing your car with labels and logos may sound fun, but when it comes time to remove a sticker from your car, you may find yourself instantly regretting the decision. A car is, in many ways, an extension of who we are; just as we dress ourselves up, do our hair, or even get a tattoo or piercing, we may want to customize our vehicle to reflect our personality. This can take the form of a humorous sticker of Garfield exclaiming his hatred of Mondays on the back of your Honda CR-V, or it could be a bit more specific, like a campaign sticker for a candidate you truly believe. Over time, though, our interests and priorities change, and you may eventually want to remove it, only to find that it's a lot harder than just slapping it on.
Regardless of where the ticker is situated, it is likely going to leave some adhesive behind, or it may tear and flake. If you were reckless enough to apply it directly to the paintwork of your car, then you could be looking at some serious repainting after you finally scrape it all off. But, before you go and make another decision you'll regret later, take a gander at this guide on how to remove stickers from your car window or bumper without leaving any lasting damage.
First off, you should know that there are a few different kinds of stickers, and exactly where they are placed can have a serious impact on the method you use to remove them. It is far more difficult to get stickers off the paintwork than it is to simply peel or scrape them off the windshield. So, if you decked your Dodge Charger out in full racing decals, prepare for an arduous task.
First of all, stickers are usually designed to be applied either to glass or directly to the car body, like a bumper sticker. Depending on the material used in the production of said sticker, it may be more suitable in one place than another. The different options you get when choosing a sticker for your vehicle include:
What the sticker is made of will also affect the method used to remove it later. If you want something a little more temporary for your low-key Toyota Corolla, a magnet sticker uses no glue, so you can safely remove it without needing to use an adhesive remover or sticker cleaner. However, it cannot be applied to a plastic surface, and will have to be placed directly onto the paintwork, risking scratches.
It is much easier to remove stickers from glass than car paintwork, but some of the tips and preparation are the same. Here are some tricks you can use to get rid of old stickers the easy way:
For the most part, stickers are designed to withstand a certain level of washing. Only EZ-Stick vinyl stickers are less durable. You will generally need a tool to remove stickers, such as a plastic spatula or razor blade, along with lots of heat to loosen up the adhesive.
Whether you need to remove dealer decals or regret a spur-of-the-moment decision to spruce up your ride, there are some easy steps you can take to remove auto stickers. Simply clean the area with soapy water, heat up the sticker with a hairdryer or heat gun, peel it off, clean up the residue, and wax the exposed paint.
When diluted accordingly, isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol shouldn't put your paint job at risk. However, it should never be used on freshly painted cars, and never at full strength - always wash the area and polish afterward, too.
Most people park their cars facing forward, so the best place to put a sticker, if you want it to be seen, is the rear. This is why campaign stickers are almost always designed for the bumper. However, the rear window is also a good place. This is why, if you drive minivans, you should always place your 'children on board' sticker on the back window, where it can be seen clearly.