How to remove old bumper stickers from your car

Photo by mattbannister via Twenty20

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Now that your kid hasn’t been Student of the Month for a while, and no longer plays for the local soccer league, how can you get rid of those old bumper stickers?

Or maybe you’re turning your car over to your teen, and she’s mortified at the thought of driving around with a “baby on board” sticker in the back window. No matter. Here are a few ways to remove those car stickers and other decals gone.
To remove bumper stickers, a few techniques to try

1. Hot air

While professionals might use a hot air gun, for most people, there’s too much risk involved — you can bubble your paint (or worse). The hot air from a hair dryer should work nearly as well.

Set it on the highest heat setting and wave it back and forth over the sticker for a few minutes, keeping it about 3″ to 5″ away. Eventually, it will heat up the glue enough that you should be able to peel the sticker back in one (or two or ten) pieces.

For all of these options, it’s handy to have a car-safe scraper. You can use an old plastic grocery store club card (or used-up gift card) can help you lift the edges of the sticker, and scrape away the plastic and adhesive. If you prefer, you can also buy something like a EEFUN Glass Scraper with Plastic Safety Blades.

Any little bits left over that won’t come up easily, reheat and then use the card to scrape them off — or try one of the solutions below.

2. Adhesive remover

A product like Goo Gone or Turtle Wax Label & Sticker Remover can work well, especially if you help it along with a soft plastic scraping tool, as mentioned above.

These cleaners are also good to use when you finish the scraping stage, and want to remove any other little bits of glue or plastic that might be left. Spray it onto your car, or apply a little to a clean cotton rag and gently work it into the residue, then it should wipe right off. It’s safe for your paint, provided the paint is in relatively good shape.

As a final step, you might want to clean off the area with some gentle window cleaner.

3. WD-40

The video below shows one way to remove a bumper sticker with WD-40 — however, car detailing experts warn that using a razor blade is very likely to damage your car’s finish — whether metal or plastic.

You might be able to use a razor blade along with another removal agent on a window, though — as long as you don’t interfere with any window tinting or defrosting wires.

4. A drill adaptor

Many people swear by this Decal Removal Eraser Wheel Tool Kit Rubber Power Drill Attachment — especially handy when you have more than a single sticker to remove.

Now you should have a nice clean car, devoid of stickers… and ready for you to paste your very own Flying Spaghetti Monster or zombie hunting permit on there if you so choose.

Note: While we hope that some of these tips work for you, is not responsible for any damage that may occur to your vehicle, so please use your own best judgment.

How to avoid this in the future

Next time, consider using window clings, or a product like Sticker Shield – Windshield Sticker Applicator. It is basically like you’re putting your bumper sticker on to a removable plastic surface instead of adhering it directly to your car’s finish.

Adeline Beckett

Adeline Beckett

Adeline Beckett is a freelance writer who spends the majority of her time in the Pacific time zone.

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