How To Remove Dealer Decals From Your Car
Removing Bumper and Stickers Dealer Decals From Your Car
The easy method of how to remove decals and stickers from your car: Some of us just don't care much for stickers or decals on our cars, including dealer decals. Personally, I'm not as fanatical about removing the dealer decals as some are, but I will say you'd be hard pressed to find me putting a bumper sticker or decal on my vehicle or in the window unless it was absolutely necessary. Yes, I even cringe at the thought of sticking park passes, oil change date and parking lot stickers in the corner of my my windshield.
What prompted me to learn how to remove the dealer decal from the trunk of my car? - I had purchased a vehicle from an independent dealership, you know, one of those buy here pay here lots on the seedier side of town. Don't worry, I haven't hit the skids. This dealership simply had what I was looking for and was willing to negotiate with me.
Back to removing the sticker. After I got the car home a friend and neighbor of mine asked me why I'd buy a car from, let's just call them "Billy-Bob-Bubbas Used Autos". (No offense intended toward the Billys, Bobs, and Bubbas reading this). So after a little ribbing from my buddy and a lot of defending on my part,my neighbor told me how I could remove the sticker without scratching the paint. Vanity got me, I'm in, how do I do it?
Image Source: Flickr.com by Marcus Hansson
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Removing Dealer Decals With A Heat Gun
So now you know the secret. "With a Heat Gun" . The method itself is fairly straight forward, however you will want to take some precautions. Such as not holding the gun too close to the surface and making certain not to keep it pointed at any one area of the sticker any longer than necessary.
If your heat gun is adjustable, begin with a low or moderate setting. You can turn up the heat as you go, if needed. Point it at the edge of the sticker in the area where want to begin peeling. If the decal is square start at a corner. If it's round just pick a comfortable spot.
After about 30-60 seconds of the heat being directed at the sticker you should be able to start peeling. Once you start it's best to continue until the entire sticker has bee removed. Work slowly with the heat gun pointing to the direction in which you plan to keep pulling or rolling the sticker.
My best bit of advice is, don't try to move quickly and try to keep the sticker from tearing as you go. If you can remove it as a single piece even if it is rolled up you'll usually get the best results. Sometimes it's a bit o fa pain to restart from a feather or torn edge.
That's it, pretty simple and once your'e done removing the sticker you can take a soft cloth and buff out any residue. If for some reason the glue residue is more than what can be buffed out try the 3M Adhesive Remover, Goo Gone, or WD-40. Follow the directions and test it out somewhere other than on the middle of your cars trunk before applying.
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Remove Retail Price Stickers Without The Gunk
This article was originally written to discuss how to safely remove dealer decals from your vehicles, but there is another use for this method. I discovered it back when I was purchasing vintage items at resale shops and Goodwill stores to resell on eBay.
They have a habit, in resale shops, of putting these nasty little handwritten ultra sticky stickers that have been perforated or cut in part. The reason being if someone were to try to remove a sticker thinking to replace it with a sticker from a lessor priced item, it could not be done without destroying both price stickers.
As a security measure it has it's merits, bit as a vintage item reseller there is the down side. When you purchase something from one of these stores, removing the sticker can leave you with a gungky little glue and paper mess in a very noticeable area of your vintage treasure.
The Solution: Use a heat gun in the same way as you would for removing a dealer decal. For retail stickers peel from a corner and if it rips at the perforation, which it is sure to do, start again at another corner. I found if there is a bit gunk left over all you need is a bit more heat and a well manipulated *fingernail to finish the job.
* If you're going to scratch a bit off with your fingernail make sure it's not too hot. We Don't want anyone getting burned.