How To Remove Those Nasty Bumper Stickers From Your Car

Time Needed: Half-hour to 1 hour, Difficulty: Beginner, Cost: Less than $20 There’s a time in almost everyone’s life when...

Time Needed: Half-hour to 1 hour, Difficulty: Beginner, Cost: Less than $20

There’s a time in almost everyone’s life when they think bumper stickers are cool, endearing, clever, or at least vaguely funny. But unlike that can of Spam in your cupboard, there’s an expiration date for the coolness of bumper stickers. It’s called being 15 years old. If you’re taking a long look in the mirror and wondering where your driving life went so wrong, it’s time to remove those stickers.

The good news is that it’s easy to remove bumper stickers, and in many cases, there will be no sign left of who you voted for in 1996. Car Bibles’ editors have been there, too, and have removed many types of stickers and decals, even though some of us still love Smash Mouth and don’t want to get rid of the evidence.

Let’s get started.

The Safety Brief

Follow these quick tips for safe and easy sticker removal.

  • Any time you’re getting ready to work on a painted surface, be careful to work slowly so there’s not as much chance to damage the paint or bodywork
  • Any time you’re working with chemicals, it’s important to work in a well-ventilated area. Breathing fumes isn’t good for anyone.
  • It’s tempting to jump in and start scraping away, but take a moment to protect your hands and eyes with gloves and safety glasses.

The Tools & Parts You Need

Make sure you have these tools and parts ready for the job before you get started.

How To Remove Those Nasty Bumper Stickers From Your Car

The Job: How To Remove Bumper Stickers

1. Park The Car In a Shaded Area

Removing old bumper stickers and cleaning everything up will be a lot easier if your car is parked in a shaded spot and has been allowed to cool down.

2. Clean Area Around Stickers

Giving your whole car a wash would be a great idea, but at the very least, you’ll need to thoroughly clean the area around the stickers.

3. Heat Surface

Use your blow dryer or heat gun to heat the sticker. It’s best to hold it a few inches away to avoid damage to the paint, especially with the heat gun. Move steadily around the area of the sticker to ensure you’re loosening the adhesive as much as possible.

If you’re unsure of using a heat gun or are uncomfortable blasting your car with hot air, you can use a towel soaked in hot water to soften the adhesive.

4. Carefully Peel Sticker

Using a plastic scraping tool or your fingernails, start peeling the sticker off from one side. If the sticker has been in place for a while, it’s likely that you’ll have to peel it off in pieces. This is fine, but make sure you’re careful to avoid damaging the paint underneath each time you start a new peel spot.

5. Clean Any Remaining Residue

Stickers leave sticky stuff behind. It’s what they do. Use Goo Gone Automotive or even a household item like baby oil to loosen and remove the residue.

6. Wash Vehicle

Give your car a thorough washing once you’re done to remove any remaining cleaning products and clean away any evidence of the stickers.

The Questionnaire

You have the questions, we have the answers.

Q: My Local Mechanic Recommended WD-40 To Remove Stickers. Why Didn’t Car Bibles?

A: It’s totally possible to remove stickers from your car using WD-40 or even vinegar, but Car Bibles’ editors want to steer you in the safest direction possible. We can’t guarantee that the solution won’t be worse than the problem when using WD-40 or other lubricants.

Q: I’ve Had The Sticker On My Car For Years. Is My Paint Ruined?

A: There could be some damage, but the most common issue in these situations is that the paint underneath the sticker is a darker shade than the rest of the car. The sticker acts as a protective barrier for that area of the paint, so there won’t be the typical sun fading or damage that is seen on the rest of the paint.

Q: What If I Can’t Get The Sticker Off?

A: If you either can’t get the sticker off or think you’re going to damage the paint in the process, it’s best to take the car to a body and paint shop to have a pro help with the removal.

The Video Tutorial on Removing Bumper Stickers

Best Places To Buy Tools and Parts to Remove Bumper Stickers

It can be tough finding the right products to help you get rid of bumper stickers. That’s why Car Bibles’ editors have picked out a few of our favorites to get you started on the right foot. They include Armor All Microfiber Towels, Goo Gone Automotive, and Foshio Plastic Razor Scrapers.

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Chris Teague

Chris TeagueChris used a passion for all things automotive into a good excuse to leave the corporate world and pursue a career as a writer and podcaster. Originally from Tennessee, he now lives in Maine, where he’s become an expert on how “you can’t get there from here.” Contact the author here.