If you have kids, you probably know all too well how sticker-happy they can be. From locking themselves in their rooms with a DIY sticker lock to covering the walls of their bedroom with stickers of their favorite band or fictional characters, kids love stickers because they can apply them almost anywhere and take them off again whenever they like. Sometimes that’s an advantage—especially when it comes to putting them on their bedroom walls or other furniture. But on your car? Not so much. That’s why many parents cringe when they discover that their child has covered the back of their car with bumper stickers. It’s not just because we worry about where they might drive next — it’s also because we know what removing those bumper stickers from their car will cost us in both time and money! After all, most car manufacturers recommend avoiding any surface treatments that could compromise visibility or impact aerodynamics by reducing airflow to the rear brakes and tailgate.
How To Remove Stickers From Car Without Damaging Paint?
1. Try warm soapy water first.
Before you start scraping, give the sticker a quick soak in warm, soapy water. If it’s a paper sticker, this might be enough to loosen it up and make it easier to remove. Use an old toothbrush or your fingers to scrub the area where the sticker was in order to get a good grip on the edges and help loosen it up as well. If you’re dealing with a vinyl or plastic sticker, however, this method won’t work. In that case, continue reading for more specific instructions on how to remove stickers from the car without damaging the paint.
2. Use oil if soapy water doesn’t work!
If you’re dealing with a vinyl or plastic sticker that won’t come off after soaking in warm soapy water, try using some oil instead (like olive oil or vegetable oil). Place a few drops of oil on top of the sticker and let it soak in for at least five minutes before trying again to remove the sticker with your fingertips or an old toothbrush.
3. Use turpentine if oil doesn’t work!
If neither warm soapy water nor olive oil is effective at removing your bumper stickers — and especially if they seem to have been there for quite some time — try using turpentine instead! Put on rubber gloves and place several drops of turpentine directly onto the bumper sticker (or into a small container and then apply with a Q-tip). Let the turpentine soak into the sticker for at least five minutes before trying to remove it again. If necessary, reapply the turpentine and wait for another five minutes or so.
4. Use WD-40 on large stickers.
If you’re dealing with a large bumper sticker that won’t budge after other methods, spray it down with a little WD-40 first, and then rub it off with a paper towel or soft cloth. Although this may take some elbow grease, it should do the trick!
5. Use a razor blade if necessary.
If you’re dealing with a large, thick bumper sticker that won’t come off after using any of the above methods, your final option is to use a razor blade to carefully scrape it off. Hold the blade at an angle to avoid scratching the paint and scrape in one direction only (up and down or side to side) in order to prevent gouges. If you still can’t get it off, try placing a piece of tape on top of the sticker and removing both at once.
6. Remove it yourself!
If you have a bumper sticker that you just don’t want anymore, you can remove it yourself. All you need is a pair of scissors and the right kind of tape to cover the area where the sticker was located. Just cut around the edges of the sticker, then carefully peel up one edge and pull it off while holding down the other side. If you’re dealing with a vinyl or plastic sticker, though, be careful not to scratch your car when removing it!
Why Are Car Bumper Stickers So Difficult To Remove?
1. Plastic and Vinyl Bumper Stickers
The plastic and vinyl stickers used on bumpers are usually fairly thick, making them difficult to remove. The glue is also very strong, making it tricky to get any kind of grip on the sticker. However, if you’re dealing with a vinyl or plastic bumper sticker that has been in place for years, you’ll probably need to use a razor blade to scrape it off.
2. Weather and Age
Over time, weathering can cause bumper stickers to become brittle and crack or peel up around the edges. If a bumper sticker has been in place for years — especially in hot weather — it will be more difficult to remove than one that was just recently applied. Additionally, older stickers tend to have more cracks and crevices where the glue has dried out over time, making them even harder to get off.
3. The Surface of Your Car
If your car is painted with a glossy finish, removing a bumper sticker will be very difficult because of the paint’s smooth surface. This is also true for cars that have been treated with wax or polish or even ones that have been repainted recently (within the past six months). In these cases, you may need to apply another coat of wax before attempting removal again in order to soften up the paint underneath so you can get better traction on the adhesive when pulling it off.
4. The Location of the Bumper Sticker
Bumper stickers are usually applied to bumpers, but they can be placed anywhere that doesn’t get too hot or cold in order to preserve the adhesive. This includes the trunk, hood, or back window of your car. If you have a bumper sticker on a part of your car that is difficult to remove (like the bumper or front window), you may need to use a razor blade or other sharp object in order to scrape it off.
5. How Long It’s Been There
Bumper stickers that have been in place for over six months will be more difficult to remove than ones that were just recently applied. The reason for this is that the glue on older stickers tends to dry out, causing it to become brittle and crack over time. As a result, older stickers tend to peel up at the edges and become crumbly, which makes them harder to remove without damaging your car’s paint job in the process!
What Are The Different Types Of Stickers?
1. Vinyl Bumper Sticker
The most common type of bumper sticker is a vinyl bumper sticker. These are made from thin, flexible vinyl that comes in many different colors and can be printed with just about anything you want on them. Vinyl bumper stickers are an economical choice for those looking to advertise their business or make a statement.
2. Removable Bumper Sticker
A removable bumper sticker is exactly what it sounds like: a sticker that can be removed without damaging the paint job on your car’s exterior. These stickers have an adhesive that is designed to peel up easily when it’s time to remove them. Most removable stickers will last for up to three years before they begin to fade or fall off on their own, but you should check the packaging before applying one in order to determine how long it will last in your area.
3. Decal Bumper Sticker
A decal bumper sticker is similar to a vinyl bumper sticker except that it has no adhesive backing. Instead, these stickers are meant to stick directly onto your car’s exterior with static electricity so they don’t leave any residue behind when you remove them later on down the road (which makes them great for temporary advertising). Decals are also more durable than vinyl stickers because they won’t crack or peel up around the edges as easily as their vinyl counterparts do over time (especially in hot weather).
Don’t try to remove bumper stickers from your car by scraping them off or peeling them off, as this will damage the paint. Instead, make use of a good adhesive remover, such as the 3M Paint and Fabric Remover. To make the remover more effective, freeze it in an ice tray, then store it in a sealed container in the freezer. Before removing the stickers, apply the frozen remover to the bumper sticker for about 30 seconds, then scrape off the sticker with a putty knife. Once you’ve removed all the stickers, apply a coat of touch-up paint to your bumper. This will help to hide any scratches or scuff marks left behind.