How to remove factory decals from a car in 6 easy steps

Car manufacturers and their designers tend to include decals on the car that they make. For the most part, those decals are harmless. Still, a lot of people prefer not to have any, or perhaps to replace them with decals of their own. If that sounds like you, you’re at the right place!

Car owners can remove factory decals in a very straightforward way. First, clean the decals and their surrounding areas. Then, apply heat to the decals before peeling them from the edges. There will be adhesive residue underneath that you’ll also need to remove. Once that’s done, you can clean, dry, and wax the surface to make it look brand new.

This guide will show you the best way to remove unwanted old decals on your car. You’ll also discover the tools and supplies you need as you continue reading. They’ll help to remove a vinyl decal or any other kind, while protecting your car’s clear coat underneath and ensuring your car paint remains in great condition.

Let’s get started.

What Tools Do You Need To Remove Decals From A Car?

Firstly, it’s crucial to understand that there is no single best tool for removing factory decals. Instead, you’ll need several tools and supplies to get the job done correctly.

You’ll need tools to deliver a blast of heat, scrape the decals, and wipe your car panels. Then, you’ll also need supplies to clean the surface underneath the decal and remove any adhesives left behind.

Let’s look at some of the tools and supplies you can use for those tasks.

Tools To Deliver Heat With

First thing as part of the decal removal process, you’ll need to deliver a targeted blast of heat to the decal and surrounding areas.

You can use a heat gun or a hair dryer to get the job done. These tools will deliver just enough heat to get this job done. 

Besides that, you likely have one or both of those tools at home, which means you won’t have to spend any money to get one.

Tools To Scrape Decals With

Pulling the decals off of your car by hand won’t be enough, so you’ll need some tools to scrape them. So naturally, you’ll want to stay away from anything with sharp edges that can scratch the car’s paint.

Plastic is always best, so use a plastic scraper, plastic card, or plastic razor blade.

Tools To Wipe With

You’ll have to clean your car panels before and after removing those decals. A soft cloth is good enough, though a good quality microfiber towel would be better.

Supplies To Clean Car Panels With

Besides the tools mentioned above, you can also use several supplies to make the removal process more effective. You’ll find an automotive window cleaner solution quite helpful, assuming you can’t find a decal remover instead.

Supplies To Remove Adhesives With

Removing Factory Decals From Your Car: Step-By-Step Guide

Here is a 6-step process to remove factory decals from your car and clean the surface underneath.

Step 1: Clean The Area

The first step of this process is to clean your car decals and the surrounding area. Unfortunately, many people tend to overlook this step despite how important it is to protect your car’s paint.

Your decals will accumulate dirt and debris over an extended period. Cleaning them will prevent any build up from scratching your paint when you peel the decals off.

Step 2: Apply Heat

The next step of the process is to apply heat directly to the surface of the decal. The heat is necessary to weaken the adhesive that keeps it stuck to your car.

There are many ways you can apply heat, though a heat gun or hairdryer is the easiest to control.

Step 3: Peel Off The Decals

After that comes the most critical step of this process: peeling off the decals. This stage poses the highest risk of you damaging paint on your car, so you must be extra cautious.

Only use a plastic scraper, plastic card, or plastic razor blade for this step of the process, as any other materials or tools can damage your car. 

With your plastic tool, start at the edge of the decal until you’ve removed enough of the decal to peel by hand. Then, peel the rest by gripping it between your fingers.

My bottle of quick detailer on my car bonnet

Step 4: Remove Any Residue

Whether those decals have been on your car a long time or if it’s just rolled off the factory floor, there will be some glue residue underneath. You’ll have to remove that residue, or the spot will continue to be sticky and ugly.

You can remove adhesive residue using a wide range of glue removal products. Alternatively, an eraser wheel which cleans in circular motions can also remove the residue mechanically if you prefer not to use chemical residue removers.

Step 6: Apply Wax

As an optional final step, you can also choose to apply wax to your car to restore its shine. However, you must give that wax plenty of time to dry thoroughly before sticking any new decals on.

Final Thoughts

Whether you’re trying to remove bumper stickers or car stickers, you must never forget a couple of things to get the best results while protecting the car’s surface from damage.

Firstly, be mindful of the tools and supplies that you use. Always use plastic tools instead of anything sharp, and avoid harsh chemicals, to ensure that you don’t damage your car’s paint job.

Besides that, remember to be extremely patient, especially in Step 3 when you’re peeling the decal. Take your time peeling the decal to ensure that most of it comes off easily, making your clean up later much quicker to do.