How do you remove bumper stickers from your car?

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If you just bought a used car or truck and it’s covered with bumper stickers, “Remove stickers from vehicle” will quickly earn a space at the top of your to-do list. (The urgency will only increase if the opinions so boldly expressed are not at all in line with your beliefs.)

Here are a few ways to remove those bumper stickers and other decals gone so you can make that new-to-you car all your own.

bumper stickers

A sticky situation

So you just picked up that new (to you) car, and everything about it is perfect – except for that “I brake for unicorns” sticker on the back bumper. Or worse: The dealer decided to plaster their name all over, it hoping for some free advertising.

Well, if you’re not the biggest fan of unicorns (I won’t judge) or you think the dealer gets quite enough advertising already, read on.

Don’t pay for a sticker on your new car

First of all, if it’s a dealer-applied sticker, and you purchased it from that dealer, bring the car back to them and tell them you want it gone. Personally, on every car I’ve ever purchased from a dealer, I’ve made it part of the presale paperwork and a condition for my final delivery that there be no dealer stickers of any kind on the car. If you’ve already gotten home with it, make a point to stop by and ask them nicely if they will remove it for you.

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Now, if they’re unwilling to help you, or you bought the car through a private party and it has every campaign sticker known to man dating back to Bush the Elder vs Dukakis in ’88, no worries.

To remove bumper stickers, a few techniques to try

The best way to remove those pesky stickers yourself is to very carefully use a heat gun to heat up the glue and peel the bugger right off. If you haven’t used a heat gun before, be very careful, as they are designed to put out about 500 degrees F or more, so do take care not to apply heat for too long. It could bubble your car’s paint, or even set the sticker on fire — neither of which are optimal.

Don’t have a heat gun and don’t particularly want to buy one? Or maybe you’re a little clumsy and don’t want to set your paint on fire? No problem, a hair dryer works just fine. 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. Any little bits left over that won’t come up easily, reheat and then use a grocery store club card or similar to scrape them off.

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If there’s any sticky residue left over, use a product like Goo Gone or Turtle Wax Label & Sticker Remover. Spray 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.

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.

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