Posted on Sep 5, 2011 in Automobiles
I just bought a new (to me) car and it’s covered in bumper stickers. How can I get these stupid stickers off of it?
Aw, don’t you just hate that? 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.
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, 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 they don’t agree, I walk out the door. This hasn’t stopped them from doing it anyway, but I refuse to accept the car until they roll it back into the body shop and take it off completely. If you’ve already gotten home with it, that’s fine. Stop by and ask them nicely if they can remove it for you.
Now, if they’re unwilling to help you, or you bought the car private party and it has every campaign sticker known to man dating back to Bush the Elder vs Dukakis in ’88, don’t panic.
The best way to remove those pesky stickers yourself is to use a heat gun to heat up the glue and peel the bugger right off. If you don’t have a heat gun, the one in the link is only about $20 at Harbor Freight. Do be 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 and bubble your paint or set the sticker on fire. Fire is bad.
Don’t have a heat gun and don’t particularly want to buy one? Or maybe you’re kinda 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.
If there’s any sticky residue left over, use a citrus based cleaner like Goo Gone. 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 one on there if you so choose.
Photo by HELVETIQ
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