How to Remove Decals From Any Metal, Plastic, or Painted Surface

by Allen Moore
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Automotive decals range from factory pin striping and model designation to political bumper stickers or other decals that declare your personal interests or modifications to the vehicle. When striving to remove the decals, remain aware of potential damage you can cause to the surface sporting the decal; take it off the wrong way, and you can cause serious damage to the vehicle. Once you've removed the decal, properly care for the area with your preferred wax.

Step 1

Heat the decal with a hair dryer to loosen the adhesive that holds the decal to the vehicle. Touch the decal to gauge the surface temperature, and once it feels consistently warm to the touch, turn off the hair dryer and set it nearby.

Step 2

Work under the edges of the decal with a detailing razor to lift it from the surface of the vehicle. Detailing razors are made of plastic and look like metal razor blades. Purchase detailing razors at most auto parts retailers or other stores with a significant automotive wares section.

Step 3

Peel the decal back and away from the vehicle while cleaving the adhesive away with the detailing razor. Continue this until you remove the entire decal from the vehicle.

Step 4

Apply a quarter-sized spot of acetone to a clean, cotton rag. Wipe the leftover decal adhesive from the vehicle with the rag and acetone --- do not pour the acetone directly onto the vehicle. Repeat this until you've removed all the adhesive.

Step 5

Clean the area thoroughly with a quality brand of car wash detergent and water. Dry the area with a clean, cotton rag.

Step 6

Apply a layer of car wax to the area with a car wax applicator to protect the finish.

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