How to debadge a car or remove car logosby Contributor
If you want to get rid of the logos on your car to clean up its looks, get rid of dealer tags, or even to repaint the car, it is not as hard as you may think. Most badges today are held on simply with a very strong adhesive that can be removed by following a simple heating and scraping process. Here is how you remove badges or logos from your car.
The very first thing to do is confirm that the badge is held on by adhesive only, and that it is not riveted or screwed on. A lot of logos and emblems that are inset in hoods or trunk lids are actually bolted onto the car. Open the hood or trunk, and look in the back where the logo sits for bolts. Unbolt these, and remove them from the car. If the logo is inset, you will have to fill it with bondo and repaint, but that is for another article. To remove the adhesive only badges, read on!
Spray a bug and tar remover of your choice around the seal of the emblem holding it onto your car. This will help to loosen up the glue around the edges of the badge/emblem. Again, this works best for the emblems that are on the flat parts of your car. If the emblem is inset, then it might have a bolt holding it on. Wipe off any excess tar or bug remover.
Take your hair dryer and put it on high-heat. Aim it at the badge you want to remove. I recommend that you use a hair dryer instead of a hot air gun because it will not get hot enough to cause any damage to your paint or badge/emblem. You need to keep the hair dryer aimed at the badge until the badge and the metal around the badge are hot to the touch - like on a really sunny day. Keep the hair dryer about 3-6 inches off the badge to optimize the heating of the adhesive. It will take roughly around 10-15 minutes of directly applied heat to start loosening up the adhesive.
Take your plastic spatula and gently start to pry around the edges of the badge or emblem - working from the bottom of the badge up. The key here is to try and start to remove the adhesive that holds the badge to the car away from the car body. DO THIS GENTLY, as we do not want to break the emblem. You might want to use them later, or sell them on eBay. When working around the edges of the emblem / badge, you want to try and get a small slit started between the emblem and the car with the plastic spatula. If you can not get any separation, you need to apply more heat for another 5-10 minutes or so.
Put on your thick cotton gloves, and then cut about a foot of 10-20lb fishing line. Wrap one end of the fishing line around the pointer finger of your left hand, and then wrap one end around the pointer finger of your right hand. This is why you are wearing gloves - to keep the line from biting into your fingers. Wrap it gently, and not too tight. Using your fingers and thumbs, try to work the fishing line up into the slit you made on the emblem like a saw. You actually want to use a sawing motion with the fishing line and work it up behind the emblem from the bottom to the top. Try to cut close to the emblem. If you are not able to move it along, apply more heat for a longer amount of time until you can get the fishing line up behind the emblem and use the plastic spatula to help you pry up on the emblem/badge.
Work the fishing line up behind the emblem until it pops off. Do this for every emblem you want to remove. Do not worry about cleaning off the adhesive left over until you remove every badge.
Once the entire badge and emblem are off of the car, you will want to clean off the remaining dirt, grime, and adhesive. You will see some discoloration, but that is mostly because of street dirt and adhesive. Spray your bug and tar remover onto the left over residue, and use your finger nail or plastic spatula to scratch it all off.
Take some soap and water and wash the back of your car when all of the adhesive and dirt is gone. You are finished!