Painted-on Truck Lettering Removal

by Brian Walker

Promoting a business, product or service on the side of a truck makes sense, especially if you own the business and want to use the painted lettering on your vehicle as a form of advertisement. But you may be at a loss for how to remove it when the time comes. Fortunately, removing painted-on lettering requires nothing more than a staple of kitchen cleaning and elbow grease.

Key Ingredient

Removing painted lettering or graphics from the side of a truck takes something you may already have in your kitchen: oven cleaner. Oven cleaner is a powerful chemical that will remove stubborn paint but when done correctly won't damage the clear coat or automotive paint underneath.

Little by Little

The trick is to work fast but in small areas. Don't attempt to remove the entirety of the paint at once, otherwise you'll find yourself waiting too long and the oven cleaner will begin to damage the actual automotive paint. By working in small areas and finishing the complete process before moving on, you can ensure that the job will be done correctly and without damage.

Rub It Off

Use a rag sprayed with some oven cleaner to briskly rub the painted lettering. Use a circular rubbing motion and maintain good pressure to be sure the cleaner rubs off the paint instead of just distorting the surface somewhat. If the lettering doesn't completely rub off, don't worry, as it will probably take several passes of cleaner to fully remove it.

Cleaning and Shining

After you finish rubbing, immediately wash the area with warm water and a clean rag. This will remove any residual cleaner to prevent damage and will ready the surface for another pass if necessary. This is only needed if some paint remains; don't feel that multiple passes with the cleaner are necessary. Different paints and the age of the lettering itself will all affect just how much oven cleaner is needed.

Once the paint is thoroughly removed, wax the area of the vehicle that you just cleaned. While the oven cleaner and the paint removal process shouldn't have damaged the auto paint at all, they are still powerful enough to eat through any protective layers of wax that may have been present, as well as remove any cosmetic shine. To combat this and to restore some shine and protection, use standard automotive wax and buff it in thoroughly to the area you just cleaned. This will leave the spots that once were covered with painted lettering looking just like the rest of the vehicle, as if no additional paint was ever there.

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