Thinking about purchasing a new car? Use our new Car Loan Calculator to estimate your monthly car payment!

How to Remove 3M Tape From a Car

by Kallie Johnson

Removing 3M tape from an automobile is a two step process. The first step involves removing the tape. Unfortunately, no matter what you do, there's always the possibility some of the paint can come off with with the tape, although working slowly and carefully can reduce some of the risk. The second step involves removing any adhesive left behind, and you may need to repeat it several times.

Soak a rag or cloth in water as hot as you can stand to touch. Lay the cloth over the tape, focusing on the edge. Leave the cloth in place until the cloth begins to cool. The heat loosens the adhesive used on the tape.

Use a plastic razor blade or a plastic paint scrapper to gently lift the edge of the tape. Do not use metal, as it will scratch and damage the paint. Once the edge is lifted, slowly peel back the tape. Do not peel quickly, as you can peel the paint off with the tape. Repeat Step 1 as needed, until all of the tape is off.

Shake a can of 3M adhesive remover. Spray on the tape residue. Allow it to work into the residue for one to two minutes. Dampen a cloth in cool to room-temperature water. Wipe the area to remove the tape residue and adhesive remover. Repeat as needed until all residue is removed.

Fill a bucket with warm water and liquid dish soap or car washing soap. Dip a sponge in the soapy water. Clean the area of the car where the tape was placed. This ensures all residue from both the tape and the adhesive remover is removed. Rinse the area to remove soap residue. Towel dry to prevent water spots.


  • 3M Adhesive Remover is a citrus oil-based remover, safe to use on vehicles. Most other brands of adhesive removers are acetone or alcohol-based. Do not use these, as they can discolor or remove automobile paint.

Items you will need

About the Author

Kallie Johnson began her writing career in 2009, contributing to various online publications. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. She enjoys writing home and garden topics and considers herself an expert on do-it-yourself home improvement topics.

More Articles

Photo Credits

  • automobile;vettura; fanale; xeon; frecce; abbaglianti image by Adryn from