It may have seemed an excellent idea to have your car wrapped in cool graphics, also known as decals at the time. Or perhaps you’re a business owner/professional with a company car with your branding displayed across the panels of the car for maximal exposure. Whichever it may be, you may come at a time where you have no use of the car or simply just want to switch cars. However, one problem, your decals, signage and wrapping could be what is stopping you from being able to sell the car. No one wants to be driving around in a walking billboard unless it had personal value or benefit to their own life. So, what is next? Well, we are going to dive into how you can safely remove these decals and badges from your car paint
Badges and car decals are things that we usually put on our vehicles in an attempt to make them stand out. For some, decorating their vehicles can be a simple expression of the driver’s personality and character, an extension of who we were at the time. As complex as you may think it would be to remove these stickers, it is not as hard as you think. Most often, it requires dedication, persistence and patience. As long as you are equipped with the right mindset and equipment, you will be back to a nice new car in no time.
Here is what you will need:
- Heat Gun
- If not a Steamer
- Wax and Grease Remover in a spray bottle
- A Polisher
- Polishing compound
- Clean microfibre towels
- Car Wax
The first goal is to soften up the glue and adhesive that keeps the sticker stuck to the paint. By applying some heat, you are able to achieve this. Using a heat gun is an excellent way, but of course, caution must be taken as it can burn through the paint. Otherwise, if you have a steam cleaner, that too may suffice and offer a safer alternative. Aim the nozzle to the side of the film and try to catch an edge along the sides of the sticker.
Once you can pick an edge or corner of the sticker, see if you are able to peel the sticker gently from that corner with your fingers. With enough patience and controlled pressure, you should be able to do this. To further assist, use the heat gun and steamer to apply more heat to the fresher areas of adhesive to loosen the bind, but do so with extra caution as it can get hot. We always recommend wearing gloves for further safety.
Repeat these steps across all areas that have stickers until all of it has been removed. By now you should see a film of stickiness on the surface. This is the adhesive glue that has come loose, yet still etched on to the paintwork. You can use a wax and grease remover to lightly sprits the area allowing a few minutes for it to sit on top of the glue. Allow the product to work its magic into the glue, which will eventually allow you to wipe off with water and a microfiber towel.
Once the glue has been removed you will notice that the area of where the stickers once were, displays a different color tone to other areas of the car. Most often, it looks ‘newer’ with more color depth, this is because it has not endured the same amount of sunlight, UV and overall wear and tear that its surroundings.
To correct the mismatch in color it is always essential to machine buff the area using a machine polisher with polishing compound. Because the polishing compound consists of abrasives it can slightly lessen the discrepancy allowing for a better blend. This is succeeded by polishing the other areas and rejuvenating the paint condition to as new as possible to match the wrapped areas.
If your car has ceramic coating, according to Schmicko Car Paint Protection experts, it would be wise to reapply the paint protection once again after your have buffed the vehicle. We always recommend leaving this to the professional detailers to perform the application as to avoid any potential risks. Not only can paint protection be expensive, it can be easily faulted if not performed with care. The reason why this is recommended, is that most likely there will be no paint protection of where the stickers have been installed and so moving forward, the car will wear down at different rate across different areas. It’s almost like going to the beach with patches of sunblock, the sunburn will be evident across your body in areas not applied properly with protection. Same applies to the car paint, but in the form of failing and flaky clear coat; not an attractive look.
A new car with decals not on for too long will have a lower chance of this mismatch than say an older car of 20 years with stickers across its whole lifetime.