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How Do I Remove the Car Dealership Stickers, Decals, Badges, or Emblems From My Car?

by

There is nothing I hate more than dealerships who love putting free advertisement on the back of your new car in the form of a decal or emblem with their business name one it. It looks tacky, clutters the back of the car, and simply takes away from the overall appearance of the vehicle.

If you were lucky enough to only get the decal or the sticker kind, they can usually be removed very easily. Simply take a heat gun (or hair dryer if you don’t have one) and warm up the decal which will soften up the adhesive. Next you want to slowly peel off the decal (this step is definitely easier if you have finger nails). Most of the time you will find that the decals will peel off cleanly, not leaving any glue or adhesive behind. However, if they do happen to leave a little glue behind, simply take some 3M adhesive remover on a clean soft rag and gently wipe the surface until the glue/adhesive dissolves.

Now if you are one of the unfortunate people who got stuck with one of the hard plastic emblems held on with two sided foam tape, you will need a slightly different method and a little more patience. First you will need to take some fishing line or even dental floss and cut through the foam tape by sliding it between the emblem and the paint. Use the fishing line or dental floss in a seesaw type method to cut through the foam. This is a much safer method then just prying the emblem off with your hand, as that can result in the corner of the emblem gouging into the paint. Next you will want to use the 3M adhesive remover to soften the remaining foam tape left behind. The takes a little time and you will want to keep the foam tape wet with the 3M adhesive remover for it to work. Once it has had enough time to dwell it should easily be removed with your finger nail or with the gentle use of a plastic razor blade. Being to aggressive or impatient can result in marring or scratching of the finish…let the adhesive remover do the work.

Note: If the decals or emblems have been on the vehicle for an extended period of time, you may see an outline of where they were prior to removal. This outline will require some measure of polishing to be removed, and in extreme cases even wet sanding. Also note that if you are attempting to remove the make/model emblems from a vehicle that some of them have alignment pins in them, (especially the larger ones) and you will be left with holes in the panel if you remove them. I’d suggest checking with your local dealer before removing these emblems.

If you have any additional comments or questions, please submit your reply in the comment box below.

Chad Rskovich Rasky's Auto Detailing
Chad Raskovich
Rasky's Auto Detailing
Minneapolis, MN
RaskyAutoDetailing.com

91 comments on How Do I Remove the Car Dealership Stickers, Decals, Badges, or Emblems From My Car?

  1. Brian says:

    Excellent advice!
    I used the fishing line method for the GM decal on my car. Worked without an issue.
    Be sure to tell the dealer not to apply decals, and certainly not to drill a front license plate (unless your state requires it). This is a common request, and any respectable dealership would comply. Don’t sign any papers until they show you the car in the condition you asked for.

    • Glad to hear it worked well for you Brian! :)

      • L Michael says:

        Does anyone know if the Chevy Cruze emblems that say “CRUZE” and “LT/LTZ” are just stuck on or if they have any screws or pins or anything that would not leave a smooth finish upon removal? My dealer thinks its just some form of adhesive, but I’d like to know for sure before I start working on it. Even though its a cheap car, it’s new and I’d like to keep it looking nice. Any DEFINITE answers would be GREATLY appreciate. Speculation won’t really help me, but someone that has done the same thing with a new model Chevy car may be worth a response, as I would think they would use the same techniques. Thank you!

      • Kleyton Cooper says:

        Fastest “no-touch” method” is any common, hand-held “blow dryer” (as in hair dryer – - NEVER a heat-gun which is for paint removal). Just turn to high and warm up the plastic or vinyl; you can heat it pretty well and it won’t damage paint. Logos and stickers lift off. Residue can be cleaned with Windex or WD-40. Leaves no marks and paint is in same condition as when 1st “defaced”!

        I’ve never tried this on common decals, which usually require some solvent and gentle scraping. This method is for anything that has a “sticky back” or was applied with even tough adhesives!!!

        Just don’t forget to return the blower to “her”!

      • Carl Veil says:

        what to use to take decals off golf cart. the bodies are rubber. please email with your answer.

    • Jeremy Banes says:

      Made the mistake of buying a car in a snowstorm and they did drill the front bumper for a license bracket. I had to eventually call Nissan customer service to have the dealership pay to fill and reprint the bumper.
      Definitely go over the car before signing final papers!

  2. Dong says:

    Thanx Chad,
    I have a problem I got a sticker around 4 years old on the paint of my vehicle’s trunk please tell me how can I remove it? with 3M adhesive remover or hair dryer because I cant use dental floss in this case.
    Thank you very much.

    • Hey Dong,

      Yes, the use of a heat gun or hair dryer (or leaving it in the hot sun) should be all you need to help peel it off with ease. Most of them will peel off without leaving behind any adhesive, but if it does simply use the 3M adhesive remover. If it’s a really old sticker the material may be brittle (sun baked) and break into pieces as you pull on it…those ones are never fun and require a lot more time/effort to remove.

      Hope this helps,
      Rasky

  3. Ron Ayotte says:

    There is a Ford dealership in the Colorado Springs area that RIVETS the “free dealership advertsing” onto the vehicles (insert horrified smiley icon here!)

    I recently detailed a farily new Nissan Altima for a client and asked her if she wanted me to remove the decal that the dealership applied (crooked, to boot!). She told me that she would have to ask the dealership if it was okay. I told her it is her car, she did not need dealer permission to remove the sticker.

    • James says:

      You can also tell the dealer that you want it removed before you sign paperework or have them pay you for advertising for them. Stick to it and most of the time they will remove it.

  4. k says:

    Heat plus patience worked a treat! thank you!!!!

  5. rodney says:

    how do you get glue off the roof of a car without stripping the paint

    • Rodney,

      What type of glue are you referring too? This article refers to the removal of emblems, badges, stickers and dealer decals, all of which I’ve never seen on the roof of a car. Some glue’s can be very damaging to automotive paint (Super Glue) and I’d really need to know what I’m dealing with before I can recommend a product/method.

      Rasky

  6. Jim Garvey says:

    Made the error of putting a chrome self-adhesive ‘Sport’ badge, available from Amazon, on my car. Help on how to remove please.

  7. [...] are two great articles on how to remove badges, stickers, etc. http://www.detailedimage.com/Ask-a-P…s-from-my-car/ http://www.detailedimage.com/Ask-a-P…a-vintage-car/ If you have any questions after checking out [...]

  8. PhilBert says:

    Do you know if the product Goof-Off will work as an alternative to the 3M adhesive remover, in the case of a dealer decal that leaves adhesive behind during the removal process? I’ve used it on glass to remove the dealer stickers on the glass but I’m concerned about it attacking the clear coat on the exterior of the vehicle. I can test the product on an out of the way place, but if it doesn’t work for the decal, then why even try it. Thanks in advance….

  9. Carmen says:

    I have been looking for tips on removing things and these worked well for the stickers and decals the previous owner put on the car. I wanted to know what can I use exactly for taking off foam adhesive off the car from where someone placed ‘Wind protectors’? The previous owner took them off but you can still see all the parts of where there were because not everything came off. There is still even some plastic from them.

  10. Pat says:

    I had to remove the badges (Vinyl) from ny Cooper MC40 so that I can put new replacement ones on. I used the 3M Eraser Wheel to remove the 8 year old vinyl. Worked great but now I have the adhesive left. How do I remove that so that I can put the new vinyl down?

  11. Lisa says:

    I absolutely make it a point to request that their advertisement not be added to the back of my car. I refuse to pay THEM to advertise when it should be the other way around. Also, I will not sign a thing until I look at the car and make sure they didn’t sneak it on.

  12. Lynsey says:

    I just bought a brand new car a few days ago. It has the dealerships logo sticker on it and it is HUGE!! Will the hair dryer method work on this?

    • Hey Lynsey,

      A heat gun is ideal but the hair dryer should be helpful as well. You really just want to heat the adhesive up enough to soften it for a clean release. ;)

      Rasky

      • Amanda says:

        I have (just this afternoon) bought a new car (yah me) and the dealership logo sticker is huge. I (have fingernails) however after 1hr of slightly chipping away at it, haven’t removed much of the sticker at all and have no fingernails left… do you think using my hair dryer will help? I don’t have a heat gun, and I don’t want to ruin the glass? thanks muchly

        • Hey Amanda,

          Yes, heating it will definitely help but if it’s on the outside glass you can also use a razor blade scraper. That is an odd place for a dealer logo though.

          • Nick Brown says:

            Your method worked great! I had a car that had the decal logo on the back window once as well. I used the Turtle Wax adhesive remover with a cotton shop towel and just rubbed on it for a few minutes and it came off

  13. Rich says:

    Works like a charm!!
    Used some dental floss and a little goo-gone, and the dealer’s ugly raised plastic name plate was gone in no time. No harm to the car’s finish either. Thanks for a great piece of advice Rasky!

  14. [...] part of the deal.  He didn’t.  It’s fine, I’ll remove it.  I found directions here.  I refuse to leave it on.  It’s one thing for the dealership to put a branded license [...]

  15. Sebastian says:

    I found that using a car wash pressure washer nozzle with high pressure soap setting in close proximity to the dealer decal/sticker will take it off nicely as well , no need for finger nails :)

    • Just keep in mind that using a pressure washer that close to the paint also runs the risk of damaging the paint itself. ;)

      I have seen people use that method that before back in my days of high volume work, and while it did work well for them, I’ve also seen paint peel up when a high pressure washer gets too close to the paint. My professional opinion would be to suggest using a safer method.

      Rasky

  16. Laura says:

    Thank you so much worked Great and now that awful emblem is gone from the back of my car !!!
    I should have researched this sooner I had no idea it would be so easy !!

  17. Watson says:

    Sticker came off easily, but left alittle adhesive. Can I use nail polish, and will it harm the paint?

  18. Darren Roy says:

    Chad what 3m adhesive am i looking for spray or liquid?? do I want to tape of the emblems before?
    Im concerned about the clear coat!?!
    Just bought a new Tacoma and dont want to mess this up…

    thanks

    • I use the liquid myself, never tired the aerosol version.

      http://3mcollision.com/products/cleaners/adhesive/3m-general-purpose-adhesive-cleaner-08984.html

      Sorry, I’m confused as to why you would tape off the emblem that you’re trying to remove? As long as it’s OEM or fully cured aftermarket paint, there should be no issue.

      • Bob says:

        I have a old and cracked college sticker on the inside rear window of a vehicle where the defrost stripes and wires also run across the inside of the rear window. The sticker letters overlap the defrost wires. I realize that I cannot use a razor blade to remove the letters – what recommendations do you have?

        • Hey Bob. Sorry for the delayed reply.

          I’ve actually not had to deal with one of these since I worked high volume back in the 90′s! :)

          Back then we would peel off what we could with our hands/fingers, or use a plastic scraper. For the adhesive you can use the 3M stuff and follow it with a window cleaner. We would also used an ammonia based glass cleaner to soften the glue and #0000 steel wool to help remove it…not really an advised method though as the steel wool has the potential to scratch the glass.

          A steamer would be another option. ;)

          Hope this helps,
          Rasky

  19. Jean says:

    I just purchased a new Toyota Corolla Le and the dealership placed a round eye-catching sticker on the lower left side of my front windshield. It is placed close to the dashboard which makes it very difficult to reach, so I can’t remove it myself. It is so annoying that it has become a distraction. Is the dealership required to remove it upon request?

  20. Polly says:

    I have put chrome letters on my car, they are self-adhesive, what would be the best way of getting this off without making any marks?

  21. L.Russ says:

    Thanks for that info ,I guess dealership here I come to get mine off .

  22. George K. says:

    Wondering how to remove factory decal from F-150, it’s the big one that says 4X4. Any suggestions for this decal? Thanks.

  23. DICK STONE says:

    Mild heat, hair dryer or heat gun on low. Heat an area where you can lift up the decal with a finger nail, continue to heat and lift as you go, it doesn’t take a lot of heat and if you go slow you can peel it off in one piecre per decal. I use alcohol for cleaning the residue. Do not use the Goof Off, or Goo Gone, they do damage the clear coat.

  24. Lisa says:

    Oops…I should’ve read this first…I used a tiny drop of baby oil to remove the sticker. Will it ruin the paint?

  25. Bill Dickie says:

    Great advice! I’m renovating recently purchased riding lawnmower – tricking it out with new chrome wheels, olive green paint with silver metal flake. Even though I’m putting a skin on her, I didn’t want to put any deep scratches in the metal. Your method worked terrific! I have a 3 acre yard and can’t wait to roll out my skinny new tractor all tricked out in the spring. I’ll now be looking forward to cutting the grass so I can show of my renovated 20 horse John Deere comport with flames on the hood, header (zoom-zoom), new yellow seat,, new yellow 52 inch mower deck, chrome grill w/halogen headlights and beer can holder. Only paid 150 for it because of the broken front axle and shot up mower deck. I’ve fixed all the mechanical work bought all the new goodies – the only thing left to do is take off those huge stickers, sand, paint, put my flame decales on and shoot a few coats of clear on it. Viola! For a 1000 bucks I have a kickin new custom tracker.

  26. Anthony says:

    I had an solid metal dealership emblem adhered to a car that I was able to remove not with fishing line or dental floss, but by twisting the emblem left to right. Twisting the emblem broke the remaing double sided tape affixed to the car for the past 24 years. Used Turtle Wax Label and Sticker Remover the remove the remaining tape.

  27. Sal says:

    Just bought a new Ford Explorer. It has the decal from the dealer I have tried to peel it off with my fingernails I noticed that the back of the sticker is metallic. Only been able to peel aroung the corrners. Very difficult!! Help!

  28. John says:

    I have removed a couple vinyl decals 6.1 L HEMI from the hood of my black 06 charger. The decals came off fine and all residue removed. My proble is it has left an outline of the complete decal in my clear coat. It is not paint fade it seems to be an outline of the decal right into the clear. I have tried a clay bar and rubbing compound but it has not even made a small difference it is still their. Is their anything besides wet sanding that I can do. I do not own a dual action buffer so my only alternative it to take it in to have it professionally buffed out. Any ideas before I go spend the money to get the hood buffed, thanks for your time.

    • Hey John,

      Wet sanding will likely be required to remove the line….hard to say without seeing it though. Also keep in mind that the rest of the paint has been exposed to the suns UV rays for 6+ years…it may not be faded but there may still be a slight color difference.

  29. aidan says:

    i have removed badges off my octavia but dun it wrong and left most adhesive on how do i remove

  30. Jared says:

    Got my dealer decal off in less than ten minutes; thanks!

    I think I lucked out- mine was new enough so the adhesive didn’t have a chance to cure in the vehicle. I was able to remove the letters and adhesive with a hair dryer and a wet rag. Didn’t even need any chemicals.

  31. Seth says:

    Rusky,

    I just bought a new Scion FR-S. The color is a dark gray flake type named “Asphalt”. When the car is dusty, I notice some gathering along the edges of what appears to be an outline of protective strips that may have been used for transporting the car? They are primarily on the roof, and on the top-rear areas above the fenders on the car. Should this have been something that was buffed out by the dealership? They did wash/detail it before I drove it off the lot, but I can still see the rectangular outlines up close. Should I try buffing out the outlines myself or contact the dealer? I would hate to have to return the car, as I truly love, it, but I’m becoming more worried as the lines haven’t diminished over multiple hand-washes. Thanks in advance for any advice you can provide.

    Seth

    • Hey Seth,

      Your assumption of the protective wrap sounds correct. There will often be some adhesive residue left behind on the edges of the wrap and It’s pretty common for the dealers prep department to miss some. If there is any visible residue left on your car it will come off with the adhesive remover. Otherwise a light polish will take care of any “hard lines” that you may be seeing when the car is dusty.

      I’d also recommend going over the car with some IronX and a light claying prior to polishing…you’d be surprised just how much stuff is on new cars! ;)

      Definitely don’t take it back to the dealer though as they’ll only make things worse. If you have any other questions please feel free to shoot me an email.

      Rasky

  32. shannon says:

    Hi,
    Used Skin So Soft bath oil spray to remove new car sticker adhesive from the glove box. Worked fine.

  33. Eileen says:

    What I love is that I purchased a brand new Honda and Jeffrey Honda gave me the car in a very dirty condition with Jeffrey stickers on the window and an old pitted corroded license plate cover with their advertising on it.
    Does anyone know what type of double sticky tape they are referring to to prevent license plate (minus corroded cover) from hitting the paint?

  34. Lew Istead says:

    Do you have any suggestion on how to remove metal letters with foam back tape that are on the trunk lid stripes of my ford shelby without damaging the stripe .

  35. James says:

    I had not seen this before, but the dealer placed their website at the top of my back window! How annoying … Razor blade took care of it. If they payed me a monthly fee, I would have been happy to leave it on.

  36. Nate says:

    Just bought a car with a few of those fake bullet hole stickers placed on the back of the car. Any suggestions for this type of sticker? Will the same method work?

  37. Dealer Badge says:

    [...] How Do I Remove the Car Dealership Stickers, Decals, Badges, or Emblems From My Car? ? Detailed Imag… Reply With Quote [...]

    • Pitbullpete says:

      Will the dental floss/3m method work on the door moldings (raised strips on the doors)? FYI my dealer sticker came off like a breeze, thanks! Working on the small emblems today.

  38. Dan says:

    I’ve used WD40 and a cotton rag or cloth shop towel to remove the glue, and it does great no streaks, residue or anything!!!!

  39. Eric says:

    I got lucky. Each letter was a small decal on my car. It’s a fairly warm day out so I just stick my fingernail under each letter and pulled it off. Wiped the area with a clean rag and you can’t tell they were ever there. Thanks for the advice!

  40. Robert says:

    Chad,may I say thank you so very much.I like a lot of people a who has bought a used car detest the car dealers decal messing up the flow of a cars profile,IMHO the decals make the car look tacky.

    “Man’s mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions.
    Oliver Wendell Holmes (1809 – 1894)” Thanks Again.

    Peanut Butter who would have thought. CHAD!! :=)

  41. Walter says:

    What i want to do is remove the Pontiac badge and the G8 badge. After, I will place the G8 badge in the center of truck, where Pontiac is currently located. Thoughts?

    Thanks

  42. Debra says:

    What is the decal has been there for several years? Buying an 07 Altima that has the original dealers sticker on it. Actually its not really a sticker but individual letters. Is there any hope?

  43. larry k says:

    To remove a decal (not an emblem) I used good old mayonnaise. Slather it on, let stand 5-10 minutes, and then you can peel off the decal. Might not come off in one piece, but then just repeat on stickier areas.

  44. Michelle says:

    Hi! I recently purchased a 2006 Miata. The problem is that the previous owner covered the whole car in decal stickers to make it look like a ladybug. The dealership removed the stickers, like I requested but now there are polka dots where the stickers were on the paint. It seems that when the stickers were removed, that they took a layer of clear coat with them. My husband is talking about using rubbing compound or polishing compound. I have a couple of days to return it, but I would like to keep the car. It is a lot of fun. Please let me know, if this is the right approach. Thanks.

    • Hey Michelle,

      It’s hard to say for sure without seeing the car and knowing how long the decals were on the paint. My guess would be that the paint under the decals was not exposed to all the UV rays from the sun over the years and it hasn’t faded like the exposed paint on the rest of the car. It’s also likely that there are less swirls under the decals, giving them a different appearance. I would suggest talking to the dealership about bringing the car to a REPUTABLE detailer and have it looked at to determine if it can be fixed or if it will require a repaint. Feel free to email me with more questions or help finding a reputable detailer in your area.

      Raskyr1@gmail.com

  45. Jim says:

    I just bought a new car and completely over looked the dealer logo on the tail gate. I can’t seem to remove it. I applied heat with a hair dryer but was unable to get anywhere with the removal. The logo is the dealer name in very hard metallized chrome looking adhesive letters. It almost looks like there is clearcoat over them because it is impossible to find an edge however small to start peeling. They are nearly flush with the painted surface. Thanks.

  46. elcon gaunce says:

    I have a 1996 Geo Tracker that has factory lables on it, I want to remove and reuse them because some of them cannot be bought new! I would like any comment you may have. Thank you very much!

  47. Kitty says:

    I purhased a used vehicle and it has a university decal “raised” plastic logo…how do I remove it? Thanks

  48. Lisa Jones says:

    Very helpful information. I’m not sure if this has been mentioned or not, but I’ve never had a car dealer turn me down on my request to have them remove it before pulling off the lot. I’ve always asked them if they can remove it and they always have. Next time (when purchasing from a dealership) just ask them to do it.

  49. Tomis says:

    I just bought a car which previous owner used it for a business. On the rear side, above the fenders the past owner had a vinyl cut logo deckled right on the top of the car’s body paint. He took it off nicely without any marks, but now I can see a ghosting effect on the clear coat itself. Chad, is there a way to get that off somehow? Thank you very much!

  50. RYAN says:

    Zippo fluid is the best adhesive remover I’ve ever used and it won’t damage paint.

  51. David says:

    I’ve got a decal, you know the kind that’s all one piece and not the plastic with adhesive stuck to it, which I cannot get off. I’ve used goo gone and a heat gun. All I’ve done is make a mess. Trying to get it off after using goo gone and the heat gun, I scrape with my finger nail and removes tiny pieces after 30 minutes of trying.

    Any idea what else I can do? Please help!!

  52. Ugh, it’s always such a big pain in the butt when you get stuck with those stupid advertisements on your car and you’re forced into driving around and showing off their name. Thanks for the tips

  53. Iskren says:

    Just bought 2013 VW CC the car has stripes on both side,wich I don’t like a bit ,bought 3M wheel stripe removal try it last night not a chance,what do I do ?????

  54. Peggy says:

    I have a 2008 H3 HUMMER and it has a dealer or factory decal on the bottom of the doors. They are cut out and say-HUMMER in black letters-my H3 is silver in color. I have read about using a hair dryer and so on but-this is a expensive vehicle-it has only 18,000 miles and I do not want to damage the paint. Would you advise that I take it to the dealer for removal or can this hair dryer method work on this type of decal?

  55. Joe says:

    Turtle wax sells a product called “label and sticker remover” that comes in an aerosol can. It’s safe on vehicle paint. After struggling for 45 minutes with warm soapy water to remove all the glue from the dealership sticker, I went to autozone and this product took it off in about 15 seconds.

  56. Joe says:

    …however as mentioned in an earlier post I can now see a ghosting effect in the clear coat where the sticker used to be. Could a regular car polish or wax take care of this? How about a scratch removal paste?

  57. Nick says:

    I just bought a new Ford Fiesta and it came with the safety warning sticker on the driver side window. Like an idiot, I just peeled it off and now the adhesive that was underneath is sticking to the felt strip on the door sill and has messed that all up. Any ideas of how I could get the felt/rubber strip to line up correctly after I get the adhesive off?

  58. […] worked with their Dads or their buddies on lots of projects, and figuring out how to get a stubborn sticker off a car or pickup just isn’t problem. It’s not that the Aston-Martin guy can’t get the […]

  59. Edna says:

    I have a brand new Fiat, and my husband put another emblem or decal to the car..it’s good thing I click this web it helps by using a dental floss..and I guess he just put that just a couple of days and I just notice it yesterday because we are showing the car to a friend..it’s so easy to remove..thank you!

  60. dirk says:

    i was wondering hot to get extremely thick glue from my 2013 mustang racing stripes that were on there I have used googone and a few other items on this it seems to be working a little but taking me hourse just to do a very small space at the rate im going it might take me a month to do any help would be awsome

  61. Denise says:

    Hi,I applied a chrome emblem with foam backing to my car and one of them is crooked ,I just want to move the last couple of letters ,will it need more adhesive and it is all one word connected

  62. Luke says:

    If you have a dark colored car like mine and it’s warm out, just park it where the decal will be exposed to sun. It should heat the decal and your body enough to soften the glue and peel right off depending on what kind it is. All I did after that is take cold water and a rag and rub the glue off. The cold water will stiffen it some and it bunches up in little rolls as you wipe.

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