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Decals on the body of a car

My brother in law was in a wheel chair and on his car he put Wheelchair decals all over it. Now we are wanting to sell the car and would like to know if there is a safe and easy way to get the decals off the body with out taking the paint off with it. The stickers have been on the car for about 10 years.

Goof off seems good, guess there is not a nixon bumper sticker, I would remove it for free.

Ah my good ole Commander in Chief. Thought he was going to kill us all.

I would try the Goof Off on the paint somewhere it doesn’t show just to make sure its ok. Other people swear by WD-40. You can also check with the local auto parts stores that have paint supplies like NAPA for actual decal remover. Might be a little pricey though.

Warm them up with a blow-dryer (hair dryer) and they usually peel off. Stubborn ones may require a heat gun, but be careful so you don’t damage the paint… The idea is to soften the adhesive not blister the paint…

I have used Goo Gone with great success. It’s not as messy as WD-40 which will work also. I’ve also used a hair dryer but you are still left with the sticky mess that Goo Gone will clean up quickly. Lighter fluid will also work but be careful with it.

I wonder how one of those little hand held steam cleaners would work? I think Bissell makes one and so does the Shark vacuum cleaner line if I am not mistaken. Goo Gone gets a big thumbs up. I use it to get labels off the bottles I keep my home made wine in. Works like a charm.

I use London’s home made wine to get labels off. Works like a charm.


A heat gun when carefully controlled does a good job. Be very careful to not overheat it, though. Don’t hold it on one spot long - maybe a second or so and then stop heating it. Heat an edge of the sticker without heating the actual paint to see if you can get it lifted and carefully head what doesn’t want to come loose.

The heat gun is the way to go. The only down side is that you sill see were the sticker was. A good buffing and wax job may help.

Heat guns put out A LOT of heat. That can bubble your paint. Also, you probably don’t own one. I’ve never failed to get a sticker off with an ordinary hair dryer. They have enough temp to soften the glue so you can peel the sticker, but they won’t hurt the paint. Besides, most any lady friend has one you can borrow if you don’t have one of your own. Follow up with Goo Gone, found in the paint clean up aisle of your friendly local Wal*Mart. Goo Gone and Goof Off have a hard time working through plastic sticker material to get to the glue.

10 year old stickers may be a bit of a challenge in any case. If the plastic has gotten brittle, it may come off in small pieces.

I once watched an expert remove an old decal. He had one key principle: pull VERY VERY SLOWLY. The idea being that the material you are pulling is thin and old and has limited strength. If you pull quickly, you are attempting to overcome adhesion over a relatively larger area which will require more force, and the decal will break, making the job much more tedious. But if you go slow, you minimize the amount of adhesion which you are breaking in a unit of time, so you can control your pull to not exceed the strength of the decal. Even though you don’t care about saving the decal, I think in the long run it will be easier to remove if it stays in one piece, no matter what you do to loosen it as suggested above.

This part is off topic: The guy I was watching wanted the decal. It was on a car windshield and had historical value for him. The decal was an employee vehicle pass for entry into Yosemite National Park, and evidently mine was a rare one.

When you remove those decals from the body after 10 years, the paint under those decals isn’t going to match the paint that surrounds the decals that sat in the sun for 10 years.


Goo Gone makes a bug and tar remover that will also take adhesives off without hurting the paint. But Tester is correct. The paint under the decals will not match the rest of the car due to fading. I have immediately removed any decal from the dealership when I buy a car as well.