CarTalk.com Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

How do I remove a college decal?

My son’s 2004 Neon has a college decal on the inside rear windshield over the defogger. I tried to take it off but it’s falling apart. I went to an auto parts store to buy a decal remover and they told me that it might ruin the defogger, but they weren’t sure. Is there a way to get this off without using a razor (my hands aren’t that steady) that won’t ruin the defogger?.

Thank you!

Try GooGone. Or Goo B Gone, or whatever it’s callled. And work carefully if it is stuck on over the rear defroster lines.

I’d agree with mountainbike. I’d just add that since the goo gone works gently (which is why you want it) it often takes a while. Be patient. Wet the decal down and leave it to work while keeping it wet. If you’re patient enough and just keep it soaking, eventually you’d probably be able to just wipe it right off with a paper towel. Then I’d take some rubbing alcohol or basic window cleaner to it.

No matter what you do, there’s a good chance you’ll damage the defroster wires. If you do, although I’ve never tried them myself, I’ve heard good things about those repair kits that let you paint wires back in place.

For future reference, a decal over the wires is a bad idea. We’ve had posts here before about decals catching on fire when the defroster is turned on.

You might try applying the Goo Gone, then cover it up with some saran wrap to keep it wet while it’s soaking.

If you use a solvent, it is likely to unglue the defogger as well. I’d just leave it there. If you must take it off, have someone with a steady hand, like your son, scrape it off with a razor. You could put some tape over the defogger wires so that you have to cut through it, to, before the wires are cut.

Thank you all. Does anyone know for a fact if Goo Gone or other solvents like it will ruin the defogger.

I really appreciate the input!

Goo Gone shouldn’t. But I do not know that for a fact. As for other solvents, I’m sure many would harm it.

Here’s one other idea, however. If the decal is paper-ish, use a wet paper towel & plastic wrap over it to dissolve the decal part with water. Once that can be wiped off, spray some electronics cleaner (hardware, electronics, auto parts stores) on a rag and wipe on the adhesive until that is also gone.

Water and electronics cleaner will not harm it - though constant running might, so just keep that to a minimum.

Another thing for your friend with a steady hand: Use a razor and cut a crosshatch pattern on the decal, but not closer than about 3/8-inch from the wires of the defogger. That will allow the solvent to get to the glue faster.

Hit it with a hair drier, on low or medium. It should loosen up enough as you do to peel it off.

If it was a water based decal (you soak the sheet it’s on in water, then slide it off onto the glass) then just keep it wet for an hour and it should lift off easily…If it’s the self-adhesive type where you peel of a backing and stick it on like a bumper sticker, then careful application of a heat-gun will soften the adhesive and it will peel off…Start at a corner and slowly work your way across the glass…NOW try goo-gone to remove the adhesive from the glass…

A hair dryer has always worked for me.

If it was water based, ammonia will help and should not damage the wires. As noted by others, sealing it under soaked paper towels and plastic wrap to keep it wet for a while will help. Your car will not smell very good for a while.

For non-water based, heat from the sun and a heat gun (hair drier if you don’t have anything more powerful) will help.

The safest solvent for removing sticky things is WD-40. Goo-Gone scares me a little. I have seen that stuff dissolve plastic.