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

Is it worth it to stick it?

My husband and I recently purchased a 2003 Saab 9-3 for our 2 teenagers to drive. The car officially belongs to my husband and myself, but the kids are the primary drivers and contribute $ for gas, cleaning, & insurance. Here’s the question - My daughter wishes to put a bumper sticker on the car (something about sharing the road w/bikes) and I’m fine with it. However my husband says absolutely no. His reason - it will reduce the resale value of the car, due to the fact that someday when we remove the sticker, residue will be left, reducing its value. Thoughts?

The residue will probably clean up, but the paint underneath will be a different color, which can’t easily be fixed.

If this car will be in your family for several years, the $$ impact will be about zero, and that’s assuming it doesn’t get totalled first! Hubby needs to lighten up a bit. We’re not talking about a Ferrari here…

Why not do what I do on the rare occasions when I want to display a bumper sticker:

Tape it inside the car’s rear window.

If you are careful to avoid the electric defroster wires on the glass, there is really no downside to taping a sticker on the inner surface of the glass. The tape is readily removable, and any residue can be removed with Windex.

I put my stickers on the rear window. They come off easily with just a razor blade and a bit of pulling.

NOTE: only put them on the outside of the glass so you don’t damage the rear defogger.

While it avoids damaging paint, I’m not a fan of putting a bumper sticker on the rear window, inside or outside. New drivers need all the visibility they can get!

…and the policeman likes to see what they are up to while he is writing the ticket.

I say put the sticker on the bumper and tell hubby to relax a little. After all, the kids are contributing financially. This car belongs to them too.

They now make products for removing labels and stickers so the residue comes with them. I think one of them is called “goo gone.”

Here is a list of bumper sticker removal techniques: http://www.ehow.com/how_13376_remove-bumper-stickers.html

How do you deal with someone who actually believes that bumper sticker residue affects the cars resale value?

I can only wonder what your daughter thinks when dad explained his reasoning. You lose credibility with your children when you do these type of things.

Be upfront and tell them the real reason you don’t want a bumper sticker,unless you really believe what you are saying,in that case there is no hope.

The residue cleans off easily. A bumper sticker won’t affect the value of the car.

Resale value? By the time the kids are done there won’t be enough resale value left to worry about. It’s already six years old. Hubby needs to reevaluate the situation.

In my case there’s plenty of room on the edges without obstructing the view, but I understand your point. The view should not be obstructed.

I have my United States Air Force sticker, a “My son is in the US Navy” sticker, a “Seabees” sticker (he’s a Seabee), a Vietnam Service Ribbon, and an American flag…and it STILL isn’t obstructed. It has a wide black band (the manufacturer’s bonding zone) that’s plenty sufficient.

How about a magnetic vinyl sticker for the trunk. Personally, nothing makes me cringe more than seeing a nice car plastered with crookedly applied bumper stickers, but that just me.

I have a small magnetic sticker for my daughter’s field hockey team that can be easily removed for cleaning.

Ed B.

A couple of years ago our daughter asked if she and her high school field hockey team friends could “decorate” our minivan. The decorating involved lots of washable paint, writing in chalk, and things taped all over it. They wanted to drive to their “school spirit day” activities in fashion.

Given the fun and memories she got from doing it, there is no way I could or would ever say no to something like that.

Supporting your daughter’s ideas will pay you far more dividends than a 4000 pound hunk of steel ever will.

My guess is that your husband simply doesn’t want a sticker on one of his cars and the residue issue is an excuse. I also don’t like to have stickers on my cars and can understand his position. If the sticker is that important, then I think it’s time for a family discussion.

"How about a magnetic vinyl sticker for the trunk. "

They are problems also as the paint under the sticker will not fade along with the rest of the car.