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How To Remove Car Decals Without Damaging Paint

Did you want to make your car look cooler or more personalized and you bought some car decals but now you regret it? Or maybe they got old and you want to remove them but you are afraid you will damage the paint of your car? Do not worry because this is the right article for you. We will be explaining shortly how to remove car decal without damaging paint.

See also:How To Remove Sticker From Car Window Without Damage​​​

One thing is for sure car decals make your car very appealing and make a statement, funny or strong. You can use them to support someone or something or to advertise yourself or your business. However, you cannot use them forever and you might need to take them off. This can be rather difficult or better say hard to do right without damaging the paint of your car, but not impossible. Here are some ways to help you remove car decal (using every-day products) without damaging paint and still have your car look as brand new:

Apply Them Right

You will eventually need to remove the car decals from your car so the first step is to apply them in the right way so it will be easier to remove them at the end. Follow the next steps for this process:

  • Make sure to clean very good the part where you will be applying the car decal. This will make it easier for you to apply the decal and for it to stay clean and not get old very quick. Soap and/or rubbing alcohol is advised to be used.
  • Choose the location carefully. Do not apply the car decal right away as you might not like it and then you will cause plenty of work to yourself. Use tape to check it out first. If you like how it looks then put the car decals.
  • Make sure that you do not break the decal or its adhesive by peeling the back very carefully without touching it so it will remain clean.
  • Be precise when putting the decal so you will not have to remove it many times.

If you follow these steps your car decal will be applied very well and it will be easier for you to remove it when you need to.

Avoid Sharp, Pointed, Hard Objects

The easiest way for you to remove car decals and damage your car’s paint at the same time is by using objects that are very sharp or pointed or hard. Such objects are blades or screwdrivers for example. They would definitely remove the car decal but the paint would be tremendously damaged as you would scratch your car while taking the decal off.

Do Not Use Gas/ Nail Polish Remover

Other things that you should definitely avoid when you are trying to remove car decals and want to save the paint of your car are nail polish removers and of course gas. These will help you take the decals off very easy as the adhesives would be immediately softened, however, they are usually used to bleach or remove paint. They can highly damage the paint of your car which will not look pretty.

Hair Dryer

One everyday object that you could use is a hair dryer. Most of the people own one so it would not be that difficult since you have it sitting around and know how to use it, just use it for a different reason. However, if your car is very new then do not use a hair dryer because the paint is very delicate.

If you have an older car then the hair dryer is very helpful. The hair dryer warms the adhesive of the car decals by thus softening them. This will allow you to take the decal off easily.

Make sure that you are not using a very high temperature as that could damage the paint of the car. Use a temperature that is less than 200 F. Otherwise, you will ruin the car’s paint while you peel the decal off. Keep the hair dryer at arm’s length.

Get Some Margarine Out of the Fridge

Another everyday product that will help you remove car decals without damaging the paint is margarine. For it to work you need to firstly peel the sticker off because margarine will only clean the adhesive that is left on the paint.

Just spread it all over the part where there is still adhesive left. Allow the adhesive to absorb the margarine for some minutes before rubbing it off. You can use a rag or whatever soft cloth you use to wash your car to wipe the margarine. Make sure that you use a very soft cloth to avoid damaging the paint as much as possible.

Usual Detergents

You could even use different detergents you use to clean your stove or your kitchen in general for example. You could even use a shampoo or conditioner as they usually can remove the car decals. Take a bucket and put water mixed with a shampoo, conditioner, or a detergent and apply it to the decal you want to remove.

Use a very soft sponge or a rag to spread the mixture around the decal. This softens the car decal and helps you remove it. However, do not use strong detergents, such as those which contain vinegar. They are very strong and they can remove most of the stains and also the car paint and your car in general.


You can also use solvents but be careful and read the labels. You might end up buying solvents that are not advised to be used on paint as they can damage it. Even you purchase a solvent that is labeled as suitable to use on paint without damaging it try it first. Try it in a not-so-visible-part of the car to see if it ruins the paint or not. If it does not than you are safe to use it over the decal and remove it this way. Keep applying the solvent until you have all of the decal and adhesive removed.WD40 could be a good one to use.

It might happen that even if you remove the car decal perfectly without damaging the paint for the area where the decals have been to look different than the other parts of the car. This might happen because the decals have been old so the paint was a little damaged and it is not the way you removed the decals that caused it. Also, the decals have protected the areas from the sun for example and the paint is newer than in the other parts. You do not need to worry and paint your car as a simple wax would do the work.