You’ve just purchased a used car and the previous owner had decorated the rear bumper and trunk lid with not one, not two, but a half-dozen bumper stickers. Those stickers are unsightly and, moreover, they don’t reflect your viewpoint on life. So removing these stickers from your new car is a top priority.
Here’s what to do when they’re affixed to the bumper, on the glass or in the car.
How to Remove Them
If you’re lucky, removing stickers from your car will be an easy process. Simply start peeling back a corner until the bumper sticker begins to detach. Work on all four corners and you may have that sticker off within minutes.
Unfortunately, not all bumper stickers will be so easy to remove. The ravages of sun, air, dirt and even time can mean that progress is virtually impossible without utilizing one or more alternative methods.
One common way to remove bumper stickers is to use a hair dryer. Set it on a “high” setting and slowly move it back and forth across the sticker. The heat should loosen the sticker for quick removal.
Another option is to boil water and apply it directly to the sticker. Wait at least one minute to allow the water to penetrate, then begin peeling the sticker off the car.
Vinegar is another method and is preferable, especially if you don’t want to deal with hot liquid. Here, you will either spray vinegar directly on the bumper sticker or soak a cloth in vinegar and apply that directly. Wait five minutes and the sticker should be ready for removal.
Stickers on Glass
A sticker affixed to glass, such as your back windshield or windows, will require a different approach. One of the easiest ways to attempt removing stickers from your car’s glass is to brush or spray cooking oil on the sticker and leave it in place for one or two hours. Once the oil has had time to penetrate, then the sticker should peel right off.
You might also use a box cutter or a razor to remove leftover residue, but always be careful not to scratch the glass.
The Car’s Interior
But what if the sticker is affixed to the dashboard or is on the glove box? Some people sure put stickers in strange places! Removing stickers from your car’s interior can pose a significant challenge.
In most cases, the dashboard is composed of plastic, rubber or some other non-leather material. You will want to be extra careful here as the wrong solution could damage or discolor the surface. A soapy mixture of water and dish detergent left on the sticker may be sufficient. Make sure you allow it plenty of time to penetrate before peeling and removing.
As for leather, be very careful here. What you cannot peel away with your fingers may come free with the detergent mixture instead. Once the residue has been removed, liberally apply leather conditioner to the affected area.
Once the bumper stickers are removed, it’s an ideal time to wash your car and seal the surface with car polish. Then, wipe the glass with a glass cleaner before turning your attention to the interior. When you’re done, your car will no longer look like the rolling advertisement or political statement it once was.
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Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Matt Keegan has maintained his love for cars ever since his father taught him kicking tires can be one way to uncover a problem with a vehicle’s suspension system. He since moved on to learn a few things about coefficient of drag, G-forces, toe-heel shifting, and how to work the crazy infotainment system in some random weekly driver. Matt is a member of the Washington Automotive Press Association and is a contributor to various print and online media sources.