How to Remove a Dealer Sticker From Your Car

Many new car owners wonder how to remove a dealer sticker from their cars. Luckily, I have a step-by-step guide, including the kinds of stickers that exist and the right tools to use. You’ll also learn how to remove the sticker without damaging the paint. By following these steps, removing dealership decals will be effortless.

Are you looking to remove a dealer sticker from your car? To help, I’ve put together this guide outlining how to remove them safely and effectively. While you’re here, check out guides on changing a tail light and the differences between summer and winter tires.

Why Would You Remove a Dealer Sticker From a Car?

The first step in removing a dealer sticker is to determine why you want it removed. Aesthetic reasons are usually the main cause, but other reasons, like wanting to customize the look of your car or simply wanting cleaner lines, can play a role as well. 

There are a few reasons why someone might remove a dealer sticker from a car. Maybe the person bought a used car and doesn’t want to advertise the fact. Maybe they’re selling it and want it to look nicer. Or maybe the person just doesn’t like the sticker and wants to get rid of it. 

Whatever the reason, removing a dealer sticker can be tricky. It’s important to take the proper precautions and use the right techniques to ensure that no damage comes to the paint or finish of your car.

A Route 66 sticker on a car window
Some stickers are proudly driven around, and some are made to be removed – like the dealership ones

Different Types of Stickers

Before I get into the removal process, it’s important to understand the different types of dealer stickers that exist out there. There are three common types of stickers: window decals, bumper stickers, and paper stickers. Each requires a different removal method.

Window Decals

The most common is a window decal, designed to be affixed to the outside of your car’s window. They’re usually made from vinyl and can range in size from a few inches to a few feet. Most window decals can be removed relatively easily; however, some may require a razor blade or other sharp object to get started.

Bumper Stickers

Another common type of dealer sticker is a bumper sticker. These are smaller than window decals and designed to be affixed to the rear bumper of your car. 

Bumper stickers are also usually made from vinyl and can be removed using many of the same methods as window decals. However, because they’re often placed in hard-to-reach places, they can be more difficult to remove.

Paper Stickers

Finally, some dealerships may also affix paper stickers to your car’s doors or windows. These types of stickers are usually not as durable as vinyl stickers and can be more difficult to remove without causing damage. If you have a paper sticker on your car, you may want to take it to a professional detailer who can help you remove it without causing damage.

The Methods For When You Want to Remove a Dealership Decal

There are two main methods for removing dealer stickers: chemical and manual. Chemical removal is considered the most effective as it breaks down the adhesive bond between the sticker and the car surface. However, it’s important to use the right chemicals, as some can damage your paint if unused correctly.

The most common chemical used for sticker removal is rubbing alcohol. If you apply rubbing alcohol to a clean cloth and rub it over the sticker until it loosens, you’re good. Of course, you may need to do this a few times before it all comes off. Once the sticker is gone, wash your car with soap and water to remove residual rubbing alcohol.

If you prefer not to use chemicals, you can also try manually removing your dealer sticker. This method requires a little more patience, but it’s doable. Start by heating the sticker with a hair dryer or heat gun.

Then, use a putty knife, credit card, or anything with a sharp edge (but not metal) to slowly peel back one corner of the sticker. Continue heating and peeling until the entire sticker is removed. Finally, use soapy water or rubbing alcohol to clean off any residue.

A person off-screen cleaning their car with a cloth
Rub stickers with rubbing alcohol and use water to rinse the adhesive

The Tools Used to Successfully Remove Dealer Decals

The first step in removing a dealer sticker is gathering the right supplies. You’ll need a few basic household items, including:

  • A hairdryer – The heat from the hairdryer will help loosen the adhesive on the back of the sticker, making it easier to remove.
  • A putty knife or razor blade – You’ll use this tool to scrape the sticker off of your car. Be careful not to scratch your paint!
  • Soap and water – This is for cleaning up any residue left behind by the sticker.
  • Tape – This is optional, but if you’re worried about damaging your paint, you can put tape around the sticker edges before heating it. That way, even if you accidentally scratch your paint, the tape will catch any flakes, so they don’t end up on your paint job.

For some alternative methods, use a citrus-based cleaner to help break down the adhesive, or try a commercial adhesive remover. If you’re dealing with a textured surface, use a razor blade to carefully scrape away the sticker residue.

A white sticker of a van saying Im not old, Im CLASSIC
Vinyl stickers are the most common kind used on car windows

For tougher stickers, try using steam from an iron or boiling water to loosen the adhesive; other solutions include rubbing alcohol or a nail polish remover that breaks down the glue and makes it easier to remove.

You could also apply some cooking oil to the sticker residue and let it sit for 15 minutes before wiping it off with a clean cloth. Always test these methods on an inconspicuous area of your surface before applying them directly onto the sticker.

An unknown person holding a soaped-up sponge
You can use a sponge to rinse any unwanted cleaning solutions afterward

A Step-By-Step Guide on How to Remove a Dealer Sticker From a Car

Now that we’ve covered the different types of dealer stickers that exist, let’s talk about how to remove them. The following steps will walk you through removing both window decals and bumper stickers.

Firstly, Heat the Sticker 

The first step is to heat the sticker with a hair dryer. You want to hold the hair dryer about six inches away from the sticker and move it around so that the entire sticker is heated up. This will help loosen up the adhesive holding the sticker in place.

Hair dryers are also excellent when cleaning seat belts and polishing the steering wheel. You could also try using a heat gun, but it’s not an everyday household tool; you might be better off with a hairdryer.

Use the Putty Knife to Lift an Edge of the Sticker 

Once the adhesive is nice and warm, use your putty knife or similar object to lift an edge of the sticker away from the window. 

Be careful not to use too much force—you don’t want to end up scratching your car’s paint job. Just apply enough pressure to loosen up the adhesive and lift an edge of the sticker.

A putty knife is great for removing stickers from any car, from off-road vehicles to city-based ones, and cars great for women and men.

Continue Peeling Off The Sticker Until You See It Coming Off

Now that you’ve lifted an edge of the sticker, continue peeling it off in one smooth motion. However, we all know stickers are fickle and annoying and don’t always go down like that.

If any parts of the sticker are giving you trouble, just apply more heat with the hair dryer until they loosen up. Continue peeling until all the stickers have been removed from your car’s window. The heat will work nine times out of ten.

Clean Up Adhesive Residue Stuck on the Car

You know how, even after removing the biggest part of the sticker, there is always some adhesive residue left behind? That could also happen to your car window. To remove this residue, spray a car cleaner of choice generously and wipe it away with a clean rag.

Don’t forget to clean any other areas of your car that might have gotten sticky during this process; while you’re at it, why not check your spark plugs and the car thermostat? Whatever you do, just be careful not to damage your car’s paint job in the process. 

A person off-screen wiping a car window with a rag
Soap and water usually remove adhesives well enough from most surfaces

Essential Tips and Tricks for Removing Dealer Decal From a Car

Finally, there are extra tips for successful removal to keep in mind. Although I feel I’ve given you enough information in the tool section above, you should always be careful about handling things around your car when you’re not an expert.

I can’t say if you are, but I know I’m not. I learned these things from scratch and can tell you this much – it wasn’t difficult. Engaging in common sense and asking for help whenever and wherever necessary are also integral to successfully fixing your vehicle.

Without further ado, here are a few tips to help make removing your dealer sticker easier: 

  • Work slowly and carefully when using the razor blade or scraper, as too much pressure could result in scratches on your car’s bodywork,
  • Remember to thoroughly wash off any chemical cleaners after use, as they can damage your vehicle’s finish over time,
  • Use warm water to remove your sticker – the heat will help loosen the adhesive backing and make removal easier,
  • If you’re having trouble getting started, try using a razor blade to gently score along the edge of the sticker before peeling it away. Just be careful not to ruin your paint in the process,
  • If you find that the adhesive residue is difficult to remove, you can try using Goo Gone or another type of adhesive remover, like an alcohol-based cleaner such as WD-40,
  • If you heat the area around the sticker for too long, it could damage the paint on your car. To avoid this, only heat the area for 30 seconds at a time and then take a break before heating up again,
  • You can also try using a putty knife instead of a razor blade to remove the sticker. Just be careful not to scratch your car’s paint job,
  • If all else fails, take your car to a professional detailer who can help you remove your sticker without damaging anything.

When You Learn How to Remove a Dealership Sticker, You’ll Save Money and Time

It’s relatively easy to learn how to remove a dealer decal from a car – in most cases, you can do it without damaging your paint job. However, you should know a few things before starting, including what kind of stickers exist and what tools you’ll need for removal. 

With this information in mind, follow the steps outlined above, and you’ll have that pesky sticker off in no time and will be able to share the knowledge of how to remove a dealership decal. You’ll be free to take the car for a spin, not just drive at night or hide by disabling the GPS.