how to remove dealer sticker from car

How To Remove Dealer Sticker From Car

Getting That Dealer Decal Off Your New Car

When you buy a new car from a dealership, chances are it will arrive covered in various decals and stickers advertising the dealer. While some buyers don’t mind keeping the dealer sticker on, others find them unsightly or simply want to customize their car. Removing these dealer stickers can be a tedious process if you don’t know the right techniques. Follow this guide to successfully get rid of that dealer decal without damaging your car’s paint.

  • Dealership decals are designed to adhere tightly, so removing them takes some finesse
  • Using the proper methods and tools prevents damage to the car’s exterior
  • With care and patience, you can eliminate the dealer stickers and restore your car’s look

Start by assembling the necessary removal supplies:

  • Plastic putty knife or plastic razor blades to avoid scratching
  • Heat gun or hair dryer to soften sticker adhesive
  • Goo Gone or adhesive remover formulated for automotive use
  • Soft, lint-free cloths and paper towels
  • Baby shampoo and water in a spray bottle
  • Clay bar system for any leftover adhesive

Next, get set up:

  • Park car in shade to prevent sticker residue from baking on
  • Protect the ground to catch fallen decal pieces
  • Have a step stool or ladder to reach roof decals
  • Work when temperatures are moderate, avoiding cold or hot extremes

Now examine the decals and determine which removal method to start with:

  • Peel off what you can gently with your hands first
  • Try fishing line behind edges of the sticker to slice through adhesive
  • Heat larger decals with a heat gun as you slowly peel
  • Use plastic blade to chip off pieces little by little

As you remove sections of the decal, spray adhesive remover:

  • Apply adhesive remover liberally behind sticker to lubricate
  • Let it sit for 1-2 minutes before wiping with cloth
  • Repeat until entire decal and residue are gone
  • Rinse area thoroughly with water afterward

For any remaining sticky residue, reach for these cleaning techniques:

  • WD-40 dissolves residue well when allowed to penetrate
  • Rub gently with clay bar to lift off stubborn adhesive
  • Wipe with baby shampoo solution using soft circular motions
  • Avoid abrasive pads or scrubbing that could mar the paint

Finally, inspect closely and touch up paint if needed:

  • Check for any remaining decal fragments and remove them
  • Examine the area for scratches or swirl marks in the paint
  • Use touch up paint on any blemishes left behind
  • Wax or seal paint to restore gloss and protection

With some determination and the proper methods, you can banish those pesky dealer sticker. Just be cautious not to rush the process or get too aggressive, which can damage the paint underneath. Taking it slow and using the right tools will get your car looking decal-free.

Start By Assembling The Necessary Removal Supplies:
Start by assembling the necessary removal supplies:

Why Do Car Dealers Put Stickers on Cars?

You’ve probably noticed those parking lot stickers and decals on new cars at the dealership. But why do car dealers put them there in the first place?

  • Advertising – Promotes the dealership brand and contact info
  • Inventory – Identifies which cars belong to which dealer
  • Security – Discourages theft of vehicles off the lot
  • Customization – Personalizes cars that may be nearly identical

For car buyers, these eye-catching decals seem like no big deal initially. But after driving your new car home and getting accustomed to it, the dealer stickers may start to feel like a distracting blemish.

Fortunately, the adhesive is designed to be removable without damaging the car’s finish. With care and patience, you can erase those stickers and restore your car’s pristine appearance.

What Kind of Dealer Stickers Do Dealers Use?

Dealer sticker use a variety of decals and stickers, from small personalized badges to full-sheet graphics:

  • Dealer name and logo stickers on rear bumpers or trunk lids
  • Perforated window decals touting dealer contact information
  • Small vinyl badges with the dealership name on front fenders or doors
  • Large decals running along lower front doors displaying dealer website, phone number, etc
  • Windshield stickers listing details like the salesperson, lot number, and VIN
  • Roof decals applied across the front of sunroofs

These dealer stickers are made from materials like vinyl, acrylic, or polyester film with a strong adhesive on the backside. They adhere tightly to ensure they stay in place on the lot and during test drives.

While removable, the tenacious adhesive makes them difficult to take off without the proper removal techniques.

What Kind Of Stickers Do Dealers Use?
What Kind of Stickers Do Dealers Use?

How to Remove Dealer Sticker Safely

Here are some step-by-step tips for safely removing those eye-catching yet annoying dealer stickers:

  • Start by carefully peeling up any loose edges by hand, heating them with a hairdryer as needed
  • Spray adhesive remover like Goo Gone behind the decal to help separate it
  • Wipe gooey adhesive residue away immediately with soft cloths
  • If any sticker remains, saturate with remover, let sit, and wipe firmly
  • Wash off all residue thoroughly when finished
  • Clay bar the area to lift off leftover sticky debris
  • Use touch up paint for any blemishes or scratches inflicted during removal
  • Wax and polish paint to restore gloss

Take your time removing dealership decals. It may take patience over several sessions to eliminate them without causing damage. The results will be worth it.

Tips for Avoiding Paint Damage

Removing dealer sticker requires caution to avoid harming the car’s factory paint job. Keep these tips in mind:

  • Work in a shaded area to prevent the adhesive from baking on
  • Heat stickers gradually and evenly to avoid concentrated hot spots
  • Keep plastic blades nearly flat against the surface as you slide them
  • Apply medium pressure with cloths when rubbing off residue
  • Rinse frequently to make sure adhesive isn’t being rubbed around
  • Stop immediately if you see haze or scratches developing
  • Have touch up paint ready for any minor damage inflicted

It’s better to remove stickers over multiple sessions than try rushing and ruining the finish. Take a gentle approach.

Tips For Avoiding Paint Damage
Tips for Avoiding Paint Damage

What to Do About Ghost Outlines

Once you’ve removed the decals, a faint “ghost” outline may remain on the paint. Here’s how to get rid of it:

  • Wash and dry the area thoroughly after removing stickers
  • Apply a light polishing compound with a microfiber cloth
  • If needed, use a targeted paint cleaner like acetone on the outlines
  • Avoid applying too much pressure when polishing to prevent swirl marks
  • Wax or seal the paint to help blend the area with the surrounding paint
  • Consider getting a professional detail if you can still see ghosting
  • Be patient – ghost outlines often fade over several days or weeks as the paint “breathes”

With some work, the leftover outline of the dealer sticker can be made to disappear.

How to Remove Window Stickers

Many dealers use perforated window stickers that span across the lower rear windows. To remove these:

  • Carefully lift up a corner and peel slowly at a 90 degree angle
  • Heat along the edges with a hairdryer as you pull, if needed
  • Spray the back of the sticker with remover fluid while peeling
  • Avoid using scrapers or blades on glass windows
  • Buff off any adhesive residue with glass cleaner
  • Scrape off any remaining bits with a single-edge razor blade
  • Polish the glass with specialty glass polish to remove water spots

Take your time peeling so the sticker comes off in one piece. Windex and elbow grease will erase any leftover residue.

How to Remove Emblems and Badges

Small metal dealer emblems may be applied to the body or leather seats. Use these tips to remove them:

  • Grab the edges gently with your fingers and pull straight off
  • Heat badges with a hairdryer to help loosen the adhesive
  • Place a rag over badges and press firmly as you peel off
  • Twist emblems slightly to break the seal before pulling
  • Dip metal badges in acetone if glue remains behind
  • Buff emblems gently with compound to avoid scratches
  • Apply touch up paint to any paint defects exposed underneath

Pull metal dealer emblems straight off to avoid bending or cracking them. The paint underneath is fragile when exposed.

What to Do If a Decal Won’t Budge

Sometimes small portions of stubborn decals won’t peel up.


Q: Will removing the dealer decals void my new car warranty?
A: No, removing dealer sticker will not void your factory warranty. The stickers are considered removable accessories added by the dealer.

Q: Can I damaged my car’s paint if I try removing the stickers myself?
A: Yes, you can potentially scratch or swirl the paint if you use abrasive tools or methods. Take care and use plastic tools and heat to safely remove decals.

Q: What should I do if there is leftover adhesive residue after removing the stickers?
A: Adhesive removers like Goo Gone or WD-40 work well to dissolve sticky residue. Clay barring and polishing can also lift off remaining glue.

Q: Is there an easy way to remove perforated window stickers?
A: The best approach is to carefully peel the window stickers off slowly at a 90 degree angle. Heat from a hairdryer helps soften the adhesive while peeling.

Q: Can I be reimbursed by the dealer for having the decals removed?
A: Most dealers will not reimburse you for sticker removal, since they view them as temporary promotional materials.


While dealer stickers are annoying to many car buyers, they can be successfully removed with some effort and care. Having the right tools and techniques allows you to eliminate the decals without damaging the vehicle’s finish. With patience and the proper materials, you can safely rid your car of unsightly dealer sticker markings and restore it to its original pristine condition.

Just be sure to use a gentle approach and accept that the process may require repeated attempts over time. But the end result of a decal-free ride is worth the diligence.

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