How to remove racing stripes & decals from a car

Written by brenton shields
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Racing stripes can give a car a unique, striking appearance. Some people, however, prefer a more classic, conservative look to their cars that a racing stripe or fancy decal clashes with. Racing stripes and decals can be removed professionally by almost any automotive garage, but it's easily done at home as well.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Hair dryer
  • Commercial adhesive thinner
  • Plastic paint scraper
  • Rough sponge

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  1. 1

    Using the hair dryer, apply high heat to the decal to be removed until the adhesive begins to soften.

  2. 2

    Gently wedge the edge of the plastic paint scraper underneath the decal and begin slowly peeling the decal off.

  3. 3

    Pull the rest of the decal off with your fingers when a piece long enough to grasp has been removed from the adhesive.

  4. 4

    If any flakes of the decal remain, reheat them and apply a little adhesive thinner to make it easier to remove them.

  5. 5

    When the decal or stripe has been removed completely, use the rough sponge to wipe away any traces of adhesive.

Tips and warnings

  • Factory decals or racing stripes, placed on the car during its production, may be more permanent; removal might require professional bodywork and painting.
  • Many chemicals sold in auto parts stores are specified for removing decals. Ask at the store for recommendations and specific instructions for these products.
  • Use extreme caution with the paint scraper--scratching your car can be more costly in the long run than what it costs to have a decal or racing stripe removed professionally.

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