How to remove racing stripes & decals from a car

Updated February 21, 2017

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.

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

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

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

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

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


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.

Things You'll Need

  • Hair dryer
  • Commercial adhesive thinner
  • Plastic paint scraper
  • Rough sponge
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About the Author

Brenton Shields began writing professionally in 2009. His work includes film reviews that appear for the online magazine Los Angeles Chronicle. He received a Bachelor of Science in social science and history from Radford University.