How to Safely Debadge Your Car
Do it right, the first time.
Removing badges and decals from your vehicle can improve the aesthetics of your car, and is easy to do with nothing more than a few supplies commonly found around your house. Most badges are attached with a strong adhesive glue, but it’s important to note that some vehicle badges are attached with metal or hard plastic clips that connect through the body of the vehicle.
If you’re unsure whether your decal removal situation is a DIY project or something involving body work, consult us or your mechanic any time.
For most with simple adhesive badges, de-badging your car is a fairly simple process:
Three ways to Loosen the Adhesive
- Warming adhesive up, is important. One easy way to do so is to fill a thermos or similar container with hot water to pour over the badges starting from the top of the badge. Make sure the water is hot, not boiling, as that us dangerous for the car and yourself. This will allow the water to contact some adhesive directly while warming the rest of the adhesive through the badge.
- Use adhesive remover to soften the glue. Spray-on adhesive remover is available at most retail stores, and can remove the badges as well as remove any adhesive residue that remains on your vehicle after the badges have come off. Spray the adhesive remover along the edges and allow it to seep between the badge and the vehicle, but try not to get too much on the surrounding areas of the paint, as cleanup can be a bit of a pain.
- Use a hair dryer to heat the adhesive. This is another method of heating the badge to loosen it. Turn the hair dryer on to the highest setting and heat the entire badge evenly until the adhesive begins to soften and dislodge. It should peel right off.
Two ways of Removing the Badges
- Pry the badge off with a plastic wedge or scraper. Once the emblem or badge is soft, press a wedge between the badge and the metal of the vehicle, and the badge should separate with ease. Work evenly around the badge from the outside in, being mindful of applying steady, even pressure so the scraper doesn’t damage your paint. If you don’t have a plastic wedge, a credit card will do the trick. Once the adhesive has been properly warmed, slide the card under the badge and pry up slightly. Make sure the numbers face out and don’t scratch your paint.
- Use dental floss or fishing line to cut adhesive. Take a ten to twelve inch length of dental floss or fishing line and wrap the ends around your index fingers. Tuck the line beneath the loosened edges of the badge. Pull steadily toward yourself, sawing through the area between the badge and the body. If you wish to sell or reuse the decal or badge, this is a good method for removing the entire badge without breaking it. Once the badge has been removed, there will probably be residue left over. Spray with adhesive remover, followed by a clean microfibre towel to rub the remaining residue off the vehicle.
Finally: Clean and Wax
- Wash the de-badged area. Using automotive soap, a clean sponge and warm water. It’s important to ensure the sponge is clean, as bits of debris caught in the sponge will scratch your paint.
- Dry it with a clean microfibre towel or allow it to air dry. Let surface dry completely and make sure it’s parked in the shade before applying wax. Wax won’t go on evenly to damp or hot surfaces. If you have liquid wax, apply a dab, about the size of a quarter, to the area you are working with, and rub it into the paint in a circular motion.
- Sit back, and let it cure. Some waxes cure after 15 minutes, other waxes take longer. If you’re not sure whether the wax is ready to be buffed off, rub it with your finger. If it rubs off onto your finger, it’s ready for buffing.
- Buff with a fresh, microfibre towel. Buff it off in a circular motion, revealing the shiny paint beneath. Make sure you don’t apply too much force when buffing the wax residue off of the vehicle. If it’s stubborn and won’t come off, this means it needs longer to dry.
- Or, bring it in for an exterior detail. We are experts at washing, waxing, and cut polishing and can have it done in the same day for you.