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Removing factory decals

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  • Removing factory decals

    My missus did me a favour and washed the Prado at the local carwash place grrrrrr.... :x she ended up blasting off parts of the factory decals with the pressure sprayer.... double grrr :x :x

    Those affected, the larger decals near the rear windows "3600 twin cam blah blah blah", have had some of the print section removed and left the clear bottom of the sticker on the car (the top side of which is slightly sticky), some of the print remains on other parts of the sticker. It's as if they're a double layer sticker with the print part stuck onto another clear backing which is stuck to the paint on the car.

    I've checked with Toyota and you can get replacement stickers. I'd like to replace them but am unsure of the best way of removing the stickers without removing the paint or causing damage.

    I've done some searching on the net and have seen such things as using a hairdryer to make the sticker gum tacky and then using anything from solvent based cleaners, WD-40, Prepsol, metho and shellite to help it along as well as using a plastic scraper where needed.

    I've already discounted the option of using an eraser disk. I figure there has to be a "safer", less abrasive method to use.

    I'm not so concerned about cleaning up residual goo after getting the actual sticker off (that should be easy), it's the getting the sticker off that seems to be the tough part. Whilst lamenting over the mess I tried just lifting one with my finger nail to see how well stuck down they are... they're stuck down good! Pity the top layer isn't stuck as well as the part actually stuck to the car.

    Just wondering if anyone has had to remove FACTORY stickers (not paper based stickers, bumper stickers etc) on any car. Any stories of success or otherwise would be greatly appreciated.

  • #2
    Re: Removing factory decals

    Removed mine using a hi speed vinyl sticker eraser. Worked fine and was on black paint.


    • #3
      Re: Removing factory decals

      Nope, slightly different, a HI speed unit 60,000 rpm Vinyl Zapper. works better and quicker than caramel wheels.


      • #4
        Re: Removing factory decals

        Just get your missus to wash the car again

        Sorry couldn't help myself :lol: :lol: :lol:


        • #5
          Re: Removing factory decals

          heat gun, use back of your hand on substrate to test temp, should be hot enough to just touch it
          1st 2005 V6 auto in white.
          2nd 2008 D4D auto in charcoal
          3rd 2014 D4D auto in white


          • #6
            Re: Removing factory decals

            MDS69 LOL... I was waiting for someone to say it


            • #7
              Re: Removing factory decals

              OK all done... and successfully!

              For those that want to know what I did.

              Get yourself the following:

              x 1 small tin of Goof Off (active ingredient is Xylene). About $10 from Bunnings.
              x 1 plastic gyprock/plaster spatula/knife (not a real big one - about 2.5 / 3cms wide)
              x 1 hair-dryer (might be good to do this while the missus isn't home!)
              some car polish, a few rags (preferably one terry-toweling and one microfibre buff rag - go to SuperCheap) and of course any replacement stickers.

              Heat the sticker up with the hairdryer. It needs to get pretty warm. The top layer of the sticker will come off easily if you get it nice and hot and gently raise an edge with the plastic plaster knife.

              Here's where the patience needs to kick in. When the top layer of the sticker comes off it leaves all the glue behind. I tried heating this up and stripping it off with the plaster knife but you'll be there all weekend that way.

              Get some Goof Off on a rag and gently start to saturate the glue with the Goof Off. Don't rub too much, Goof Off seems to pretty much be thinners/lighter fluid and you'll damage the paint if you go too crazy. As you saturate the glue don't let the Goof Off run down your paint work, I don't think it's that lethal but I wouldn't leave it on there too long.

              As the glue softens use the plastic plaster knife to scrape the glue away. Eventually you'll get to a point where all the glue is gone. As the glue really starts to shift keep gently wiping over with Goof Off and keep scraping gently with the plastic knife.

              Once all the glue is gone polish the paint back to a nice finish with your polish, rag and microfibre buff rag (the microfibre rag isn't essential but I gave one a go once and love them).

              You're now finished removing the sticker and preparing the area for the replacement, ready to stick the new factory decal on. Just line it up and make sure you don't get any air bubbles like you would applying any sticker.

              Some notes: 1. Prepsol might work better than Goof Off? Not sure didn't have any to try. If you can get some maybe give it a go.

              2. When the factory decal is removed it leaves an impression of the sticker behind e.g. you can still see where the sticker was and what was written on it in your paintwork. This didn't seem to buff out. It's OK if you're replacing teh decal as I did. Might not look so great if you intend to leave the paint bare and not replace the decal.

              Hope that helps someone.


              • #8
                Re: Removing factory decals

                Ive had a few go's at decals on bikes and cars, a hair dryer seemed to work ok but in most cases an imprint was left on the vehicle. I had a chat with a local paint dude and was informed that :roll: the sun in most cases affects the paint colour around the sticker so that over time you end up with 2 diifferent colours if the decal is removed. Also they sometime put a coat of clear over the sticker which if removed leaves a ridge. As for the sticky stuff i use eucalyptus oil on a tissue.. takes only seconds and does not damage the paint.

                Tim G


                • #9
                  Re: Removing factory decals

                  Cheers Goodo. I didn't think about the eucalyptus oil but would give that a go in the future... hopefully I don't have to replace any decals for a long time.

                  Maybe some of that citrus based goo remover would work OK too now that I think about it.


                  • #10
                    Re: Removing factory decals

                    I have been in the sign industry for 20 years. Now days most signs are vinyl lettering, so you get use to removing stickers. Heat gun or hair dryer, as most of you have indicated. Use a plastic spatula, your finger nail is actually the best (it won't scratch your paint work). The best product to remove the glue residue is mineral turps. This won't effect your paint work. It goes to jelly and you wipe it off with a plastic spatula and rags.


                    • #11
                      Re: Removing factory decals

                      ActivX is the remover I use. Dont get too excited on old paint though as it can eat into it if your brutal with the rag.


                      • #12
                        I took my decals off today just as boz described, but was left with a permanent stain from the sticker. Any ideas how to get rid of this or is it going to now need another coat of paint? It seems as though the sticker was slightly recessed into the paint like as if the decal was placed there after the car had been painted.
                        Any advice would be appreciated.


                        • #13
                          Lucky she got rid of them it had the wrong stickers on it anyway, should have been 3.4 LOL..... I replaced mine by just heating up with heat gun, kept feeling it until it was quit warm but not enough to obviously damage the paint. I only replaced mine due to fading but bought genuine to replace....Cheers Steve
                          Face lift 150 Prado V6 auto. No mods yet


                          • #14
                            Finally managed to removed old stickers , after trying all the liquids and heat gun (apart from thinners) and none of them working, i ended up using a caramel wheel on my drill. It worked a treat , once old sticker was off i wiped the area over with wax and grease remover then soapy water and put new sticker on making sure i lined it up with old sticker markings . All done and looks ok, not great but will do, be sure to use the wet method when putting the new one on its much more forgiving and easier to do, Russ.