Rick's Free Auto Repair Advice

Remove a car emblem

How to remove a car emblem or badge

Whether you’re trying to remove a car emblem, molding, or badge, you should follow these steps to avoid damaging the paint.

Clean the area before removing a car emblem, badge, or molding

In the old days, car emblems and moldings were remove a car emblemsecured with metal clips. But if your car was made in the last 30 years, chances are your car emblem or molding is secured with high bond double-sided tape or adhesive. There are two ways to remove both types of adhesive: sawing and liquid adhesive remover. Whichever method you choose, you must start by cleaning the top edge of the emblem or molding first to remove any grit that’s stuck to the double-sided tape or adhesive. If you don’t clean out the grit, you can damage the paint.

Best products to clean the grit from the emblem adhesive

Keep in mind that the road grit is embedded into all the horizontal surfaces of the tape or adhesive. You want to wipe those areas with a liquid adhesive remover and a small Q-tip to remove as much grit and dirt as possible before trying to remove the emblem. You can use special adhesive removers like 3M 3618 Adhesive Remover designed specifically for car paint. Or you can use commercially available adhesive remover products like Goo Gone or Orange De-Sol-it. Avoid harsh solvents like Goof-off.

Spray the adhesive remover onto all the horizontal edges of the car emblem or molding and let it work for a few minutes. Then use a Q-tip to wipe the grit off.

car emblem adhesive removers

Heat the car emblem adhesive with a hair dryer

Notice I said hairdryer, not a heat gun. A heat gun can get way too hot, way too fast, and can burn the paint.

Run the hairdryer over the entire emblem area until the emblem or molding is warm to the touch.

warm car emblem adhesive with a hair dryer
Saw off the emblem with dental floss or fishing line. Some pros prefer fishing line because there’s less chance of the line picking up grit and scratching the paint, while others prefer dental floss because it has a bit more cutting action.

Whichever you choose, wrap a few winds around your fingers, tuck the edge of the string under the adhesive and pull back and forth to cut through the adhesive or adhesive tape.

cut off car emblem

Use a scraper to remove the car emblem, molding or badge

The key here is to use a PLASTIC scraper and adhesive remover together. Spray adhesive remover onto the uppermost portion of horizontal surface. Then press the sharp edge of the plastic scraper between the paint and the adhesive. That allows the adhesive remover to wick under the adhesive to “de-bond” it from the paint.

Use the scraper more like a pry bar than a scraper. It’s job is to open a gap between the paint and the adhesive so the adhesive remover can do the bulk of the work for you.

Clean off the remaining adhesive using a rubber wheel and adhesive remover

Remove large areas of dry adhesive with a 3M stripe off wheel. 3m stripe off wheelJust chuck it into a drill and apply very light pressure against the adhesive. The rubber wheel will “erase” the adhesive from the paint without damaging it. However, if you press too hard and create too much heat, you can damage the paint.

cut off car emblem

Clean up the surface with adhesive remover

Once all the adhesive is gone. If you’re going to leave the surface as-is, protect the paint with an application of a high quality car wax. If you’re going to re-attach a car emblem or molding, don’t apply wax.

©, 2021 Rick Muscoplat

Posted on by Rick Muscoplat


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