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Exterior Car Care

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Removing Bumper Stickers, Pinstripes, and Window Tint

One of two things just happened here. Either you found an amazing deal on a used car that happens to be covered in a combination of bumper stickers, pinstripes, and/or window tinting or you’re trying to cover up your former glory days that involved lots of concerts and rebelling against authority. Whatever the case, it’s time to remove all the bumper stickers and see your vehicle in all its beauty as the manufacturer intended.

Bumper stickers are relatively easy to remove. Try to pick a warm, sunny day for the project and slowly and gently peel them off. If a summer day is too much to hope for, use a hairdryer or heat gun to simulate sunny conditions. The older the bumper sticker is the more slowly you will need to peel it. In some cases it can be useful to pull the sticker flat and gently lift it that way. You are less likely to rip it.

If all of your attempts have proven to less than fruitful, the next step would be to try a solvent. Citrus-based cleaners work best as they are not as likely to damage the underlying paint. Goo Gone is a natural first choice. Let the product soak in and try to remove the bumper sticker again. Still no luck? Cover the sticker and product with a plastic bag and try again. If things are still sticky, looking into a stronger solvent may be the answer.

Pinstripes are a little different. They come in two types, tape and painted. The tape variety can usually be removed using the same methods as for bumper stickers. Scraping the offending pinstripes with a credit card is an option as well. Who said credit cards were bad things? Any glue still stuck to the paint can be removed with a solvent. Don’t worry; the Goo Gone people are going to love you. The only way to get rid of painted pinstripes is to have the pinstriped panels completely repainted. Either that or decide you like the zebra look.

With the window tinting on your car noon looks like midnight. Obviously not the look you were going for. Let’s start with the side windows since the process is simpler. Just use a single razor blade and scrape the damaged window tint off. The back window will likely involve more work and planning. The last thing you want to do is damage the rear defroster grid and scraping it with a razor blade is sure to do it.

This trick may save the day though. Spray the back window with water and measure a plastic bag to fit about 1 inch smaller than the window. Add some regular household ammonia to the water in your sprayer and spray the window, adhering the plastic to the tinting film. Let the plastic and ammonia solution sit on the tinting for about 30 minutes and peel the plastic bag, and hopefully, the window tint off.

If some of the window tint is still on the window be sure to rub the length of the grids, not against them. A soft cloth, more ammonia, or Goo Gone should remove any stubborn tint that is still hanging on. At this point with any luck, the sun will be shining through clear, clean windows.

Everyone likes to personalize their belongings, but if you want your car to stand out a little less, these tips should do the trick.





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