If you have a vehicle with emblems that you’d like to remove, there are a few ways you can take them off. Our mechanic Andy reviews how to debadge a car with four different methods. By the end of this video and article, you’ll know how to remove emblems from your car or truck with fishing line or floss, a heat gun, a plastic trim tool, adhesive remover, and/or a decal remover wheel.
How to Debadge Car Emblems
Debadging a car can make it look cleaner and sleeker, and also creates space to install new ones. Emblems are usually held on with adhesive, but sometimes larger emblems are held in place by pins. The steps below show 4 ways to remove car emblems and 3 ways to remove adhesive.
4 Ways to Debadge a Car and 3 Ways to Remove Adhesive
Steps for how to debadge your car and remove the emblems’ adhesive
- If Installing New Emblems, Place Painter’s Tape Underneath to Keep Track of Their Position
Place painters tape beneath the emblem if you want to install and align a new emblem in the same position. This will serve as a reference to its original position.
- Method 1: Remove the Emblem with a Plastic Trim Tool
One of the easier methods is to place the tip of a plastic tool underneath one of the corners of the letters and to gently pry up. Once loose and without prying upward, carefully twist the emblem back and forth to not scratch the paint.
Tip: Use a plastic pry tool. A metal pry tool can scratch the paint.
- Method 2: Heat the Letter with a Heat Gun and Remove It with a Plastic Pry Tool
Hover a heat gun over the emblem, moving the gun around and not staying in one place for too long so you don’t burn through the paint.
Lift and remove the letter with a plastic pry tool.
- Method 3: Remove the Emblem with Fishing Line or Floss
Weave fishing line or floss behind the badge and, like flossing a tooth, shimmy the wire back and forth across the length of the letter until it’s fully removed.
This method cuts the adhesive and will probably leave a thicker layer behind. To remove larger emblems, a fishing line can also let you know where and if pins are holding it in. If the emblem is large, try getting halfway down the emblem, and then lift and pry it off with a plastic trim tool while trying not to break it.
- Method 4: Soak the Letter in Adhesive Remover and Remove It with a Trim Tool
Another method is to soak the letter with adhesive remover for a few hours. Then pry off the emblem with a plastic trim tool.
- Method 1: To Remove Adhesive, Pour or Spray Adhesive Remover, Let It Sit for a Few Hours, and Remove the Adhesive with a Trim Tool
Remove the remaining adhesive from the paint with adhesive remover. Pour it on or spray it on with a spray bottle. Let it soak for a few hours, and then lightly scrape it off with a plastic trim tool.
If adhesive remains after scraping it off, you may need to remove some with a rag and adhesive remover lightly. Do not use a lot of force so you don’t scratch the paint.
- Method 2: Quickly and Lightly Heat the Adhesive with a Heat Gun and Scrape It off with a Trim Tool
For another method to remove adhesive, warm the adhesive with a heat gun. Remove the it with a plastic pry tool.
Do not let the adhesive get too hot so the trim tool doesn’t melt.
- Method 3: Remove the Adhesive with a Pinstripe or Decal Removal Wheel
Attach a pinstripe or decal removal wheel to a drill bit. Pour some adhesive remover on the adhesive and let it sit for some time. Then move the removal wheel around in circular motions to remove the adhesive. The wheel should scrape the adhesive off like an eraser.
- Remove Any Remaining Adhesive with an Adhesive Remover and a Cloth
Soak smaller remains in adhesive remover. Remove the rest with a cloth rag.
- Use Buffing Compound to Remove Any Scratches
If any scratches happen during the removal, use buffing compound to get the scratches out.
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