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Remove Adhesive from Your Car or Motorcycle

Tips July 18, 2012

How to Remove Glue or Adhesive Residue from Stickers on Painted Areas of Your Motorcycle

Older stickers were made of paper and were very difficult to remove because they would not peel off in one piece and leave little bits of paper covering the adhesive making the adhesive much more difficult to remove. Modern bumper stickers, other stickers and details are usually made of vinyl so the entire sticker easily peels off. However, some adhesive may be left behind. On metal services, removing the adhesive is easy but with painted surfaces you want to remove the adhesive without damaging the paint.

My body shop said to use duPont Prep-Sol which you can find on Amazon or go to your local body shop and ask to use a little.

An easier way is to use WD-40 which you probably already have. the WD-40 website states “[WD-40 ] …dissolves adhesives, allowing easy removal of excess bonding material.” WD-40 will not damage modern paint on motorcycles and cars and the WD-40 website states “It can also be applied to painted metal surfaces without harming the paint. Polycarbonate and clear polystyrene plastic are among the few surfaces on which to avoid using a petroleum-based product like WD-40”. Spray the adhesive with WD-40 and allow it sit for several minutes to penetrate the glue. You can try using a microfiber cloth to rub off the glue. Wash the area where the bumper sticker was, apply wax and polish the area.  A motorcyclist who used WD-40 for years said about WD-40, “Safe on paint and the glue just rubs off after a soak.

Another product to remove stickers and decals from painted surfaces is Goo Gone Sticker Lifter which is specifically designed for removing stickers and the effusive glue left behind by the decal or sticker.  Goo Gone even comes with their patented sticker removal tool and their website specifically states that Goo Gone Sticker Lifter is safe to use on painted surfaces.

Now you can put a motorcycle awareness bumper sticker on your car knowing you can easily remove it if you want to, but better yet just leave it on your car when you sell it to help raise awareness of motorcycles on the road.

motorcycle bumper sticker

I trademarked the bumper sticker pictured above to help raise awareness of motorcycles.  I received the bumper stickers and immediately placed one on my car’s rear bumper.  However, I found that it didn’t go on exactly straight, so I tried removing it.  Because it’s printed on vinyl, it easily came off in one piece without leaving any adhesive glue behind and I was able to reapply the same sticker.

The phrase “BE AWARE” can be read from as far as 30 feet away but the phrase “MOTORCYCLES ARE EVERYWHERE” could only be read from 8-9 feet away, so I redesigned the bumper sticker so that the entire phrase is easily seen (you can see the new design below).  I got the new bumper stickers several weeks after I placed the original bumper sticker on my car.  I wanted to replace the bumper sticker with the new one so I tried to peel off the original bumper sticker.  I found that it easily peeled off in one piece without leaving any adhesive behind and without damaging the paint.

How To Remove a Vinyl Bumper Sticker

After two years, I replaced the bumper sticker on my car and was able to easily remove it by doing the following:

  • Start peeling off the bumper sticker from one of the top corners
  • Slowly pull down and across in a diagonal motion until it comes off completely

Using this method, it took approximately 15 seconds to peel off the entire proper sticker.  Since no glue or adhesive was left behind, it was unnecessary to clean the painted bumper and I simply placed the new bumper sticker in the same spot. It’s best not to leave vinyl bumper stickers on for more than 2 years.

The new bumper sticker
bumper sticker for motorcycle awareness

If you have a problem removing a sticker, the above sticker removal tips should solve the problem but with modern vinyl stickers, it’s not a problem.


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4 Responses to “Remove Adhesive from Your Car or Motorcycle”

  1. Thanks. I used WD-40 on painted metal and it came right off. So easy,

  2. Just discovered your site and I love it! Wanted to see if you would be open to test out my glass etching supplies for free in exchange for feedback. Can you let me know if you are interested by email? Shipping of the supplies will be free as well. Looking forward to hearing your thoughts. Thank you Eric

    • Thanks, but I wouldn't have the opportunity or need to try out your product. We give out BE AWARE MOTORCYCLES ARE EVERYWHERE® vinyl bumper stickers and I wrote this article so people could find out how to safely and easily remove bumper stickers.

  3. How do i remove residue that was under my seat to prortect my paint on my harley

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