Stripping a vehicle can also land a clean look for many older hot rods, street rods, and tuners. Older emblems, badges, and nameplates were mounted with pins and nuts, however, most badges today are held in place with a strong adhesive that can be removed by following a simple heating and scraping process.
Additionally, removing automotive emblems, badges, nameplates, and other insignias is necessary for replacement and often to cleanly repaint a car or truck.
Things You’ll Need:
- Hair dryer or heat gun
- Dental floss or fishing line
- Putty knife or credit card
- Goo-Gone adhesive remover or WD-40
- Terry cloth towel or soft rag
Here’s how to remove automotive emblems, badges, nameplates, and other insignia from your car or truck.
- Prepare the vehicle and safe work area.
Park your car or truck in a well-lit area and on level ground. Turn the engine off and set the parking brake — safety first. Gather the tools and materials needed for this procedure.
- Verify emblem adhesion method.
Verify that the badge is held on by adhesive only and that it is not riveted or screwed on. A lot of logos and emblems that are inset in hoods or trunk lids are actually bolted to the car.
Open the hood or trunk and look in the back where the logo sits for bolts. Unbolt these, and remove them from the car. If the logo is inset, you will have to fill it with body filler and repaint, but that is for another topic. To remove the adhesive only badges, continue below.
- Apply adhesive remover.
Apply Goo-Gone adhesive remover or WD-40 around the seal of the emblem holding it onto your car. This will help to loosen up the glue around the edges of the badge/emblem. This works best for the emblems that are on the flat parts of your vehicle. If the emblem is inset, then it may well have a bolt holding it on. Wipe off any excess adhesive remover.
- Warm up the adhesive.
Turn the hairdryer and turn it on high heat. If you are using a heat gun, use low-heat. For beginners, we recommend that you use a hairdryer instead of a hot air gun because it will not get hot enough to cause any damage to your paint or badge/emblem. Aim the dryer or gun at the emblem you want to remove.
You need to keep the dryer or gun aimed at the emblem until the emblem and the metal around it are hot to the touch. Keep the dryer or gun about 3-6 inches away from the badge to optimize the heating of the adhesive. It will take roughly 10-15 minutes of directly applied heat to start freeing up the adhesive.
- Gently pry the emblem away from the surface.
With the putty knife, gently start to pry around the edges of the emblem — work from the bottom of the badge up. When working around the edges of the emblem or badge, you want to try and get a small slit started between the emblem and the car with the putty knife. If you cannot get any separation, you need to apply more heat for another 5-10 minutes or so.
- Cut the adhesive with dental floss or fishing line.
Take some dental floss or fishing line and loop it around the emblem. Looping from the side generally works best as these emblems are often horizontal in orientation. This will cause you to cut through a narrower band of adhesive.
Work the fishing line up behind the emblem until it pops off. Repeat this action for each emblem you want to remove.
- Clean up the surface.
Once the emblems or badges are off the car, clean off the remaining residue and adhesive. You will see some discoloration, but that is mostly because of road grime and adhesive. Use Goo-Gone or WD-40 to remove any remaining adhesive residue from the vehicle. Finish clean-up with soap and water.
How To Debadge / Remove Car Emblems Without a Heat Gun and Not Damaging The Paint
Removing the adhesive glue left on the paint is not an easy task. Learn how to remove the manufacturer’s emblem or logo from a truck or vehicle quickly and easily — This video teaches you how to debadge your car, step by step, without a heat gun and without any damage to your vehicle!