Removing Car Emblems

Removing car emblems has grown in popularity over the past ten years and remains a very popular option for new car owners looking to add a level of personalization to their particular choice in cars.

But sometimes you just have to ask yourself...

"Are you up for the challenge and the risk involved?"

The Internet and media platforms are filled with endless tutorials on how to remove car and truck emblems yourself.

I dominate YouTube with my countless debadging videos where I will literally teach you how to do it yourself. But you have to do a cost/benefit analysis for yourself to see what the winning conclusion is for you and your world.

removing car emblems chevy truck

Removing Car Emblems:
Badges, Emblems, and Decals

Ultimately you have (3) specific options:

  1. Leave your car or truck as is and fall into place with everyone else.
  2. Attempt to remove them yourself.
  3. Call me to arrange an appointment to have me do it for you.

But for you to come to the most appropriate conclusion for yourself, you need sufficient information so that you are able to make an informed decision rather than an misinformed decision.

Removing Car Badges and Emblems:
Deconstructing the Process

removing car emblems infiniti QX60Removing the car badges from this Infiniti QX60

Perhaps this page will be your very first step of a process that many people tend to over-simplify at a casual observation. There are some very distinct steps you will have to consider:

  • Removal of the top layer or badge/emblem. (Typically a plastic emblem that has been chrome plated)
  • Removal of double sided tape (double-sided tape comes in all  thicknesses. Every car manufacturer will be different)
  • Removal of residual adhesive (there will ALWAYS be some adhesive residue despite how you remove the double sided tape)
  • Polish area to remove any outline or abrasions left behind (This is a case by case judgement call on your part. Every situation is unique and only you can decide)

Basic Points of Removing Car Emblems:
Starting Points

Before you start out on your project to remove the badges/lettering/emblems from your car or truck, it will be helpful to go through a preliminary checklist first.

By reviewing these initial pointers you may either come to the conclusion that this DIY project is for you, or you may decide to hire a professional like myself to perform the car emblem removal project for you; either way I can help.

  • Removing the badges, lettering, or emblems from your car is better done sooner rather than later. The longer any emblem or sticker has been in place on your car/truck, the greater the chance there will be a shadow left behind where the original emblem was located. (as a rule, I tell people that anything older than 3 years old is the point where this becomes more of an issue. But with that said, every car is unique and there is simply no hard-line rule)
  • Most people with no experience over-simplify the debadging process and go into it hastily, lose patience very quickly, and either do damage or give up in frustration only to call a person like myself to either finish the job, or fix the mistakes they have made.
  • Not all car emblems or badges are removable; meaning, some car emblems have attachment/alignment pins going through the sheet metal.
  • As a rule, it will usually only be the manufacturers logo or insignia that has holes through the sheet metal of the body panel. (examples include the Mercedes 3-point logo, BMW  round logo, or the Hyundai stylized "H" logo just to call out a few examples)  All other lettering, badges, or emblems will be attached with double-sided tape, and can be safely removed.

removing car decals emblems badgesRemoving the decals off this Toyota Tundra

Removing Car Emblems:
Step 1: Removing Plastic Emblem

Removing the hard plastic car emblems is first on our list of removing car emblems job. These are usually made of lightweight, chromed plastic. Dental floss can be used, but fishing line is the preferred method of removal.

Dental floss typical breaks very easily and you will go through a whole lot of dental floss in most cases.

removing car emblems with fishing line

Regardless of material, these must be pried up and lifted off. The double sided tape used to attach these emblems to the car come in varying thicknesses depending on the make of the car.

Removing these emblems can be accomplished in one of the following ways:

  • Simply prying edge with finger nail and lifting off with fingers.
  • Using dental floss or fishing line to "saw" and separate plastic emblem from body panel.
  • Grabbing each car emblem with pliers and lifting straight off.
  • Using a heat gun to heat up the car emblem first will make this step even easier.

Fishing Line to Remove Car Emblems

Fishing line has truly proven to be the best approach. Dental is an alternative, but you will likely find you go through a lot of dental floss due to it repeatedly breaking.

Berkley Trilene Big Game 40lb 370yd

  • My "go-to" car emblem removal line for decades
  • I use 40 lb. test (this is the winning balance between strength and line diameter)

Darren's Tips: If you use fishing line that is too weak (very thin), it will break on you more often than you like. But if you get fishing line that is too strong (very thick), then the actual thickness of the fishing line becomes a problem.

Some car manufacturer's use double-sided tape that is very thin and there simply is not enough room to get thick fishing line between the chrome plastic car emblem and the body panel it is attached to.

Removing Car Emblems:
Step 2: Removing Double-sided Tape

removing car emblems with 3M eraser wheelUsing the 3M stripe off wheel to remove the double sided tape used to hold attach many types of car embellishments.

This picture shows me suing the 3M stripe off wheel to remove the double sided tape. While you can simply peel this tape off with your fingers, you will find very quickly how difficult this can be without using the stripe off wheel.

The longer your car emblems have been in place, the more difficult this process will prove to be without the stripe off wheel. Especially helpful when removing larger embellishments like the rub rails off this Chevy truck.

If your car is brand new the double sided tape will be much easier to simply push back with your finger tips to roll the tape off. There will always be some level of residual adhesive regardless of the age of your car or truck.

3M Stripe Off Wheel to Remove Double-sided Tape

3M Stripe Off Wheel 07498, 4" Diameter x 5/8" Width, 3/8" Mandrel, Beige (Pack of 1)

  • Removing the double-sided tape is the most frustrating step of the process; save your self countless frustration and get one of these amazing tools.
  • Will not harm any paint.
  • Will not leave any abrasions regardless of color of paint working on.
  • Attaches to any drill motor.
  • I use at very low speeds despite that the tool is rated for upwards of 3500 RPM's.
  • For use after you have removed the top layer of the car/truck emblem. 
  • Will cut your job time by a minimum of half.
  • You need to be extremely cautious when using on painted fiberglass parts of your car: bumpers, certain plastic parts that have been painted, etc.

Darren's Tip:

If you are cheap and really have to save a buck, then you can remove the double-sided tape through the repeated process of adhesive removers to help dissolve the tape, and picking with your finger nail, and rubbing aggressively with some cloth.

replacing gold chevy bowtie with black bowtieSwapping out the gold Chevy bow tie with an updated black bow tie

Removing Car Emblems:
Step 3: Removing Adhesive

There will always be sticky adhesive left behind regardless of how you decide to remove the double sided tape. This is often when problems arise due to the amount or rubbing that most other adhesive removers require.

The more rubbing you have to do, the more abrasions you will leave behind that require polishing to remove.

The Rapid Remover is the best adhesive remover I have found to date. If you allow it to do its job, the adhesive will literally dissolve away and you can wipe it off very easily.

Rapid Remover Adhesive Remover for Vinyl Wraps Graphics Decals Stripes 32oz Sprayer

  • As I said earlier; no magic adhesive remover works where you simply spray and wipe off.
  • Removing the double-sided tape with adhesive remover will be a gradual process as the chemical and your rubbing will break the material down slowly.
  • Rubbing alcohol can also be used but is even slower at breaking the double-sided tape down than this adhesive remover.
  • I have yet to find anything safer and more effective than the Rapid Remover!

Removing Car Emblems:
Step 4: Polishing the Final Product

polishing car after emblem removal

The following factors will determine what your final step will include:

  • What process did you use to remove double-sided tape and residual adhesive.
  • The color of the car/truck; dark colors show more flaws and imperfections.
  • Your level of perfection you require as a person.

This final step will be a case by case decision to make based on the above points. I will lay out the few options you have:

Polish By Hand:

You can use some form of car polish to hide and diminish any scratching or marring you may have put into your car paint.

Polishing by Machine:

For true professional results, you will have to use a car buffer along with the appropriate polish to remove any trace scratches or marring left behind. You can follow this link to my other site where I help you decide on the most appropriate car buffer for you and your needs.

Don't Forget the Wax

If you have made it this far with removing car emblems from your car or truck, then don't forget to add a nice coat of wax for the final and finished product. You can see my best rated car wax page with help in finding the best wax for your needs.

Car Emblem Removal Summary

I have covered a lot of territory on this page. Between the resources I provide and the products and tool recommendations, you should be a much more informed car/truck owner capable of making a much more informed decision and plan moving forward.

Much success in your efforts!


Darren Priest

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