Removing Truck Side Molding

Do it yourself or find an Expert?

Removing truck side molding is a simple way to not only "clean" up the look of your truck, but an effective way to remove years off the look of your truck if it is starting to look more and more its age.

This project of removing the body trim molding from this '03 truck also included removing some adhesive pin striping, as well as the small emblem located on the C-pillar area of the truck.

removing truck side moldingHere we have a picture of the existing old side door rub rails/molding along with the faint aging pinstriping.

If you look in the picture above, you can see not only the obvious truck body moldings to be removed, but the pin stripe just below the window, as well as the small emblem behind the rear side windows.

Typically, there are 3 specific reasons people choose to have the truck body moldings removed:

  1. The truck side moldings discolor and turn yellow and rusty in color.
  2. To clean up the appearance of your truck.
  3. Washing and detailing is made easier by the removal of these extra add-on's. 

Removing Truck Side Molding:
Removing Pinstripes

The first thing to go was going to be removing the aging pinstriping from this truck that was also adding to its age.

remove pinstripeHere you can see aging pinstripe that has already begun to wear off.

Removing the pinstriping on this particular job proved to be a surprise moment when we discovered that the dealer had simply used white adhesive pinstriping to cover the original painted pinstripe that had begun to wear off.

Rather than simply remove the aging painted pinstripes, they used the band aid approach of cover-up. This meant we were faced with the challenge of removing both painted and decal pinstripes.

Any beginner who had decided to take this project on would have found themselves already running quickly into problems.

Removing Truck Side Molding:
Basic Rules

There are a few basic rules anyone must consider when attempting to remove rub rails, pinstriping, or badges:

  • The older the vehicle, the more difficult it will become.
  • The darker the paint color, the more caution you will have to apply.
  • If you do not know the full history of the vehicle, the chance for surprises along the way greatly increase.

removing truck emblems

As part of the "cleaning" up process of removing truck side molding and emblems, is the removal of this emblem located on the cab area just behind the side rear windows. The easy part is the removal of the top, rubberized plastic dome of this insignia. What lays behind is he difficult part that can be seen in the picture below.

removing truck badge adhesive

Underneath the top layers always lays either double sided tape or some form of adhesive; and usually both. It is the process of removing the double sided tape and adhesive residue that proves the most difficult part of the process.

Removing Truck Side Moldings:
Steps of removal

  • Pull and peel off plastic side molding from truck.
  • Remover double sided tape from truck door panels. (the most difficult part of the process)
  • Remove adhesive that is left behind from double sided tape.
  • Polish abraded areas.
  • Apply your choice of car wax to areas.

removing side molding from chevy truckExposed double sided tape that is used to secure truck side molding to doors.

Here we have a picture of the underlying double sided tape found after removing truck side molding. In the case of the Chevy truck side moldings, the double sided tape is rather thick and difficult to remove.

The double sided tape has been changed over the years and is different on later Chevy trucks as opposed to this '03 Chevy truck. What you are seeing above is a combination of white double sided tape, along with years of accumulated dirt that has been trapped against the truck paint and the truck side body molding.

shadow from truck side door molding

Here we see the a wear pattern that has been created by dirt and debris that gets underneath the truck side moldings and abrades a perimeter line into the paint. It is this line of abrasions that must be polished away if you are going to deliver professional results.

removing truck side molding chevy truckThe finished product

Here is the completed edition of this Chevy truck:

  • Removal of old pinstriping
  • Removal of truck badges
  • Removal of side door rub rails/molding
  • Polishing to remove any wear patterns from old embellishments

So if this is your first time considering removing truck side molding, badges, or pinstriping, I hope I have added some additional information you should consider before attempting this project yourself.

And of course you can always shoot me a text and let me know if this is a project you would like a professional like myself to perform for you.

If you are still interested in performing this job yourself and would like to see the exact tools and products I use that can greatly increase your results and hassle, you can see them at removing car emblems.


Darren Priest

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