How To Debadge Your Car Without Ruining Its Paint

Whether you want to invoke a little mystique in your daily ride by hiding a few of its telltale callouts or just appreciate the clean appearance of a badge-less body, there are plenty of reasons why you'd want to remove your car's emblems. Unfortunately, it's one of those jobs that could go terribly wrong if done the wrong way. Removing an emblem without proper preparation could cause damage to your car's paint finish. To avoid this, there are plenty of steps you'll want to take when it comes to removing car emblems.

Making Preparations

Before you start removing any emblems, you'll want to make sure that the surrounding surface is free of any dirt or debris. You can do this by washing your car as normal, using a mild detergent and water to remove dirt from the cracks and crevices in and around your car's emblems. Make sure the areas around the emblem are completely dry before you start removing your emblems.

Removing the Emblem

These days, most car manufacturers use industrial-strength adhesives to keep their emblems planted on the cars they make. Since these adhesives are designed to last through years of abuse and environmental exposure, it might take quite a bit of work to get them unstuck. For this job, you'll need a heat gun or at least a hair dryer that can produce plenty of reliable heat. You'll also need a plastic putty knife and a pack of dental floss.

Start by placing the heat gun or hair dryer over the emblem you want to remove. You'll want to not only keep your source of heat a few inches away from the paint, but you'll also want to move it in a gentle sweeping motion. This will keep the paint from getting burnt or melted by accident. After a few minutes, wiggle the emblem to make sure the adhesive has softened enough to complete the next step.

Once the adhesive is soft enough, take the dental floss and place it at the upper corner of the emblem. Begin sawing the floss back and forth between the emblem and the paint surface. Keep sawing laterally and moving downward or diagonally as you separate the adhesive from your car's paint. If the adhesive hardens, use the heat gun or hair dryer to soften it back up. Keep this up until you've successfully removed the emblem.

Post-Removal Cleanup

After removing the emblem, you might notice there's still some leftover adhesive clinging for dear life. Hit this leftover adhesive with another round of heat from your heat gun or hair dryer. Afterwards, use your plastic putty knife to carefully scrape away the remaining adhesive. For stubborn bits, spray a small amount of adhesive remover on a clean cloth and rub the leftover bits until they roll off. After this, you can run a clay bar across the emblem to get rid of any ghostly outlines you happen to see.

Minor Paint Repair Tips

There's no guarantee that your emblem removal will go off without a hitch. If you've accidentally given your car's paint a slight nick or two, then you'll need to know how you can reverse the damage and restore the paint to its original appearance.

If the scratch hasn't gone through the clear coat, you can carefully polish the scratch out of the clear coat until it appears uniform with the rest of the paint. Start by adding a small amount of fine polishing compound on a microfiber cloth. Use a circular motion to work the compound into the clear coat until the scratch disappears. Make sure you don't polish the area too much, as you could end up polishing away the clear coat by accident.

If the scratch goes deep into the clear coat and into the base coat, you'll have to cover up the damage with touch-up paint. Using the paint that best matches your car's color, apply enough of the paint to fill in the deep scratch. After the paint has had time to dry, gently sand the painted area so that it blends in with the surrounding surface. Afterwards, use the same fine polishing compound you'd use on minor scratches to polish the area to further match the surrounding auto paint.