How to Remove Factory Truck Decals

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Most light-duty truck manufacturers, including Ford, Chevrolet, Dodge, Toyota and Nissan use decals to declare the model, exterior package and trim level of their trucks. The decals come in a variety of shapes, sizes and colors, depending on the year, make and model. Some find these decals appealing, while others do not. If you would rather not have decals on your truck, or if you'd like to replace the factory decals due to age and fading, you'll need to remove the original decals first. If you have free time, you can remove the decals yourself.

Things You'll Need

  • Hair Dryer
  • Detailing razor
  • Acetone
  • Cotton rags (or Microfiber cloths)
  • Wax
  • Slowly heat the surface of the decal with a hair dryer in order to loosen the adhesive used to apply the decal to the truck's body panel.

  • Continue to heat the decal with a hairdryer while you scrape under the edge of the decal with a detailing razor. You can purchase detailing razors (plastic replicas of real razor blades) at most auto parts stores.

  • Work your way down the decal, heating the decal surface with the hair dryer while scraping it away from the body panel with the detailing razor, until you've removed the entire decal. If the decals are new, you might succeed in grabbing the edge of the decal and pulling it off the truck, but older decals will require the razor and a lot of elbow action.

  • Pour a quarter-sized spot of acetone on a clean rag. Wipe any remaining decal adhesive off the body panel, reapplying acetone to the rag, as needed. Never apply the acetone directly to the body panel.

  • Wipe the entire area with a clean rag to remove any remaining acetone residue. Acetone is the base ingredient in nail polish remover; it will eat away at your truck's paint job if left on too long.

  • Apply a quarter-sized dab of automotive wax to a clean rag and apply the wax, in a firm, circular motion, to the area where the decal was placed prior to removal. The paint under the decal has no protective coat on it, so make sure to cover the entire area with a nice coat of wax.

Tips & Warnings

  • Do not attempt to remove decals when the ambient temperature is below 60 degrees Fahrenheit. If you're preparing for this task in a warm, sunny environment, park the truck in the direct sunlight for a few hours prior to starting the job, so that the sunlight can aid in warming the decal's adhesive, making it easier to remove.
  • Acetone is a dangerous substance. Consult the warning label on the acetone container before use. Only use acetone in a well-ventilated area. Avoid prolonged contact.

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