How to Remove Pinstriping from a Vehicle

If you’re looking at buying a used offroad vehicle or 4×4, occasionally they will have pinstripes or other stickers or vinyl stuck on the paint. While pinstriping isn’t as popular as it used to be, some car owners will add these decals on to give it some extra flare or draw more attention.

checkered PinstripeIn recent years, pinstriping is considered tacky by many, so you may want to remove it from your vehicle if it doesn’t appeal to your taste. In addition, if it stays on too long, certain paint colors may get sun damaged and the pinstripe will leave an undesirable visible mark.  If you don’t desire any aftermarket pinstripes or decals on the vehicle and want to remove it, fortunately there are a few simple things you can do to easily get rid of it.

Option #1

Never use a knife, razor, or other very sharp object to remove the pinstriping. This can easily scratch or damage your paint. The best option is to grab a hair dryer or heat gun (set to low heat) and a credit card or a plastic cutter with a thin edge. First, take your hair dryer or heat gun and start heating up the pinstripe near its end. Move the heat source back and forth as opposed to leaving it in one spot, otherwise you can cause some damage to the car’s paint. You want to continue to do this and constantly check to see if the pinstripe has started to gently lift up or become soft. Once it’s started to loosen up and peeling, take your credit card or plastic cutter and run it under the pinstripe. Continue to heat it and slowly peel until it has completely come off. Make sure to take your time during this process, as you don’t want to mess up the paint on your car.

After taking all of the pinstriping, vinyl or stickers off the paint, use a product like Goo Gone to remove any excess residue left over, and then promptly add a layer of wax to the affected area to help keep the paint in good condition.

Option #2

If you have a Dremel tool or an electric drill that can take attachments, 3M makes a product called the “Stripe Off Wheel”. It is a disc attachment that you put on a low-speed drill that will easily remove pinstriping. It is a quick and efficient way to get rid of pinstripes but if you’re not careful it’s easy to scratch the paint. Before using this tool, make sure that the paint around the pinstriping is clean and dirt free, otherwise it may scratch the paint.

After taking all of the pinstriping, vinyl or stickers off the paint, use a product like Goo Gone to remove any excess residue left over, and then promptly add a layer of wax to the affected area to help keep the paint in good condition.

Option #3

Another method to remove pinstriping and stickers off your car or other auto parts is to use rubbing alcohol and a clean microfiber or soft rag. Take some of the alcohol and pour it onto the rag and begin rubbing the end of the pinstripe. It may take a few minutes for the adhesive to soften up, so be patient. If it doesn’t being to soften or the pinstripe doesn’t begin to peel up, rub harder with your alcohol cloth or use a credit card or plastic cutter with a thin edge to help get it started. At this point, grab the end of the pinstripe grab the end of it and slowly pull it away from the painted surface. Keep using the rubbing alcohol down the adhesive as you work your way down the pinstripe. If you hit a stubborn spot on the pinstriping apply more alcohol until it softens up again. If there is still some residue left over, use Goo Gone or another cleaner to remove any residue. As always, use wax to help protect the paint.

Be aware that if you are purchasing an older vehicle, some car colors are more prone to sun damage, particularly red and black. If the car has a bad pinstriping job that you want removed, chances are the paint may be faded around the stripe.

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