How to Remove Car Fleet Decals

One of the great feelings I get each week is when I receive calls from people who need to remove decals and stickers.

Last week I received a call from John who need to remove decals from 800+ cars across his fleet of energy vehicles.

(FYI – the goods news that these are not car wraps that need to be removed, rather medium sized stickers that are 2 x 1 feet. Each vehicles has 3 – 4 decals)

So how do you tackle a job that requires 800+ vehicles in a car fleet, to be removed of decals?

Approach – A

The first step is you need to understand how big the job is.

One approach is to take stock of the cars and pick-up trucks that have decals on them, count up the number of those cars and determine how many decals are on each auto.

If there are different size cars that you need to remove decals from, then you can take the medium (average).

Once you have done the math, in this case you will probably need a calculator, we suggest you do a test run on two different vehicles to time how long it takes to remove the decals from the car.

Further down we have provided four different approaches to removing the decals.

After you have removed the decals from the 2 cars, if they took a similar amount of time, then you can use the average and multiply this out across your car fleet to determine the total time.

We find if there is a big difference between the time it took to remove the decals from car 1 and car 2, assuming there is approximately the same amount of decals, then we suggest you be conservative and use the time it took the longer amount for

That or you can try do a 3rd car and see how long that one took

Tip

Often when people remove decals, they forget to factors in the time it takes to remove any left over adhesive.

We suggest to also include an additional 15% in time as there are always some decals that take alot long to remove.

Ground rules

It’s always good to know who installed the decals as when high quality decals are used, they are much easier to take off.

The reason is that a consistent and standardized adhesive is used, that doesn’t cement on the surface as if it’s designed to last 1000 years.

The best quality stickers and vinyl are generally manufactured by Avery and 3M and are designed to not leave much adhesive or residue on the surface when the decal is removed.

That said, both 3M and Avery do manufacture lots of different vinyl and decals products where some have very strong adhesive and are not designed to be applied to cars.

Hence it’s helpful to know the type of Decal brand that has been used

Testing the best method to remove the Fleet Car Decals

We always recommend to our customers to test different options for removing decals from their cars.

It’s also a good idea to test in a small discrete area first to make sure the technique you use, does not affect the painted surface.

From our experience, we are 100% confident that the Whizzy Wheel is the fastest method to remove car decals, though it always help that the customer witnesses this first, hand, rather than is told this

Your Five options are:

  1. Decals that appear on Glass: If the car decal is only on the glass (not painted surfaces) you can try use a metal razor blade. I wouldn’t recommend this for large jobs as you might end up hurting yourself by cutting your finger or hand
  2. Plastic razor blade: this definitely works on painted surfaces and is safe. However, due to the small size of blades, we only recommend it for very small jobs
  3. Heat gun: this works quite well for newer decals. I suggest any decal that is less than 2.5 yers old, using heat can work well. Around the 2.5 year mark, the decal begins to crack and the adhesive bonds to the decals which makes it harder to remove from the car’s surface.
  4. Whizzy Wheel: this is the fastest and quickest way to remove large car decals. It works by wearing away the decal and is especially good at removing large decals and adhesive
  5. Adhesive remover: products like Goo-Gone and citrus degreaser work well in removing the goo or adhesive that is left on the surface once the Decal has been removed, but is not effective at removing the decal from the car

 Video demonstrations of different appr0aoches to remove car decals

1. Metal Razor Blade

 2. Plastic razor blade

 

3. Heat gun

4. Whizzy Wheel

5. Adhesive remover

Approach – B

After the fun and games of testing different methods to remove the car decals, counted up the number of cars with decals to remove, plus worked out the average number of decals per car, then it’s time to get to work.

We have found using 3rd parties for removing car decals are okay if the vehicle is going to have the decals replaced.

The reason being, these 3rd party contractors tend to do cheap and rushed jobs and don’t remove all the adhesive from the cars surface.

This is passable if the surface is going to be covered up again by new decals, but not good, when the surface will be left clean

Bonus TIP

If it’s your job to take off a large number of decals, you may not have had a say in how they are applied….. sometimes you get the rough end of the stick

In case you did have a say, or potentially in put in the future, do NOT use 3M Primer 94 to ensure the decal edges are stuck down

In the past, there was a myth that using this means the edges are sealed properly and that water won’t get under the decal edges.

That is not true

If you have  professional install the decal, then you don’t need to use 3M Primer. It’s a lazy mans way of installing a car decal

What happens is when the 3M primer is used it makes it very hard to take off the decal and leaves alot of residue on the surface.

If someone uses 3M Primer for applying a car decal, they are just cutting corners and trying to speed up the job.

The exception

The only time this rule doesn’t apply is when applying a Decal to a water vessel or baot. Sometimes 3M Primer is used to seal the edges as the Decal can be submerged of under constant sea and fresh water

We hope this article answers your question about removing and taking off car decals from a fleet of cars, and also assisted at looking at the different options you have.

We always love helping people remove decals, so please let us know how we can help

Regards,
Peter

Chief “Decal Removal” Officer

P.S – we have recently helped alot of people in the United States, Australia, Texas and California  remove car decals. We even got a questions from Tasmania about car fleet decal removal so always welcome to your questions