Debadge a car without damaging the paint

Debadging is the process of removing manufacturer badges from a vehicle.

The most common badges taken off of vehicles are the manufacturers’ logo, car model and engine size.

People debadge their car for various reasons but most of the time it’s because they believe it looks cleaner without the badges.

Removing the badges from a vehicle is incredibly easy. It’s also easy to mess up, you run the risk of damaging the paint.

There are 3 stages to safely debadging your car.

1.) Loosen the adhesive using heat
2.) Remove the badge using wire
3.) Clean off the leftover adhesive & residue

If you follow this guide and do it right, there will be zero issues and you’ll have a clean looking car.

Most badges are stuck to the car using adhesives, however, there are some that use plastic or metal clips.

If you have any reason to believe that the badges aren’t stuck on with glue, you should leave the debadging to a professional.

Loosen the adhesive

99% of the time manufacturer badges are stuck on to the car using glue.
It’s rare that they’ll clip into the panel but when they do, it will leave you with a decision.

When removing badges that are secured by clips, you’ll need to use body filler and repaint the area. At that point, I don’t see it being worth your time or money to continue the debadging process.

Badges that are glued on using high-quality car adhesives will require heat to soften the glue up and allow you in behind the badge. The best way to heat up a car surface is a heat gun as it allows you to target an area with serious heat, allowing you to soften the glue quickly.

If you don’t have a heat gun you can use boiling hot water from a kettle and maybe even your partners’ hairdryer.

Not having a heat gun will add a lot of time and frustration to the debadging process.

When heating up the badge make sure to keep moving the heat gun, I like to move the heat in a circular motion from edge to edge, top to bottom. It means that all of the glue is soft and warm, ready to be tackled.

If you’ve been at it for a while and the glue doesn’t seem to be responding. There’s a good chance that you’ve not been able to heat it up enough, give it some time, especially if you’re using a hairdryer.

Once you’ve given it more time if the glue has softened up a little but is still too firm to take the badge off without damaging it, try to apply some adhesive remover to the edges of the badge. It will drip onto the edges of the adhesive and hopefully soften it enough to remove the badge.

Removing the badges

Now that you’ve softened up the adhesive enough, you can finally start taking the badge off. To do this you can use dental floss, fishing wire, a credit card or professional trim removal tools.

I believe that the best way to do it is with dental floss or a wire.

If you try to peel it off using a trim remover, screwdriver or anything of the sorts, you would only be lifting one side off the badge at a time. Meaning there’s a solid edge that could be digging into your paint.

When using dental floss or fishing wire, you are able to get in behind the badge and do a flossing motion which will lift the badge off evenly, leaving your paint in perfect condition.

Make sure when you’re removing the badge that the glue stays hot, you may need to apply heat every 30 seconds or so. If you could get someone to heat the badge while you work on it, even better!

Remove leftover adhesive

Once you’ve removed the badge, you’ll be greeted by horrible leftover adhesive and residue.

To get rid of this you can use a plastic razor and carefully scrape it off while keeping the adhesive heated.

Another option would be to use an adhesive removing solvent and a cheap microfiber cloth that you don’t mind throwing away. Apply the solvent, wait a while and wipe the residue off the panel.

Be aware of what you’re doing though, both methods can cause scratches if you’re not careful.

After you’ve removed the leftover adhesive (it may take a while), I would suggest giving the area a rinse and wash. It will make sure there’s 0 contamination left behind.

Once you’ve done that, I also recommend polishing the area and then applying some sort of protection, whether that’s a good wax or sealant is completely up to you.

Pros and cons of Debadging a car

Debadging your cars isn’t necessarily beneficial to anyone. If you believe it’s worth it, then go ahead and do it.

It’s all personal preference. Some cars will look amazing, like the Volvo C30, others will look downright weird. Here’s a couple of cars that look amazing when de-badged.

Reasons to debadge your car:
1.) Hides that you’ve got a small engine
2.) Genuinely looks better on many cars
3.) Some people believe it makes the polishing process easier
4.) Can confuse people into thinking you have a better model of car

Reasons not to debadge your car:
1.) It can look make your car look weird
2.) Re-applying the badges is tricky (expensive at a dealership).
3.) Many people like OEM, it could harm your resale value, especially on high-value cars.

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