Drivers use car magnets to show their support for all types of interests, including a beloved sports team, a favorite TV show, a stunning design, or some other personal expression. Some businesses even use larger custom made car magnets to advertise their services.
After a while, though, these magnets wear down, become faded, or melt, and you may want to remove them from your vehicle or make room for new magnets that grab your attention. By following a few specific methods, you can easily remove stuck-on magnets from your car without ruining the paint.
Method 1 of 3: Using adhesive solvent to remove a car magnet
- Car wax
- Hot blade decal remover
- Latex gloves
- Microfiber towels
- Paint-safe adhesive solvent
- Steam cleaner
Using an adhesive solvent is one of the ways you can remove a stuck-on car magnet. By heating the magnet up using a hairdryer, or even waiting until the hot sun warms it up, you can weaken the bond between the magnet and the car body.
Follow this up with some adhesive solvent to weaken the bond even further. Then it is just a matter of removing the magnet, either in one piece or in multiple pieces, by hand or with the aid of a steam cleaner or hot blade decal remover.
Step 1: Heat up the magnet. Heat up the car magnet with a hairdryer, or better yet, let the vehicle sit in the hot sun.
This should help loosen the magnet.
Step 2: Spray the magnet. When the magnet has heated up, spray it with paint-safe adhesive solvent.
Let it soak in for a few minutes, making sure not to let it dry. Reapply the solvent as needed.
Step 3: Manually peel off the magnet. After the solvent has soaked into the magnet, start by putting on a pair of latex gloves.
Work the edges of the magnet off with your finger. If needed, use a hot blade decal remover. The decal remover is comprised of a plug-in device that heats the box cutter-type blade inserted into the end.
Step 4: Apply steam to the magnet. If you have a steam cleaner, use steam to break the bond of the magnet to the body of the vehicle once you have an edge free.
Just make sure to keep the tip of the steam cleaner moving and don't get too close to the paint to avoid damaging it.
Step 5: Wash the car. After all of the magnet is removed, wash the entire car.
Finish by waxing the vehicle to protect its finish from the elements.
Method 2 of 3: Using soap and water to remove a car magnet
- Dish soap
- Hair dryer
- Latex Gloves
- Microfiber towels
- Plastic scraper
- Spray bottle
Another proven method for removing a car magnet includes using soap and water to help lubricate the removal process. Then it is just a matter of cleaning up any remaining residue.
Step 1: Clean around the magnet. Using a clean, damp microfiber towel, clean the area around the car magnet.
Make sure to remove any loose dirt and other debris to keep it from scratching the paint during the car magnet removal process.
Step 2: Heat the magnet using a hairdryer. You can use an plug-in electrical hairdryer if you have access to an outlet.
If you don't have an outlet nearby, use a battery operated hair dryer.
- Warning: Do not use a heat gun to warm up the car magnet, as this can damage the car's finish.
Step 3: Lift the magnet. As the car magnet becomes more pliable from the heat, lift the edge with a plastic scraper.
Be very careful not to scratch the paint when using the scraper during the car magnet removal process.
Step 4: Spray under the magnet. With warm, soapy water in a spray bottle, spray underneath the magnet.
This should help lubricate it and make it easier to remove from the car body.
Step 5: Pull off the magnet. Keep pulling on the magnet until it comes free.
Use more warm, soapy water if necessary as you remove the magnet.
Step 6: Wash the area. Wash the area thoroughly using the warm, soapy water from the spray bottle and a microfiber towel to remove any remaining residue.
Apply wax as needed.
Method 3 of 3: Using fishing line to remove a car magnet
- Fishing line
- Hot water
- Latex gloves
- Microfiber towels
- Mild dish detergent
- Plastic putty knife
- Small paintbrush
Using fishing line to remove a car magnet is another good way to make sure the magnet comes off nicely and cleanly with little damage to the vehicle's paint job. Heat is also used in this method to make the plastic of the magnet more pliable and easier to remove.
Step 1: Clean around the magnet. Take the hot water and soap and clean the area around the car magnet to make sure it is free of dirt and debris.
- Tip: Use a microfiber cloth as this should lift any dirt present away from the body of the car, reducing the risk of it getting scratched.
Step 2: Put fishing line under the magnet. Look for areas that indicate the magnet is pulled away from the body of the car.
Run fishing line under the magnet to see if you can loosen it even more.
You can also use a plastic putty knife at this point to try and loosen the magnet, just take special care not to scratch the paint of the car.
Step 3: Heat the magnet. If needed, heat the car magnet using a hairdryer.
The point with this step is to expand the plastic material of the magnet and cause it to loosen even more.
Step 4: Work in dish detergent. If the magnet is still stuck on the car body, use a small paintbrush to work some of the dish detergent underneath the magnet.
Let the soap soak in, and then try again to remove the magnet using one of the above methods.
- Tip: You can also pour cold water over the magnet area, followed by hot water. The intent is to cause the magnet to contract and expand, possibly making it easier to remove.
Step 5: Clean the area. Once the car magnet has been removed, completely clean the area with soap and water.
Finish up the process by applying wax and buffing to a shine.
Removal of a stuck-on car magnet is safe and effective when following some simple steps. When removing the car magnet, make sure to remove it slowly to avoid damaging the paint underneath. If the paint does become damaged during the process, Ask a Mechanic for some quick, helpful advice to restore the finish of your vehicle.
This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as How to Remove a Stuck-On Car Magnet and was authored by Cheryl Knight.