An idiots guide to de-badging your car.

I’ve been messing around with cars for 7 years which now makes me feel really old. Anyway i’m forever seeing people attempting to de-badge their cars and often making a hash of it. It’s not particularly difficult but it’s something that I’ve found gets easier with time. As you can see above my GT-R looks pretty standard, however the cheap nasty looking “Nissan” badge needs to be removed. I feel it improves the lines and simplifies the back end. I tend to find sports cars look wider without their badges, my B7 RS4 saloon looked so much meaner without its 4 rings or Rs4 emblems.

Step 1 removing the badge

My first point is Heat. Let heat be your friend, adhesives for badges is usually a mixture of foam and really sticky horrible glue. This is somewhat malleable once heated. I use a hair dryer on maximum setting and pick the side I want to remove it from. After a couple of minutes you can see the foam/glue expanding and coming away slightly.

As the glue comes away from the bodywork I slip a cable-tie behind the edges to stop it adhering itself again. More heat from the hairdryer/ heat-gun (whichever you have) along the length of whatever you’re looking to remove. Then pull on the cable-tie evenly but with some force. By the time you’re around halfway along the badge will “pop” free of the bonding and be removed. See below.

Step 2 removing the residue

As you can see above the badge has been removed safely but you’re now left with the foam and adhesive residue. You need to remove this without agitating the paint or scratching the clear-coat. I use Decal Adhesive Remover, which isn’t just aptly named it does what it says on the tin. I like to spray this on, mopping up any excess with a micro-fibre cloth and allow it to sit for 5-10 minutes. This permeates the adhesive and softens it, making the removal easier if not time-consuming.

I would love to say I have a really technical way of doing this, but I don’t. Once the residue has softened I massage with a toothbrush, wiping away lumps of adhesive with a clean cloth. I use a fingernail to get the stubborn pieces and continue to wet the foam with Adhesive Remover. Once this is removed you’ll be left with a hologram or outline from where the badge was. Don’t panic this is why I encourage using a toothbrush to agitate as much of the glue away from paintwork.

Step 3 removing the outline

The outline is a frustrating thing to leave behind as it’s obvious a badge was once there. At this point I use a rapid-detailer and clay-mitt to cleanse the surface of contaminants and hopefully lift anything left behind from the paint. Another reason I use a clay-mitt is because i’m going to use a compound on the paint and contaminants could lead to scratching the clear-coat.

Step 4 polishing

Once the surface is clean and free from any residue break out your compound. I use Meguiars and a micro-fibre cloth applying moderate pressure. I make 2 to 3 passes with the compound, buffing it off with a clean cloth between coats until i’m happy with the finish. I then finish off with a coat of Autofinesse wax, to match the rest of the bodywork in terms of gloss and protection. I think all in took maybe 45 minutes to an hour as Nissan really stuck it down. Smaller badges or pieces of vinyl will take much less time. Be mindful of what you choose to improvise with. Small screwdrivers or sharp metal objects are likely to damage the paint, trim-removal tools can be useful as they’re strong and plastic. Hope this helps anyone looking to remove a badge or piece of tacky vinyl.

Published by Sam Busby

a big nosed bearded idiot who likes to write about cars. Lucky enough to have owned a few quick ones too.

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1 Comment

  1. Nice guide as usual Sam.
    I do exactly what you did. I do use a plastic trim removal tool to get the large clumps off as they can be time consuming.
    The GTR looks much cleaner without the Nissan badge….


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