How To Remove 3M Tape From Your Car? (Quick & Easy Way)

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guide on removing 3m tape from car

3M tapes tend to be hard to remove because of strong adhesive, but by using the methods that I’ll show you, the whole process of removing these tapes will become much simpler and quicker.

The best method to remove 3M tape is to use a combination of moisture and heat to soften the adhesive. Once this is done, the tape should peel off easily.

How To Remove 3M Tape From a Car

I always use this one method, and it works flawlessly when I have to remove 3M tape from my car, including the adhesive residue left behind.

Here are the steps I take:

  • Soak a towel or cloth in hot water and place it on the surface of the 3M tape.
  • Press the towel or cloth in place for a few minutes. The heat will soften the adhesive on the tape.
  • After 5 to 10 minutes, try peeling the corner of the tape off the surface. You can continue with a scrapper to get the whole tape off if it starts to come off. A butter knife is typically used to get into the middle of the surface and the adhesive and separate them.
  • Please don’t rip it off when you peel off the tape quickly. Instead, slowly pull against the adhesive to don’t chip off any paint or leave a residue behind.
  • If you are still left with some sticky residue, use soapy water or more hot water to get it off. Wipe with the towel to get off the entire residue.
  • If you don’t want to use water, you can use a heat gun or a hair blower to get the effect of the first step.

If you don’t like this method, below you can find different methods that also work like a charm.

Other Ways To Remove 3M Tape From The Car?

You can use many techniques to remove 3M tape from your car. We shall discuss a few of these proven methods below:

1. Adhesive removers

Adhesive removers contain chemicals that are specially made to remove adhesive from surfaces. This is the ideal solution, especially if you have an expensive car or are removing the tape from a delicate surface of the car like the glass. You can easily find these removers in any hardware store or even online.

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Goo Gone Pro-Power Spray Gel Adhesive Remover - 24 Ounce (2 Pack) - Surface Safe, Great Cleaner, No...
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An example of an effective adhesive remover is a bottle of GooGone Adhesive Remover (check above). You will need a towel, a plastic razor, and maybe some dish soap to use. Allow the formula to sit on top of the tape for a few minutes. The usual time it is left for is about 5 to 10 minutes.

After this, you can use the plastic razor to slowly peel the tape away while simultaneously removing the residue with the towel. If, after removing the tape, you can still see some residue, you can use the dishwash soap to scrub off the extra goo left behind gently.

2. Use moisture in combination with heat

iron for removing 3m tapes

To remove 3M tape with moisture and heat, you’ll need a wet towel or cloth, and an iron.

Steps to follow:

  • Ensure you have an electrical outlet close to the car to plug in your iron.
  • Drape the wet towel or cloth over the 3M tape on the car’s surface.
  • Gently iron the towel, ensuring the heat penetrates through to the tape beneath.

When utilizing this method, be cautious when using electrical appliances near water. Avoid any direct contact between the iron and water.

Also, make sure to use a thicker towel. A thicker towel will prevent it from burning quickly, especially if you need to apply the iron for a longer time.

Last caution, if you’re removing 3M tape from plastic parts, don’t overheat them. Excessive heat can damage the plastic.

3. Use a heat gun

heat gun

For this method, you’ll need a heat gun (or blow dryer) and a butter knife or any flat object. Actually, I suggest using a plastic razor because it’s safer for the car’s paint.

Steps to follow:

  • Position the heat gun directly above the 3M tape. Distribute the heat evenly across the entire length of the tape. Ensure you cover all areas and avoid concentrating the heat on specific spots.
  • Once the tape is heated, use the butter knife or plastic razor to gently lift and peel off the tape. Ensure the razor is flat against the car to avoid scratching the surface.
  • Alternatively, you can start peeling from one end using your fingers. Just be cautious because the surface will be hot.

If you use a butter knife, be extremely cautious because it’s easy to scratch the paint that way (that’s why I recommend a plastic razor instead).

If you don’t have a heat gun and use a blow dryer instead, know that it’ll take much longer for the blow dryer to heat the tape, so be patient.

4. Removing 3M tape with alcohol

isopropyl alcohol

For this method, you’ll need some alcohol (ideally isopropyl), a detailing brush, a cotton or microfiber towel, and a butter knife or plastic razor.

Steps to follow:

  • Soak the cotton or towel in alcohol. Press it against the 3M tape to ensure the tape absorbs the alcohol.
  • Use the detailing brush to apply alcohol to the edges of the tape. This helps in ensuring the alcohol penetrates between the tape adhesive and the car’s surface.
  • Once the tape is sufficiently soaked, gently peel it off with your fingers or use a plastic razor to lift and remove the tape. Ensure the razor (or butter knife) is flat against the car to avoid scratching the surface.

5. Removing 3M tape with lubricant

wd-40 lubricant

For this step, you’ll need some lubricant such as WD-40, soapy water, a microfiber towel, and a butter knife or plastic razor.

Steps to follow:

  • Spray or apply the lubricant directly over the 3M tape. If the tape is on a vertical surface, use a microfiber towel to spread and hold the lubricant against the tape. Allow it to sit for a few minutes.
  • After the lubricant has had time to work, use the butter knife to gently lift and peel off the tape. Ensure the knife (or plastic razor) is flat against the car to avoid scratching the clear coat.
  • If any adhesive residue remains, dampen a towel with soapy water and wipe the area clean.

6. Using a razor blade to remove 3M tape from the car

razor blade for removing adhesives

For this method, you’ll need a solvent and a razor blade. This technique works perfectly for removing tapes that have been on the car for an extended period and are tough to remove.

Steps to follow:

  • Choose your preferred solvent (alcohol, lubricant, or adhesive remover) and apply it to the 3M tape. This will help soften the adhesive.
  • Hold the razor blade at a 45-degree angle to the car’s surface. Gently slide it under the edge of the tape to start peeling it off. Ensure you maintain the angle to avoid scraping or damaging the tape.

The razor blade is dangerous because of its sharpness, so be cautious when using it. It can hurt you or scratch the paint if used improperly.

Prevention Step: Don’t Keep Tapes For Too Long On Your Car

Lastly, I just want to quickly talk about one thing that’ll prevent 3M tapes from hardly sticking to your car’s color.

Whenever you tape something, especially by using a 3M tape, make sure to remove it the same moment you don’t need it anymore. That way, it won’t have enough time to hardly stick to the surface, and the whole process will be much easier.

If you leave it taped on the vehicle, the heat from the Sun and other external elements will cause the adhesive side of the tape to bond to the surface, and that’s when the problems occur. If that happens, you’ll be able to remove it by following the tips I gave you above in the article.

However, try not to let that happen, and always remove it as soon as possible. As always in life, prevention is better than cure. So, keep that in mind!

I hope that now you know all the tiny tips and tricks on removing fantastic 3M tapes from your vehicle, but also a way to prevent them from sticking too hard on the surface.

If you’re interested in additional 3m tape removal tips, check the video below.

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