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


I'm part of Amazon Associate and some other affiliate programs, If you buy through links on this site, I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. Learn More


adhesive rollers, 3m tape, car

If you have used 3M tape to stick some items in place on your car, you know how much of a headache it is to remove the tape and its sticky residue. It’s not impossible to remove 3M tape from the car, and the only difficulty is leaving a sticky residue behind if the adhesive is super strong. The trouble with leaving this sticky residue is that it can attract a lot of dust and ruin the car. You will have to remove the adhesive along with the tape if you don’t want to have this problem.

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. 

In this article, we will be taking you through a step-by-step process on how you can remove 3M tape from your car.

Step by Step On How To Remove 3M Tape From The Car

  1. Soak a towel or cloth in hot water and place it on the surface of the 3M tape
  2. Press the towel or cloth in place for a few minutes. The heat will soften the adhesive on the tape.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
9 Reasons Why Car Detailing Is Grea...
9 Reasons Why Car Detailing Is Great For Your Vehicle

What Are The Different Methods To Remove 3M Tape From The Vehicle?

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

The more accessible and obvious solution to this problem is using adhesive removers. These products 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 products in any hardware store or even online.

An example of an effective adhesive remover is a bottle of Goo Gone Adhesive Remover (check the price on Amazon now). To use this, you will need a towel and a butter knife, and maybe some dish soap. 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 butter knife 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 dish wash soap to scrub off the extra goo left behind gently.

2. Use moisture with heat

You will need a wet towel or cloth and an iron for this technique. The combination of moisture and heat is good to remove a 3M tape effectively from the surface of a car. For this, you have to place the wet towel or cloth on top of the tape and start ironing it. Make sure that you have an outlet near the car to plug in your iron.

You have to be very careful with this technique since you will be working with electrical appliances and water simultaneously. Try to use a thick towel so that the heat does not burn the cloth or towel quickly, in case you have to press on the iron for an extended period.

If you are removing the tape from a plastic surface on your car, such as a plastic bumper, make sure that you do not overheat the towel and the surroundings, or else you may end up causing more damage to the car than what you initially started with.

3. Use a heat gun

You will need a heat gun and a butter knife for this technique. Applying heat to the 3M tape will reduce the tape’s adhesive and make it easier to remove it without leaving the sticky residue behind. Place the heat gun directly above the 3M tape and start distributing the heat evenly across the length of the 3M tape.

Make sure that you cover the whole length of the tape and not focus only on specific areas. Once you are through with this, you can use the butter knife to peel off the tape from the car’s surface gently. Be careful with the knife so as not to scratch the surface of your car. If you don’t have a butter knife, you can use any flat object that you can place between the tape and the car’s surface.

Or else, if you can, you could use your fingers to scratch off the tip of one side of the tape and slowly peel it off. Remember, though, that the surface will be hot, so you need to be very careful.

If you do not have access to a heat gun, you can use blow-drying to distribute the same heat. It may take longer to heat the tape with a blow dryer than with a blow torch.

4. Alcohol

You will need some alcohol, an old toothbrush, and some cotton or a small towel for this method. Use the cotton or the towel to soak up some of the alcohol and apply it to the 3M tape.

If not, you can use the toothbrush to get the alcohol into the sides of the tape, ensuring that the alcohol gets in between the surface of the car and the tape adhesive. After this, you should remove the tape with your fingers, or you can use a butter knife to do the trick for you.

5. Lubricant

For this technique, you need some soapy water, towels, and a butter knife along with the lubricant. A well-recommended lubricant for removing adhesives is WD-40. Since most lubricants have petroleum in them, they can effectively remove adhesives. Apply the lubricant over the tape and wait for a few minutes.

If you apply the lubricant on a vertical surface, you can use the microfiber towel to apply the lubricant on the tape. You will have to hold the towel in place for a few minutes before using the butter knife to get the tape out of the surface. If you find any traces of the adhesive still left behind on the surface, you can use soapy water and a towel to wipe off the excess.

6. Razorblade

For this purpose, you will need some solvent and a razor blade. You can either go for a spirit like alcohol or a lubricant o even an adhesive remover. Make sure that when you peel off the 3M tape, you place the razor at a 45-degree angle to avoid scraping the paint off the car.

This method is beneficial if the 3M tape has been sitting on the car for a long time and is difficult to remove with just your fingers.

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.

Recent Posts