How to remove adhesive tape from bodywork. The best techniques

Categories : Adhesive Tapes

How can you remove adhesive tape from bodywork? How to remove adhesive tape glue effectively and quickly, without doing any damage? These are questions that have been asked many times in the past.


No one wants to risk ruining the bodywork of their car, motorbike, or van to remove adhesive tape.


The risk is, on the one hand of not being able to completely remove the adhesive residues, leaving behind a shadow on the bodywork, which can quickly become a receptacle for dust and dirt inexorably, ruining the aesthetics of the entire vehicle.


But that’s not all, because there is also the risk of ruining the bodywork by employing the wrong techniques or tools to remove double-sided tape: you could end up scratching the bodywork using unsuitable scrapers, or stain it using too aggressive solvents, which could affect the paint. So, can you remove adhesive tape from the bodywork? Let’s have a look at it together!


How to remove adhesive tape from bodywork: masking tape


Masking tape can be considered the most classic of double-sided tapes. And this isn’t a casual assertion: the original adhesive tape was masking tape.


About a century ago, in fact, a young engineer at 3M developed what would later become classic tape, just to be able to count on an adhesive strip for comfortable painting, to be positioned with just some pressure from one hand, to be hung throughout the painting process and to be removed at the end of the process in an easy, clean, and fast way.


So yes, masking tape can be seen as the original tape. There are now many different types of it, starting from custom adhesive tape, distinguished by the temperature they can withstand, their width, and the material they are made of.


In all cases, if it is good quality and is used correctly, bodywork adhesive tape can be easily removed when it isn’t needed anymore without leaving any glue residue.


Things change when masking tape isn’t removed promptly and is left on the bodywork for a long time. In that case, you might have some issues in removing the strong double-sided adhesive tape glue from the bodywork: let’s see how you can do it!


How to remove adhesive tape from bodywork


There are cases where removing adhesive tape from the bodywork is more difficult. For example, when masking tape is left on the bodywork for weeks, months, or more.


Not to mention when you wish to remove decorative or promotional stickers from bodywork, as it often happens when a company vehicle changes appearance. In these cases, the steps can be more difficult, knowing already at the start that part of the glue, when the adhesive is removed, could remain attached to the bodywork. Or, perhaps, it might be difficult to remove the industrial double-sided tape itself.


How to proceed? Well, you should know that in professional body shops there are heat guns with the precise objective of shooting hot air to soften the glue and make it more pliant.


Those who do not have access to similar tools can, instead, use a normal hair dryer, to be operated at maximum power and temperature about ten centimetres (3,93 in) away from the adhesive you wish to remove. This way, after a few seconds, the glue should become softer: the industrial double-sided tape should now be easier to detach.


What if the glue stays on the bodywork despite the use of heat? In this case, it is best to use some other trick, always remaining careful not to ruin the vehicle’s paint.


You can, for example, arm yourself with hot water and detergent, to soften the adhesive with a sponge and then rub the area with a clean cloth. Or, you can try vegetable oil, which is generally very effective in the removal of adhesive tape glue.


What you will need to do in this case is moisten the glue residue with a few drops of olive oil, seed oil, or a similar oil, and then proceed to rub it off.


When you need to deal with old tape – think of those giant stickers placed, perhaps, on the hood of a car, exposed to the Sun, the heat of the engine, the changes in weather and so on for years – you may need some extra help.


Even more effective than vegetable oil is, in fact, unlocking lubricant, i.e., the type of spray used in workshops to unlock nuts and to lubricate mechanical parts subject to wear. What if even that is not enough?


In this case, it will be necessary to switch to stronger methods, buying a professional solvent specially designed to remove glue and adhesive in general: you can find it at most body shops suppliers.


At the end of it all, a general cleaning of the bodywork will be necessary in any case, as well as, maybe, a nice new coat of wax!

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