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How to Remove Pinstripes Without Damaging Paint

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Pinstriping was quite popular just a few years ago, but they are no longer so popular now. You may need to remove pinstripes from your vehicle for aesthetic reasons.

Maybe there was a time when you loved the pinstripes, but now you want them removed. In this post, you will learn how to remove pinstripes without damaging paint. 

Before we start discussing the issue, let’s clarify that removing pinstripes is not an easy deal. If you do not know the right way to do it, chances are that you will mess up.

Your goal is not to remove the pinstripes while keeping the car’s paint intact. Read on to learn about a few ways to remove pinstripes from your vehicle.

How to do it

Use a heat gun or blow dryer

You can easily remove pinstripes with a blow dryer or heat gun. Take a blow dryer, switch it on, start with the edge of the pinstripe and then gradually go to the other end.  Due to the heat, the pinstripe will become loose. To do the job, you can use a heat gun in the same way.

Once the heat has loosened up the pinstripe a bit, you can peel it using a sharp edged, plastic tool. That tool can be a plastic knife or a plastic scale. Use it carefully and make sure you do not end up damaging the paint.

Do not leave the heat source in one spot. It may lead to the damage of the car’s paint. While suing the heat gun, check multiple times to see if the pinstripe has become soft. Continue doing this until you have completely removed it.

Use an electric drill

If you are wondering how to remove pinstripes without damaging paint, here is another way to do it: use an electric drill or Dremel.

But, to remove pinstripes, you are going to need an additional tool—a disc especially designed to remove pinstripes. Do not use any other disc. This method can give you quick results.

Before you start actually removing the pinstripes, you have to clear the car’s surface. Make sure there is no dust or dirt. It must be done to secure the car’s paint.

To loosen up the pinstripes, use a blow dryer first. Once the pinstripe is loose, use your electric drill to remove it from your vehicle.

Use volatile rubbing alcohol

This is the easiest way to remove pinstripes from your vehicle. After applying the solution, wait for some time while the adhesive loosens up. And when it is loose, just peel it off. Wear hand gloves when doing it.

Never keep volatile rubbing alcohol within the reach of kids. These liquids are highly toxic, and consuming them can be fatal. Wash your hands thoroughly after using the solution.

Residue removal

Once you have removed pinstripes, you may notice residue left behind. To make the spot clean, now you have to remove the residue. There are many products that can effectively remove the residue while keeping the paint intact. 

“Goo Gone” is one such product, but there are some other products that work well. Use a clean cloth to wipe the surface. To keep the paint shiny, you can use a car wax. If you want to learn how to remove pinstripes without damaging paint, you must also know how to remove residue of pinstripes.

Stubborn cases 

1979 Ford Mustang Cobra Pace CarThere are some stubborn cases when removing pinstripes is hard. You can not just peel it away. Woodgrain & Stripe Remover is a product from 3M, and this product, as the name suggests, is especially designed for this purpose. This aerosol product works by loosening the glue and softening the vinyl.

Do not overspray when applying this product, because overspray will loosen vinyl roofs and rubber gaskets. To get it done smoothly, you must know how it can go wrong.  

Pinstripes are of two different varieties: tape stripes and painted stripes. You can easily remove tape stripes with the methods mentioned above. In some cases, you may even get it done with the edge of your credit card.

But when it comes to removing painted stripes, the process will not be so smooth. In some cases, it may not be possible to remove pinstripes without damaging the paint. “Stripe off Wheel” another product from 3M, and this product is especially designed for this purpose.

Stripe off Wheel is intended for stubborn pinstripes. It contains polyurethane foam, and it is used with a hand drill. Stripe Off Wheel works just like a rubber eraser. The process of application is very easy. You just have to press it lightly on the pinstripes. 

The adhesive rolls up, the vinyl crumbles, and what you have left behind is a smudge. Although the product is easy to use, you have to be careful about two things. first, you have to make sure that there is no dirt on the panel. And second, when using it, you have to touch the pinstripe lightly.

To remove the remaining adhesive, use a citrus cleaner such as Goo Gone. The solvent will take some time to work. If you rush the process, you may end up scratching the paint. Then use swirl mark eliminator or any mild polishing compound. This compound is used to remove minor scratches. To give the panel a shiny surface, use a cleaner wax.

Another technique

If you want to learn how to remove pinstripes without damaging paint, here is another simple technique. This is a technique used by many auto mechanics. Take a large plastic bag. Slitting it open, make it a single large panel.

On your back window glass, spray a little water. Put the bag on the window and make sure it temporarily sticks to the window. Spray some ammonia on the tinting film.

It will soften the adhesive in about 15 minutes. Then just peel off the tint. Use Goo Gone or ammonia to remove the remaining adhesive.

Additional tips

  • Do not use a very sharp object such as a razor or knife to remove the Pinstriping. If you do so, you may end up scratching your paint. A plastic cutter or a credit card can be used. Do not try to loosen the entire pinstripe at a time. Start with one end and then go forward.
  • “Stripe off Wheel” is a product from 3M, and this product is used as an attachment to an electric wheel. This disc-sized product is especially designed to remove Pinstriping.  You can use this product to get the job done quickly.
  • If you use rubbing alcohol, the adhesive will not soften up very quickly. So it is important to be patient when you are removing pinstripes. With a soft cloth, rub the alcohol a bit harder. When one end of the pinstripe begins to pull away, rest assured that the entire pinstripe will come out.

If you really want to know how to remove pinstripes without damaging paint, try the techniques and see which technique works. However, the technique will depend on the type of pinstripe you want to remove.

In some cases, it may not be possible to remove pinstripes without damaging paint. But if you follow the instructions properly, hopefully you will get satisfactory results. Be patient and get it done as smoothly as possible.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I remove pinstripe adhesive from my car?

A good way to remove leftover adhesive from pinstripes is by using a volatile rubbing alcohol, such as isopropyl. This should be applied to the pinstripes and allowed to soak in for a little while. Over time this will loosen the adhesive and allow it to peel off cleanly. 

As we mention later, Goo Gone is an effective adhesive remover. You could also use 3M’s Woodgrain and Stripe Remover which is designed specifically for loosening adhesives. Take care not to spray too much on as this can cause detrimental effects. 

Another product by 3M is called Stripe off Wheel which is also highly effective. It is made of a polyurethane foam and works similarly to a rubber eraser.

This causes the adhesive backing to roll up and the vinyl to fall apart for easy removal. Take care to only touch the paint lightly during application and ensure the paint is clean before you attempt to use it. 

How do you remove 1 Shot paint?

There are a few ways to remove 1 Shot paint from your car safely. If a hardener was not used then it should be relatively easy to remove using lacquer thinner or turpentine. Some people do not recommend using a lacquer thinner as this has the potential to damage your car’s paintwork. 

If your base paint has been cured correctly, you can use oven cleaner. Other people recommend the use of an enamel reducer or wet sanding.

The wet sanding method should be done using a 1,000 grit sandpaper and then buffing this area out. It is really important to only sand the pinstripes to avoid damaging your car. 

It is important to remember that any DIY paint remover has the potential to cause damage to the underlying paint on your car’s body. If you are not confident in your abilities, we suggest contacting an automobile shop to do this for you. 

How do you remove rally stripes?

These are commonly applied using some form of vinyl decal that can be peeled off with ease if you follow these steps correctly. 

Grab a hairdryer and plug it in. Turn it on and direct the nozzle onto the stripes on your car’s body.

This should gradually begin to melt the adhesive backing layer and you should soon be able to slide a plastic paint scraper tool or credit card underneath. Use this to edge along the decal, gradually and gently lifting it off of the body of the car. 

As more is pulled up, you should be able to grasp the loose end with your finger and pull it off like this. If there are stubborn spots, you can use a little adhesive thinner and apply more heat to lift them off. Once completely removed, wipe over with a sponge to remove all residue traces. 

Is WD-40 safe on car paint?

Yes, WD-40 is safe to use on your car’s paint. That being said, the makeup of WD-40 means that it attracts a buildup of dirt, dust, and debris. The areas you use WD-40 on are likely to be covered for a few days, but the dirt levels will need to be wiped clean after this. 

It can be used to remove a variety of dirt that may accumulate on your car’s body. This includes decals, adhesive residue, bird droppings, and many other things.

Spray the WD-40 onto the area to be cleaned and allow it to sit for up to 1 minute. Use a non-abrasive sponge or soft cloth to wipe the paint and WD-40 off. Rinse well with a dish soap and warm water solution. 

WD-40 also makes a special industrial strength degreasing product which is ideal for cleaning those really tough grime buildups and oily residue on your hands and car parts. 

Is Goo Gone safe for car paint?

Yes, Goo Gone is safe for use on car paint. Goo Gone is a commercially available cleaner and solvent made from an oil base. It is particularly effective at removing stuck on chewing gum, oil, and grease.

It is designed to remove adhesive residue from a wide variety of surfaces, including car bodies. It is ideal to help remove any remnants of vinyl decals once they have been removed.

Many car experts swear by Goo Gone to help with the removal of pinstripes. All you need to do is spray the solvent onto the stained area and leave it to sit on the surface for between 3 and 5 minutes.

Once this time has elapsed, wipe the residue away using a clean and dry cloth. Use a solution of dish soap and warm water to wipe away any oily residue from the Goo Gone using a soft non-abrasive sponge.

How long does pinstriping last?

If you create your pinstripes properly and with the appropriate care and effort levels, your pinstripes should last for about 10 years. This figure does vary according to the paint used to create the pinstripes and the materials used on the body of the car. 

Additionally, the more frequently you wax and rub the body of your car, the more friction is created.

Over time this will cause the pinstripes to rub off a lot faster. The inclusion of a catalyst or hardener to the pinstriping enamel can increase the lifespan beyond even 10 years with proper care. 

Many people recommend waiting anywhere from 2 weeks to 1 month after you have pinstriped your vehicle to wax or polish it. This allows a decent length of time for your paint to cure and reduces the chances of it coming off when under duress. This will also reduce the chances of lifting and blushing. 

Is pinstriping still popular?

Pinstriping has declined in popularity over time, but it can still be found on many automobile enthusiasts’ cars. The practice was most popular in the 1950s and 1960 in America.

The post war culture encouraged people to have fun with their money. This led to a rise in car customization as people were spending more and living freely. 

Over time, as technology improved and aesthetic tastes changed, pinstriping began to disappear from the mainstream automobile market. Nowadays you are most likely to find pinstripes on custom cars and hot rods. These communities still appreciate the art of pinstriping. 

Commonly modern pinstripes are created using vinyl adhesive decals rather than the traditional paint.

Car experts predict that as times move forward, vinyl decals will ultimately replace enamel pinstriping paints. These are much easier to apply and remove, requiring much less time and skill to do a good job. 

What is the best pinstriping tape?

There are lots of different kinds of pinstriping tape available on the market. They are all relatively easy to apply and are used as a guideline for the pinstripes that you are painting. They are durable and tough to ensure they do not break during application. 

There are many different pinstripe widths to suit your design aesthetic. They are all designed specifically for use on cars, meaning that the adhesive has been designed to not damage your car’s existing paintwork.

Pinstriping tape comes in a huge range of colors, and all are very UV resistant to be able to resist the sun’s rays. Pinstriping tape costs anywhere from $2.99 to $25. Many people opt for the 3M Scotchcal striping tape. This is a thicker pinstripe tape, but you can also get thinner ones such as 2M. 

What kind of paint do you use for pinstriping?

The most commonly used paint is 1 Shot enamel, created over 60 years ago with the intention of being used on signs. This comes in a large variety of colors and with many additives designed to complement the enamel. 

Some people choose to add 10% 1 Shot hardener to increase durability. This catalyzes the enamel paint and makes it dry with a much harder exterior.

If you do this, you should not add the hardener to the enamel in the can. Instead, you should pour out the amount you expect to use and add the hardener to this.

Many of the 1 Shot pinstripes are covered with a clear coat for an increased lifespan. If you are going to do this then you should allow the enamel to dry for at least 24 hours before coating over it.

Modern automobile customizers opt for urethane paint, where there is no need to use a hardener. These also dry within an hour and there are a huge number of color options.

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