How do you easily remove old accumulated registration stickers from a license plate?
September 23, 2009 10:42 PM   Subscribe

How do you easily remove old accumulated registration stickers from a license plate?

You know, how every time you get a new sticker, you're supposed to remove the old one before sticking the new one? Except you never do because it's easy to just put it on top of the old one. Suppose that I wanted to remove all the old ones. What's a good trick for that? Last time I tried it seemed very hard. There must be around 15 of them piled up by now.
posted by pantufla_milagrosa to Grab Bag (18 answers total)
Have you tried taking a razor to the plate and prying the bottom sticker off? That seems like it would work if you try to take them off all at once, rather than one at a time, since they're made to actually shred when you try to peel them off one at a time so people can't steal them from other cars.
posted by banannafish at 10:52 PM on September 23, 2009 [1 favorite]

Rubbing alcohol and a single-edged razor blade.
posted by not_on_display at 10:54 PM on September 23, 2009

I use Goo Gone and a tongue depressor (a popsicle stick would be fine too). Some people do it with a straight-edge razorblade, but I've found this scratches the reflective paint off of the new plates and generally just damages them.

My father used to use the liquid Bug & Tar remover, but I don't think you can actually find it in stores anymore. (The new stuff comes as a spray and it is not the same; the old stuff came in a bottle and you poured a little at a time out onto a rag. It was much more potent.)
posted by Kadin2048 at 10:54 PM on September 23, 2009

razor blade through the stickers and then use the blade to peel off the sections. worked for me no problem
posted by violetk at 11:05 PM on September 23, 2009

Putty knife.
posted by Zed_Lopez at 11:36 PM on September 23, 2009

WD-40 works for sticker removal if you don't have goo gone. Let it sit for 5-10 minutes and try peeling off.
posted by ijoyner at 11:36 PM on September 23, 2009

pocket knife works for me.
posted by rhizome at 11:57 PM on September 23, 2009

Try a hair dryer to heat them up. Might help.
posted by Taurid at 12:59 AM on September 24, 2009

Seconding WD-40.
posted by devnull at 1:33 AM on September 24, 2009

Oh yes, thirding WD-40, too... I forgot about the old adage: Anything you want to stick but doesn't, use duct tape; anything you want to unstick but won't, use WD-40. WD-40 is the best to get gluey things to become slimy instead of sticky.
posted by not_on_display at 3:56 AM on September 24, 2009

Hey, I just did the WD-40 this morning, using the edge of a metal nail file instead of a razor blade. Worked fine.
posted by Cuppatea at 5:31 AM on September 24, 2009

I've never had particularly great luck with WD-40 as an adhesive remover. Hair dryer might work, but try a kettle of boiling water poured over it, then scrape with an old credit card.
posted by paanta at 5:32 AM on September 24, 2009

btw, scoring your new registration sticker with a razorblade once its stuck on is a good idea to prevent it getting stolen. Learned this after I got a ticket for no sticker because mine had been swiped. Just run an xactoblade over it a few times and its useless to theives and still good for you.
posted by ElmerFishpaw at 6:16 AM on September 24, 2009

A sharp chisel.
posted by bonobothegreat at 6:35 AM on September 24, 2009

No one has mentioned denatured alcohol yet, so I'll mention it. Works better than isopropyl on bumper stickers, so it should work on those little registration stickers. It helps if you can score the old stickers so it can get underneath.
posted by leapfrog at 7:21 AM on September 24, 2009

Go to the DMV & get a new tag. Ours are replaced every five years because the reflective properties dim with age.
posted by torquemaniac at 7:53 AM on September 24, 2009

I'm a bit obsessive about removing stickers. X-acto makes a chisel point blade that is optimal for removing all manner of stuck things. It's easy to control and you can avoid damaging the substrate.
posted by Carmody'sPrize at 10:19 AM on September 24, 2009

Response by poster: So. Er. Thanks for all those replies. They look pretty useful. But guess what, turns out, this year I ended up putting the sticker on top of the old ones again. (I was at work and needed to put the sticker on to be able to take the car back into the world, and I didn't have the requisite tools.) Maybe next year...
posted by pantufla_milagrosa at 11:20 AM on October 14, 2009 [1 favorite]

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