Making room for a cutie mark
April 30, 2012 4:17 PM   Subscribe

Help me get what's left of a magnet off my car's butt!

So, back in the Bush years, I put a snarky anti-ribbon ribbon from on my car. After a few years, I was washing my car, and found that there was a whole bunch of dirt caked underneath it. I took it off, washed the car, washed the magnet in the sink, and replaced it.

A few years after that, it was starting to fade, and I went to pull it off--and found it was completely stuck. Parts of it came off, but they simply broke away from the center, which was stuck on fast. I managed to get little bits of it off while ruining the edge of a plastic putty knife, but I eventually got to the point where it was only taking off the surface, cutting directly into the magnet itself. Someone recommended Goof Off, but that had no effect whatsoever.

Then I let it sit for another few years. I know, brilliant.

Now I'm really sick of it. Is there any way to get this thing off without taking the paint with it, or should I just give up?
posted by darksasami to Grab Bag (13 answers total)
Try using a hairdryer or heat gun with gentle prying.
posted by NoraCharles at 4:30 PM on April 30, 2012

Rather than pulling up, does it move along the surface at all?
posted by jwells at 4:37 PM on April 30, 2012

Response by poster: Rather than pulling up, does it move along the surface at all?

It does not move in any way. It gives every impression of being fused to the surface, as if it had been melted there. (Not that it shows signs of actual melting.)
posted by darksasami at 4:44 PM on April 30, 2012

Heat guns have worked extremely well for me in similar circumstances. You just have to be super careful and not leave the gun in one spot for too long (or hold it too close to the car), because things can go south *very* quickly. (Did I melt all the F-keys off of my MacBook one time? ...maybe.)
posted by thejoshu at 4:53 PM on April 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

Have you tried using a power washer yet?
posted by SMPA at 5:21 PM on April 30, 2012

I would agree that a heat gun is the answer.... start a bit further back, moving closer over time with the heat gun..take your time.... and, continue to use the plastic putty knife, or an old credit card to pry/scrape it off.

And this is not the answer I would have given to this question when I originally read it as "Help me get what's left of a magnet off my cat's butt."
posted by HuronBob at 5:31 PM on April 30, 2012 [4 favorites]

Response by poster: I'll have to try the heat gun approach as soon as I can secure one, and a sunny day to try it on. Right now I don't have either.

HuronBob, I read it the same way just now, and I wrote it.
posted by darksasami at 6:19 PM on April 30, 2012

Yup, couldn't imagine why a magnet would stick to a cat's butt. However, if there was a way a cat could get stuck to a magnet, I'm sure someone's cat has done it.

If the heat gun method doesn't work, try soaking it with WD-40 iusing several applications, then scrape.
posted by BlueHorse at 6:37 PM on April 30, 2012

Something oily like Goo Gone or maybe even just olive oil. This happened to me too!
posted by jay dee bee at 6:46 PM on April 30, 2012

Careful with solvents and car paint.

If the problem is grip, clean the surface well, dry it well, put a layer of good duct tape on it, which should give you much more of a grip and help you peel it up.

Otherwise, yeah, heat gun and a *plastic* scraper. Unless you really don't care about the car finish.
posted by eriko at 7:16 PM on April 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

darksasami: "It gives every impression of being fused to the surface,"

Probably because it has. Leaving one of those 'plastic' magnets on a painted surface for several years will lead to the two becoming fused. Try the suggestions about heat gun, scraper etc, but don't expect anything better than getting rid of the lump so another magnet will stick easily to the same spot - the paint is almost certainly irreparably damaged. Be careful with heat and car paint and remember that the metal underneath will heat up quickly and may blister the paint (not necessarily in the exact spot you are trying to treat) if you apply too much heat.
posted by dg at 8:33 PM on April 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

Try soaking it with WD-40.
posted by wongcorgi at 10:44 AM on May 1, 2012

Consider trying Goo-Gone. But yeah, like dg says, it may have actually fused to your car and you might be SOL, sorry!
posted by easily confused at 7:30 PM on May 1, 2012

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