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auto body prep-work to do yourself

When you take your car in for auto body work, the mechanic will have a lot of work to do. Each minute that the mechanic spends prepping your car to make the repairs is money that you will owe when the repairs are finished. So, is there anything that you can do to make the mechanic's job a little easier and lower the cost of the repairs for you? This blog is all about preparing vehicles for auto body repairs. Here, you will learn what prep-work you can do at home so that the repairs are completed more quickly and the cost is less.

auto body prep-work to do yourself

How To Remove Emblems From Your Vehicle

by Jeremy Hudson

It's not unusual to see a high-end European sports car or sedan sporting fewer emblems than it originally came from the factory with. That's because many car owners remove these emblems to improve the aesthetic value of their vehicles or to make a base model nearly indistinguishable from top-tier variants. Removing emblems can also give your car's exterior a much cleaner look, especially if you plan on plasti-dipping your ride.

The following offers a step-by-step guide on removing emblems from your vehicle without causing serious damage to the paint finish.

Emblem Removal Steps

Preparation is the key when it comes to any sort of detail work. Before you get started, use a no-rinse car wash solution to clean the area immediately surrounding the emblem. This way, you won't have to worry about dirt or grime interfering with the emblem removal process.

Afterwards, perform the following steps to carefully remove the emblem of your choice from the vehicle surface:

  • Use a heat gun or hair dryer to heat up the adhesive holding the emblem to the surface. Hold the heat gun or hair dryer 3 to 4 inches away from the emblem and move it in a constant sweeping motion to avoid damaging the paint finish.
  • Once the adhesive has softened, use a putty knife to carefully pry the emblem away from the surface. Slide the putty knife behind the emblem and work your way across the emblem until it comes loose. If necessary, apply heat while you're using the putty knife.
  • After removing the emblem, soften the remaining adhesive with the heat gun and carefully scrape it off the surface with the putty knife. As an alternative, you can let the adhesive cool down and then roll most of it off using your fingertips.

Cleanup Tips

After removing the emblem and most of the adhesive that once held it in place, you'll probably see some slight residue where the emblem once stood. Use an adhesive removal spray that's safe for automotive paint to remove the majority of the leftover residue.

Afterwards, you'll notice that there's still a faint, almost ghostly outline where the emblem used to be. In some cases, you might not be able to completely remove the outline without removing the clear coat along with it. Instead, the goal here is to make the emblem outline almost invisible without damaging the clear coat.

Use a clay bar to pick up as much residue as possible. Run the clay bar across the surface a few times and then carefully wipe down and polish the surface until the outline either disappears outright or becomes barely noticeable with the naked eye. Again, make sure to not polish the entire clear coat away from the emblem area.

Correcting Nicks and Scratches

If you accidentally scratch the clear coat, you'll want to polish as much of the scratch away as possible without polishing away the clear coat itself. Apply a gentle polishing compound to a microfiber cloth and carefully polish the scratch until it blends in with the rest of the surrounding clear coat. Buff the area dry with a clean cloth when you're finished.

If the scratch reaches beyond the clear coat and hits the base coat or primer, then you'll need to use touch-up paint to restore the surface. Find the proper touch-up paint that best matches your car's current color, use it to fill in the scratch and then let it dry overnight. Once it's dry, use fine-grit sandpaper to wet-sand the area until it blends in with the surrounding surface. You can hit the area with some polishing compound and a microfiber cloth to restore the area's original appearance.

For more help with this kind of project, contact an auto body repair shop.