How To Remove Pinstripes From Your Car: A Quick Guide

Learning how to remove pinstripes from a car is easy without ruining the vehicle’s paint job. Use a heat gun or rubbing alcohol to peel off vinyl pinstripes quickly or an electric drill with a suitable pinstripe remover to remove painted stripes.

Remove Vinyl or Painted Pinstripes from a Car

We will take you through our detailed guide on these methods below, including the tools you’ll need for each method. By the end of the guide, you’ll be able to remove your car pinstripes like a pro!

How To Get Rid of Vinyl or Painted Pinstripes on Your Car?

To get rid of vinyl or painted pinstripes on your car, you must choose from various effective strip removal methods. Heat and rubbing alcohol are popular techniques for removing vinyl pinstripes. Use a drill with the best pinstripe remover on painted stripes.

A couple of decades ago, pinstripes were an excellent trend for owners to enhance their car’s external appearance on a budget. Although the practice is not as widespread today, many people still find the visual effects of pinstriping appealing.

If you had done it, you might now choose to remove the pinstripes from your car for different reasons. Perhaps you find the pinstripes no longer attractive. You may also be planning to sell the vehicle and want that pristine look a potential buyer wants. Whatever your reason may be, it’s essential to learn how to remove vinyl or painted pinstripes from a car.

The following are the standard methods for people to remove pinstripes. Choose the one that best works for you:

  • A Heat Gun For Vinyl Pinstripes

Heat quickly weakens vinyl adhesives, making it easier to peel out the pinstripes.

Heat Gun For Vinyl Pinstripes

Once you remove the pinstripes, you can use a suitable chemical to remove the glue residue. So, these are

the thing you’ll need to get started:

  1. A heat gun (or blow dryer)
  2. A reliable adhesive-removing spray (e.g., Goo Gone, WD-40, or acetone)
  3. Clean microfiber cloth
  4. An old credit card (or piece of plastic with a sharp edge. Avoid razors to reduce the risk of causing scratches on the paint job)

Using your heat, heat up the pinstripe, starting by its edges, from where you’ll be peeling it away. Ensure the heat source is close enough but don’t leave the heat in one spot. You don’t want to damage your car paint. The best way is to direct the heat in even sweeps to avoid it.

Apply the heat for about 5 minutes, and repeatedly check to ensure the pinstripe has softened and the edges are getting raised. When you find that the pinstripe has started to loosen, use the old credit card to peel off the pinstripe from the edge. Run the card underneath the adhesive slowly and carefully to remove it from the car’s surface. Do it as slowly as possible to avoid scraping out the pain.

Keep applying the heat on the adhesive as you peel the pinstripe away until you remove it completely. Once the pinstripe is out, spray your adhesive remover to remove any residual by wiping it out using your clean microfiber cloth. That should eventually leave the vehicle sparkling clean.

The secret to successfully removing the adhesive is patience. The solvent (spray) may take time to react with the glue. So, once you spray, allow it reasonable sitting time before wiping it with a clean cloth. Rushing this exercise may end up scratching and ruining your vehicle’s paint job.

  • Use an Electric Drill To Remove Painted Pinstripes

A drill with a unique pinstripe removal wheel (disc) effectively removes car pinstripes. The best part of using this technique is that it’s quick.

Electric Drill To Remove Painted Pinstripes

It’s also ideal for stubborn pinstripes that other methods wouldn’t handle properly. Before you start, these are

the pinstripe removal tools you’ll need:

  1. The drill
  2. A disc explicitly designed to get rid of pinstripes (experts recommend the Stripe Off Wheel from 3M)
  3. Car shampoo
  4. A bucket of clean, warm water
  5. A clean microfiber cloth
  6. Adhesive remover spray

First, you must clean the car to remove accumulated dust and dirt. Pour some car shampoo into the bucket of warm water and mix well. Next, use the mixture to clean the car surface with the help of the microfiber cloth. This step is essential to remove pinstripes without damaging the paint job.

Once the car is clean and dry, attach the 3M pinstripe remover to the drill. The pinstripe remover contains polyurethane foam and works like a rubber eraser. Now set the drill on a low speed and start pressing on the pinstripe from one end. Ensure you apply gentle pressure to avoid scratches.

You might need a heat source to loosen up the vinyl pinstripe first. That would make it easier to remove it with the drill. Lastly, spray an adhesive remover to eliminate the residue when all the pinstripes come out. As mentioned, Goo Gone is one of the best sprays. Wipe the car with your clean cloth to leave it in pristine condition!

  • Rubbing Alcohol for Vinyl Pinstripes

Rubbing alcohol is an excellent choice for removing vinyl because, just like heat, it also loosens up the adhesive. You can buy this multipurpose liquid at the supermarket or in drug stores. Ensure you have

the following items handy before you start:

  1. Rubbing alcohol
  2. A clean microfiber cloth
  3. Car shampoo
  4. A bucket of warm water
  5. Masking tape
  6. Paper cloths
  7. A pair of gloves

You can always use isopropyl alcohol, lacquer thinner or acetone to remove pinstripes if you can’t find rubbing alcohol. They work well. These liquids are toxic, and you must handle them with a great car. Keep them out of reach of children.

First, clean the car thoroughly, including the pinstripes, to remove any dirt. Use the water and shampoo; once the car is clean, allow it time to dry. Next, cover the region surrounding the pinstripes using masking tape. That will keep your vehicle’s paint job from accidental damage.

Now apply the rubbing alcohol (isopropyl alcohol or thinner) to the pinstripe with the help of a paper cloth. Lightly rub the liquid on the pinstripes, including the edges. Dip the fabric into the alcohol repeatedly and rub it into the pinstripes in circular motions. Let it sit for about 5 minutes.

This time will allow the adhesive to loosen up. Once you see the pinstripe losing its grip, start peeling it off from one of the edges. Ensure you’re wearing gloves to avoid touching the alcohol directly. Apply more alcohol whenever you meet resistance while peeling the pinstripe off.

Another popular pinstripe removal is using an aerosol called 3M’s Woodgrain & Stripe Remover. Spraying this product sparingly on the stripes will effectively loosen the adhesive on the vinyl and make it easier to peel them out using a plastic scraper. Its effectiveness reduces the risk of damaging the underlying paint job.

Whichever method you choose, always use an adhesive remover to eliminate the ugly residue left behind. Moreover, it’s also advisable to use a polishing compound or swirl mark eliminator. This is to help get rid of minor, unsightly scratches. You may also need to apply wax on any affected area, including those where the pinstripes were, to keep your car shiny and looking new.

  • Hire a Professional To Remove Car Pinstripes

Hiring a professional to remove car pinstripes can cost between $50 to $200. The exact cost depends on the number and complexity of the pinstripes.

Hire a Professional To Remove Car Pinstripes

You can save most of this money by doing it yourself instead, especially if you have readily available tools.


– How Easy Is It To Remove Vinyl Pinstripe From Cars?

To know how easy it is to remove vinyl pinstripes from cars, apply gentle heat on the pinstripes. The heat breaks down the adhesive and quickly loosens it up. Afterward, you can easily peel it off (using your hand) and wipe away any residue using a suitable adhesive remover.

– Why Do People Choose to Apply Pinstripes on Their Cars?

People choose to apply pinstripes on their cars generally as decoration. Pinstripes enhance the exterior of a vehicle without impacting its aerodynamics. Nowadays, people apply these decors using vinyl tapes, which are easier to remove without damaging the paint job if needed.

Are there permanent vinyl pinstripes for cars? Knowing whether there are permanent vinyl pinstripes for cars depends on whether the stripes are removable. For example, the Oracal 651 vinyl pinstriping tape decals use one of the strongest adhesives that can last many years. However, it can still be removed if the proper methods are used.

Can a Breaker Bar Be Used to Remove Pinstripes from a Car?

Using a breaker bar effectively, it is possible to remove pinstripes from a car. The breaker bar provides the necessary leverage to loosen and detach the adhesive holding the pinstripes in place. By applying controlled pressure, one can gradually scrape off the pinstripes without causing damage to the car’s surface.

Can Removing Pinstripes Help Hide My Car from Repossession?

Removing pinstripes is not a foolproof method for hiding your car from repossession. Lenders use advanced tracking technology and rely on various methods to locate vehicles in default. While it may temporarily confuse some, it won’t deter determined repo agents. To protect your car, explore legal options, consult a financial advisor, and prioritize clear communication with your lender. These are the best tricks for hiding your car.

Can the Methods Used to Remove Broken Bolts from an Engine Block Also Be Applied to Removing Pinstripes from a Car?

When it comes to removing pinstripes from a car, the methods used for removing broken bolts from an engine block are not applicable. Pinstripes require a different approach, such as using adhesive removers or heat guns to loosen the vinyl. Therefore, techniques used for “removing broken bolts from engine block” cannot be used for eliminating pinstripes from a car.

Can Removing Pinstripes From Your Car Cause Any Damage to the Tire Sidewall?

Yes, removing pinstripes from your car can potentially cause damage to the tire sidewall. The adhesive used to attach the pinstripes can leave residue that may weaken the tire, leading to potential air leaks or even a tire bubble. If this happens, you may need to learn how to fix tire bubble.


We have discussed some popular, effective methods to remove vinyl or painted pinstripes from a car.

Let’s leave you with a brief summary of the points we mentioned above:

  • The most common ways to remove vinyl pinstripes are heat, rubbing alcohol, or aerosols like the 3M’s Woodgrain & Stripe Remover.
  • Painted stripes are easier to remove using a drill with a suitable pinstripe remover.
  • It’s essential to use an adhesive remover to eliminate residue and wax for polishing any scratches away, regardless of your chosen method.
  • Be calm and patient while removing vinyl or painted pinstripes to minimize the risk of damage on the paint job.

You are now informed regarding some safe methods for paint or vinyl pinstripes removal. What remains is for you to choose one of the methods above, gather the tools, and shine your car!

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