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How to Remove Decals and Graphics on an RV

by Steve
(California)

Ways to Remove Peeling or Cracking Vinyl Graphics on Your RV

Ways to Remove Peeling or Cracking Vinyl Graphics on Your RV

How hard is it to replace the decals on a 1997 35' Southwind? Where can you purchase new decals, and about do they cost?

ANSWER: Hi Steve thanks for your question. If the graphics on your RV are not painted on, you can use any of the methods listed below to remove your RV's RV decals.

Usina a Magic Wheel to Remove the Vinyl Graphics from Your RV


You can do like a lot of professional paint, and body shops do and use a Eraser Wheel which fits on a 3/8" Electric Drill

Eraser Wheel

These wheels (like the one pictured above), when used properly, do an excellent job of removing stripes, RV Decals, glue, etc. regardless of how long they have been on your RV. This quick and easy method will not damage your RV's finish as long as you keep in mind that the wheels are designed to run at an optimum speed of 2,000 RPM plus or minus 200 RPM.

Depending on the number of graphics you need to remove, you may need several of these wheels to complete the job.

Watch the video below to see how easy it is to use one of these wheels like the 3M Stripe Off Wheel.

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Using a Heat Gun to Remove RV Vinyl Graphics



heat gun

1. Start by heating the decal with a hair dryer or heat gun. This will soften the adhesive, making it easier to remove.

2. Once the decal is heated, use a scraper or a credit card to gently scrape the decal off the surface. Be careful not to scratch the surface of the RV.

3. If the decal is still attached to the surface, apply more heat and continue scraping until the decal is completely removed.

4. Once the decal is removed, use a cleaner specifically designed for removing adhesives, such as Goo Gon, to remove any remaining residue.

5. Wipe the surface down with a clean cloth to remove the cleaner and any remaining residue.

6. If the decal left a stain on the surface of the RV, you may need to use a more heavy-duty cleaner or sand the surface to remove the stain.

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Using Adhesive Removers to Remove RV Vinyl Graphics


1. Clean the surface of the RV to remove any dirt or debris that may be stuck to the decal.

2. Apply the adhesive remover to a cloth and dab it onto the decal. Be sure to cover the entire decal with the solution.

3. Allow the adhesive remover to sit on the decal for the time recommended by the manufacturer. This will usually be at least several minutes but could be as long as several hours.

4. Use a scraper or a credit card to gently scrape the decal off the surface. Be careful not to scratch the surface of the RV.

5. If the decal is still attached to the surface, apply more adhesive remover and continue scraping until the decal is completely removed.

6. Once the decal is removed, use a clean cloth to wipe away any remaining adhesive remover or residue.

7. If the decal left a stain on the surface of the RV, you may need to use a more heavy-duty cleaner or sand the surface to remove the stain.

Remember to use caution when using any of the methods above as you will be working with adhesive removers and other chemicals which can be hazardous if ingested or if they come into contact with your skin or eyes. Follow the manufacturer's instructions carefully, and wear protective gloves and goggles when using these products.

Now that you have removed your old decals, you need to replace them with new ones; I urge you to read our answer to Where Can We Get New Decals for Our RV?

Happy RVing

RVing Al

Comments for How to Remove Decals and Graphics on an RV

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Replacement decals
by: Anonymous

Does anyone have an answer to his question about where to purchase new decals?

Editor's Note: You might want to read our answer to: Where Can We Get New Decals For Our RV?

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Boat
by: Anonymous

This would probably work on an older, metal fishing boat too? We want to repaint it and it has old stripes etc on the sides.

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removing decals
by: Anonymous


decals

The finish under the decals will be intact, although you may need to clean up small amounts of remaining adhesive before applying new graphics.

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removing old graphics
by: Anonymous


heat guns

I would say the heat gun is your best bet. I have used this method many times. Clean the area well with an alcohol wipe before applying new graphics.

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Removing stripes from RV
by: Mike


heat guns

The eraser wheel works very well and will not hurt the finish if properly done, but I chose to use a small heat gun to remove the stripes on my 1984 Coachmen popup. I suppose a hair dryer would work also, maybe even better because it generates less heat. I then taped my RV and painted new stripes to replace the old stripes which were faded, cracked, and brittle. The new stripes look great!

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removing decals
by: Anonymous

after you get the decal off, then do you have to repaint or is the finish intact??

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