Bumper stickers - whether you love them or you hate them, sometimes you have to scrape them off the back of your car. If you're not careful, you can wind up damaging the paint or leaving big, sticky patches and streaks on your bumper. However, with a bit of patience and the right tools you'll be able to peel off the stickers you once found so charmingly quaint or amusing.

What you'll need

Removing a bumper sticker is not as simple as just peeling it off, unfortunately. You're going to need a few things to make the process easier. Some people may recommend using a razor blade to peel back the sticker, but if you're not careful you might scratch the paint. Instead, you can get a rubber, or metal, spatula. Even a metal one won't be as sharp as a razor, so you won't have to worry as much, although you should still be careful. To make the removal process easier and get most of the adhesive off your car, you will need a hair dryer, rubbing alcohol and a clean cloth, and a spray lubricant such as WD-40.

Peeling off the sticker

You might hope to pull the bumper sticker off in one whole piece, but don't get your hopes up of adding the sticker to your scrapbook. After a long life on your car, the sticker is likely not in top condition due to all the weather it's been subjected to. Grab the hair dryer, crank the settings as high as they will go, and blast the sticker with heat for a few minutes to soften the adhesive.

Grab your spatula and use it to pry up an edge (preferably a corner) of the sticker. Slowly begin peeling the sticker back, taking care to pull it along the surface of the car and not straight up. When you encounter a stubborn area, you can use the WD-40 to loosen the sticker a bit. Patience is key if you want a clean removal, but don't fret if a piece breaks off. Just start with another piece and keep repeating the process until the sticker is removed.

Dealing with sticky residue

Once you've completely removed the sticker, you will likely find there is at least some trace of the glue that held the bumper sticker on your car. If the spray lubricant didn't remove all of it, you can use a bit of rubbing alcohol on a clean cloth to wipe the residue off the car. If it's stubborn, use the hair dryer and then apply the alcohol again.

Restore your car's shine

After you have destroyed any trace of the bumper sticker, you'll want to use a bit of wax to polish the freshly exposed surface. It likely hasn't seen the sun in some time, and when you removed the sticker you probably took any wax that was there along with it. If you haven't waxed your car in a while, this may be a good opportunity to give the whole vehicle a good polish. Just make sure you wash the car first to clean off any bits of dirt or debris from the surface.

When you've had a bumper sticker on your car for many years, you may find the pain underneath is much darker and richer than the rest of the surrounding surface, since it hasn't been exposed to the sun in a long time. You might want to have the bumper repainted to hide the patchy coloration.