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Made by Monkeys

Parking Decal Puts Driver in Sticky Spot

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Elizabeth M
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Blogger
Tricky stickers
Elizabeth M   7/2/2014 9:06:48 AM
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Your story is a familiar one to me, although I've never had this problem with parking decals. However, it's taken me ages and some serious ingenuity to remove some adhesives from stickers from my van. There has got to be a better way to design some of these adhesives to make them strong yet easy to remove.

JimT@Future-Product-Innovations
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Blogger
Re: Tricky stickers
JimT@Future-Product-Innovations   7/2/2014 1:37:28 PM
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There have been several occasions when I think of this Made-By-Monkeys column, and think it might also to be appropriate to call the column Managed-By Monkeys. In this case, it probably was a management cost-cutting decision made, absent of any forethought or testing of the actual use case.  Simply a bone-headed decision to change to a cheaper material.

Elizabeth M
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Tricky stickers
Elizabeth M   7/3/2014 5:36:19 AM
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JimT, you're right. Management seems to blame for this one and often for silly decisions made by companies in terms of materials and products. Of course, cost-cutting measures are often to blame. But the old adage "you get what you pay for" is an adage for a reason.

nobbsy
User Rank
Iron
Re: Tricky stickers
nobbsy   7/2/2014 7:12:05 PM
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Hey there Tricky Stickers

Removing decals and stickers from cars is a constant enquiry I get.

FYI generally older stickers are harder to remove due to the adhesive used. These days, you can ask for car stickers to be installed with easy to to remove adhesive that makes it much easier

If you are trying to remove old parking stickers you can use a plastic razor blade (see ebay.com.au) or a whizzy wheel (see www.decalstickerremover.com) for video demo's of removing parking stickers

Best of luck

Peter

Elizabeth M
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Tricky stickers
Elizabeth M   7/3/2014 5:54:52 AM
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Thanks for the advice, Peter. I'm sure not only me but a lot of our readers can use this when trying to remove stubborn stickers and decals from surfaces.

jrh_engineer
User Rank
Silver
Re: Tricky stickers
jrh_engineer   7/24/2014 7:40:07 PM
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I have long dreamed of the day when all stickers would be mandated to have a small logo on them which identified the adhesive type. This would mean that one could reach for the correct solvent first time. I do recognise that the chances of this happening are, to put it mildly, infinitesimal. But, one can always hope...

patb2009
User Rank
Gold
unremovable decals
patb2009   7/2/2014 2:28:42 PM
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I have dealt with this by taking the decal and applying it to a thin square of glass

and then taking some double sided tape or 

adhesive putty and attaching the glass square into the windshield.

 

it's usually strong enough to stay in and it changes out quick.  

When i remove it, i can then take the square of glass, soak it properly, use a razor

with ease or scrub it

 

it's handy if i sell the car, i can then remove the decal and transfer it to the new car.

pelengr17
User Rank
Iron
Re: unremovable decals
pelengr17   7/3/2014 11:46:25 AM
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I had the same problem in college, cheap paper backed parking stickers.  My trick was to take the sticker and remove all but about a 1/4" of the wax paper backing from the top and bottom (more than enough for good adhesion) then I took some clear plastic wrap from the kitchen drawer and applied it to the exposed adhesive and trimmed off the excess.  That left me with just a couple small strips of adhesive to stick it to the windshield and make removal much easier.  You could leave 1/8" on each end and still have plenty of holding power. The clear plastic wrap was easy to see through and the parking nazis never bothered me.

EVprofessor
User Rank
Gold
Re: unremovable decals
EVprofessor   7/3/2014 12:25:12 PM
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The paper "Sticker" sounds like the adhesive used for "Bumper Stickers" and it is very tenatious. I have for many years used "WD-30" to remove them. if porus paper just soak them with spray if rhey are plastic peal the surface of the sticker off and spray the adhesieve and residue. next day wipe the mess off with a paper towel. This Works!

RPLaJeunesse
User Rank
Iron
Re: unremovable decals
RPLaJeunesse   7/3/2014 2:07:10 PM
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I'll go 10 better. I've used WD-40 to do the same job!

JaForster
User Rank
Iron
There is a simple solution
JaForster   7/3/2014 8:46:15 AM
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Reading the trials of sticker removal makes me ask the question - what is the purpose of the adhesive?  Is it to keep the tag in a specific location, i.e. stop it from moving around?

Is it to stop potential theft?  i.e. make it difficult to remove so it is damaged during the removal process?

Seems that you have told us that the sticker is unique to the car and has details of the car registration and that the parking enforcement officers can check this detail.

If the purpose is only to identify a car which has a legal right to "park" then the answer seems simple - print the sticker on the thin polymer sheet - just like the reminders used by the rapid oil change companies.  The surface of the polymer is smooth and will "stick" to the glass.  This decal can have a simple bar code printed on it as well as all the other details so the attendant can read the details or scan with a mobile device to ensure it is valid and the right car etc etc.

Removal is simply to lift a corner and peel away.

 

 

 

GTOlover
User Rank
Platinum
Re: There is a simple solution
GTOlover   7/3/2014 9:40:30 AM
JaForster, that would make too much sense for a government beuracrat to understand. More than likely the sticker printer contract was up for renewal and some crony in the government chose one of his lobby buddies or campaign contributors for the new contract. This had nothing to do with materials, convienence, or efficiency. Those running the government do not concern themselves with the peons disgust of scrapping crappy stickers!

And just to make my point, do you remember when the oil lube places used to stick stickers on the door jam or under the hood? People complained and the business had to adapt. The nifty polymer sticker you point out was used and now they all use them. The businesses listened to their customers!

johnr
User Rank
Gold
Re: There is a simple solution
johnr   7/25/2014 6:34:07 PM
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For the use in the original article, this should work fine, since having the license plate number included on the sticker.  This would prevent transfering them between vehicles.  (Well, you could still transfer the sticker, but it would be easily detected.)

The company I work for uses the polymer material for the parking stickers we have to have, and they're very easy to remove and reapply.  When we sold one of our cars I removed the parking sticker, but I needed a place to keep it until we bought a replacement car.  So, I stuck the sticker in the corner of a kitchen window.  It ended up being a couple of years before we replace that vehicle, so in the meanwhile I could have legally parked our house in the parking lot at work ... if I somehow could have gotten it there!

armorris
User Rank
Platinum
Goo Gone
armorris   7/3/2014 9:11:11 AM
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I use something called "Goo Gone". I don't know what's in it, but it t works well and I have yet to see it damage plastic. It even says on the bottle that it can be used to remove stickers. It does leave an oily film behind, which you will have to wipe off after removing the sticker. I usually use it to remove the labels from plastic and glass bottles and jars for recycling.

Greg M. Jung
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Goo Gone
Greg M. Jung   7/4/2014 3:38:20 PM
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Goo Gone is awesome for removing adhesive residue.  I have had great success in the past using this product too.

Ratsky
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Goo Gone
Ratsky   7/8/2014 3:37:53 PM
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Me too.  BTW, the primary (maybe only) ingredient is orange oil.  It's a reasonably good general solvent but CAN damage a few types of plastic and latex paint if left too long in contact.  It's gotten fairly pricey, especially considering it's basically a byproduct of the OJ industry!

Greg M. Jung
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Goo Gone
Greg M. Jung   7/10/2014 9:58:16 AM
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If you like oranges, the smell is nice also...

Herb Johnson
User Rank
Bronze
Re: Goo Gone
Herb Johnson   7/25/2014 12:29:24 PM
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Automotive stickers are hard to remove, and hard to remove intact, because the agencies who issue them, want to stop people from transferring those stickers to other cars. If they come off in pieces that serves that purpose. By design.

Glues respond to various solvents based on their chemistry. "Goo Gone" uses toluene which is pretty "strong" and will remove paints, has strong odor, and so on. Research "removing stains" or "removing glue" to get more information on both glues and solvents. I'd call doing that either "research" or "homework".

Who are the "monkeys" in this situation?

 

 

makirkwold
User Rank
Iron
Re: Goo Gone
makirkwold   7/25/2014 1:03:01 PM
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The "moneys" are the agencies who issue these stickers. The stickers are required to be removed every year and yet they have made it impossible (or just very difficult) do so.

LloydP
User Rank
Gold
REmoving decal goo from windows
LloydP   7/3/2014 6:02:15 PM
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I have successfully used creamy peanut butter to remove sticker residue from glass, bumpers, etc. The peanut oil seems to act as a solvent for the residue. Crunchy peanut butter tends to scratch the paint, though.

stn564
User Rank
Bronze
Non-Stick....yeah right
stn564   7/24/2014 6:16:28 PM
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Best one I had was a non-stick frying pan.  But the label in the middle of the pan stuck to it very well.  I could not get it off and no solvents seemed to work.  I returned it to the shop, and apparently I was not the first one to do so....

Randy Butturini
User Rank
Iron
An even simpler solution
Randy Butturini   8/6/2014 3:36:41 PM
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We finally gave up with the flimsy stickers and their industrial strength glue.  When our yearly sticker arrived.  We affixed it to a sheet of plastic food wrap, then trimmed the edges.  Now you have a sticker where you decide what the adhesive is.  The most convenient for us was an office glue stick.  One dab in each corner, and the sticker would stay all year.  Of course replacement was a snap (or should i say a stick).

Matt G.
User Rank
Iron
Simple solvent for removing adhesive
Matt G.   8/6/2014 6:42:01 PM
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I am surprised that no one mentioned using Naptha to remove the adhesive.  It is a great adhesive solvent and, usually, does not affect paint or most plastics.  Unfortunately, in California we can no longer purchase Naptha at Home Depot, Lowes or other DIY stores.  Naptha was the solvent used for rubber cement removal in graphic work.  The "approved" substitute removes paint and will soften many plastics.  Don't tell anyone, but the Zippo type lighter fluid is Naptha and works just fine. 

Cadman-LT
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Simple solvent for removing adhesive
Cadman-LT   8/20/2014 10:35:07 AM
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Matt G, thanks. I won't tell anyone!

autoengineer
User Rank
Iron
Window Stickers
autoengineer   9/4/2014 8:41:58 PM
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I commend those who are cognizant of the effects of solvents on the plastic of the 'dash', ie instrument panel. Using the wrong solvent may result in embrittlement of the plastic and eventual sudden collapse of the instrument panel from the car's body. This usually occurs during driving due to vibration and results in severe injury or death from the ensuing accident.

As far as the stickers, I attach them to something clear like a piece of plastic or food stretch wrap then use clear packaging tape to apply it to the window. The tape is easy to remove after only 1 year and usually leaves no glue on the glass.

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