Door edge guards are designed to protect your car from nicks and dings, so it makes sense that if and when you need to remove one, you want it come off easily and without damaging the paint you installed it to protect.
Proper door edge guard removal starts with proper door edge guard installation, which can be handled in 15 minutes or less. The more care you take when applying the edge trim, the better. When properly installed, the door edge guards will take the abuse that would otherwise damage the appearance and value of your vehicle: chips and scuffs from doors opening into sidewalks, trees, planters, and even other cars.
That said, when it comes time to retire these trusted protectors (as in remove your door edge guards) to make way for some fresh, new ones, there are some steps you can take to ensure the task goes smoothly and preserves the sleek, unblemished lines of your car or truck.
1. Apply Heat to Door Edge Guard
First, apply heat to the door edge guards as you peel them off. Actually, the easiest way to do this is to leave your car in the sun for a while, especially on a warm day. The naturally heated doors will help the door edge guards peel off smoothly. You don’t have to wait for a particularly blue-sky, thermometer-pushing afternoon, though. Simply plug in a hair dryer and aim it at your target for a bit before you gently pull away each line of trim from top to bottom. Remember that you’re not cooking anything here; you’re softening up the adhesive.
2. Peel Off Door Edge Guard
When you’re ready to get to the actual door edge guard removal step, don’t just grab a loosening line at the top and yank down. You should remove door edge guards like you’re tearing the perforated edge of a check or sheet of old-school printer paper you don’t want to rip. Work your hand downward, always pulling at the trim still stuck to the edge immediately below the trim that has already come free. You should be able to quickly remove an entire line this way.
3. Remove Excess Door Edge Adhesive
As you can tell, it’s easy to remove door edge guards — even when their removal frequently leads to another task. To truly finish the job, you next need to know how to remove car door edge trim adhesive.
If your door edge guards have been in place for any good amount of time, you may notice a line of dirt running along where they formerly sat. This mix of stickiness and grime may not wipe off with a simple application of a wet rag. There may also be residue left behind where the guard pressed against the door. So how to remove this car door edge protector glue and associated street dirt?
First of all, heat is still your friend at this step, as it softens any leftover adhesive residue.
There are plenty of adhesive removers you can buy to rub onto sticky spots in your mission to fully clean the area, and these are generally fine. Just be sure to read the label and determine whether the product you buy is intended and/or safe for use on cars or trucks. When searching for the product that’s right for your door edge guard removal efforts, look for “adhesive remover” or “bug and tar remover” in the name or description. The instructions and fine print can let you know how safe it is to use on your car. Some say they “will not harm most cured automotive paints,” so be careful.
The adhesive used to hold door edge guards in place may also come off if rubbed gently with a natural cotton cloth and mineral spirits. Work in small sections, and rinse frequently to ensure that no residue from the glue or the solvent is left behind to dry on the paint.
4. Clean Up
In fact, once the residue is all gone, it’s a good idea to give the whole thing a gentle once-over clean. You may be focusing on door edge guard removal, but your whole car could probably use a wash, too. Once it’s properly cleaned and dried, your vehicle will be ready for what you’ve got in store for it next, right down to the edges. Remember, it’s important to clean everything thoroughly to preserve your car’s paint job, as well as make sure the surface is free of any dust or residue so you can install a new set of pristine door edge guards.