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How To Get That #@%! City Sticker Off Your Windshield

The Parking Ticket Geek

The Geek is an idiot, who gets a lot of parking tickets, and knows how to fight back.

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Every June, or early July, it's the same thing.

You go to put your new Chicago city vehicle sticker on your windshield, but you have to remove last year's first.

And that damn thing is a real bitch to remove!

You try peeling it off, picking at it with a fingernail, or battling with it using your trusty razor blade, hacking away as shards of sticker spray onto your dashboard and car floor. It's always a pain in the ass. And when you're done, you need an aspirin and a stiff drink.

There has to be an easier way.

Actually, there seems to be several easier ways.

The Parking Ticket Geek went out on a quest to venture out and round up all the best tips and advice for getting that #@%! off your windshield. And here's what he's found.

The first person I spoke to was Kristine Williams. She's the Information Coordinator for Chicago's City Clerk Office. She knows a lot about city stickers as her office issues over a million of these stickers every year.

Williams, gathered a couple of tips from staff and drivers who've come through the City Clerk's offices.

TIP #1

Spray Windex or warm water on the sticker first, then use a razor blade or a plastic pot scraper to remove the sticker from the windshield.

This first method seemed to be the most tried and true method. But Williams also had another, less traditional tip as well.

TIP #2

Cover the sticker with Scotch tape, so it extends a bit beyond the edges. Then, use a razor blade to cut around the sticker. It should peel off along with the tape.

I would guess 2" clear packing tape may work as well, if no better.

Tip #3

Then we thought it might be a good idea to try a  local hardware store to see what they suggest. Perhaps there was a power tool for the job.

We stumbled into Kabbe's True Value Hardware, at 2550 W. Diversey in the Avondale neighborhood and spoke to the friendly staff there.

"Lacquer thinner," said one of the clerks. "Soak it in a little lacquer thinner, and take a razor blade to it and it will come right off. Rubbing alcohol works too, but lacquer thinner is stronger and faster."

Unfortunately, the hardware store had no power tools for the job. I was shocked that even in the 21st Century, the classic razor blade is still the weapon of choice in removing decals from windshields.

TIP #4

The Angry Chicagoan proposes an idea that requires some foresight. He recommends treating your new city sticker in such a way, that next year, it can be removed easily with no elbow grease at all.

"Put a drop of dish washing liquid on the sticker," explains the Angry Chicagoan.  "run it all over the sticker so there is a thin film. It will dry out when you stick it to the windshield and you can easily remove it. You can't tell it's not permanently attached."

Hopefully, your city sticker doesn't completely detach over the course of the year, especially with the cold winters we have in Chicago.

TIP #5

Another pro-active idea like the Angry Chicagoan is invest about $5-$6 in Sticker Shield. It's a transparent plastic sleeve that you slip your city sticker into, and affix directly onto the windshield. Allegedly it's completely invisible if applied correctly.

The only problem is that it is technically illegal to use something like this. You can be ticketed ($120) because you are again, technically, not displaying your city sticker properly.

I have no idea how often people using or similar products, actually get caught and/or ticketed, but there have been readers who have been stung with a $120 ticket.

TIP #6

Another reader, named Loni, sent me a suggestion she used, which she found online. Loni says,

"Hack away at the of the city sticker with a razor blade until most of it is removed. Squirt WD-40 on the whatever pieces remaining, let it soak for a few moments. Then wipe with a damp cloth. That should take care of the rest."

Of course, I took to the internet to see what that wacky world wide web had to say on this earth shattering subject, when I came across...

TIP #7

I found this suggestion on several websites.

Set your hairdryer on the highest heat setting, and heat up the sticker for a few moments. After a few minutes, the adhesive should warm up to the point where it should come up pretty easily with a finger nail or razor blade. Use rubbing alcohol or an adhesive remover (acetone, lacquer thinner, Goo Gone) to remove the leftover adhesive.

TIP #8

Expensive, but certainly the easiest of the bunch.

Replace your windshield.

In general, it seems by using some sort of liquid, chemical or adhesive remover like Goo Gone (which I hear works really well), and a razor blade, you should have that old sticker off and the new city sticker on in a matter of minutes.

Good luck and please add your suggestions for removing city stickers to the comments.



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1 Comment

Aaron M. Renn said:


Windex is a must. Works every time.

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