You get vehicle graphics in all spirits, but there comes a point when you want to remove it. We get that! 

Removing sign writing from a van can be a challenging task, especially if the graphics have been on for a long time. However, with the right tools and techniques, it's possible to get rid of the signs and restore the original appearance of the van. 

Whether you're looking to repaint the vehicle, sell it, or simply change its look, removing sign writing is an important step. In this article, we'll cover the different methods about how to remove sign writing from a van and help you choose the best one for your needs.

Why Do You Need to Remove Signs From a Van?

Regardless of the reason, removing sign writing from a van is an important step to achieving the desired outcome. Some of the reasons why you might need to do so are as follows:


Removing sign writing is crucial when repainting a van as it provides a smooth surface for the new paint to adhere to. Leaving the signs on can result in an uneven and patchy finish.


Removing signs can increase the value of a used van and make it more appealing to potential buyers. A van without signs looks more professional and presentable.

Change of image

If a company changes its branding, it's important to remove outdated signs from its fleet of vans. This helps to modernise their image and gives a more professional appearance.

Personal preference

If someone no longer wants signs on their personal van, removing them can give the vehicle a fresh, clean look. This can make the van look newer and more attractive.

Is it Possible to Remove Vehicle Signs without Damaging the Paint?

Yes, it is possible to remove vehicle signs without damaging the paint. However, it's important to choose the right method and tools to ensure that the process is done safely and effectively. Here’s how to remove sign writing from a van.

Heat gun and scraper

The heat gun and scraper method for removing sign writing from a van involve the following steps:

Gather tools

You will need a heat gun, a scraper, and a solvent (such as mineral spirits) to clean the surface after removing the signs.

Heat the signs

Hold the heat gun 6-8 inches away from the sign and move it back and forth until the adhesive is soft and pliable. Be careful not to overheat the signs or the paint as this can cause damage.

Scrape the signs

Once the adhesive is soft, use a scraper to gently remove the signs. Start at a corner and work your way towards the centre, using a light touch to avoid damaging the paint.

Clean the surface

After removing the signs, use a solvent (such as mineral spirits) to clean the surface of any residue or adhesive.

Repeat as necessary

If the signs are not removed after one pass, heat and scrape the area again. Repeat the process until all signs have been removed.

This method requires some skill and patience, but it can be effective in removing sign writing without damaging the paint. It's important to work slowly and carefully to avoid damaging the surface.

Solvent method

If you are not a professional, and wondering how to remove sign writing from a van, this process might help. You will need a solvent (such as brake fluid), a scraper, and a clean cloth or rag.

Apply the solvent

Use a clean cloth or rag to apply the solvent to the sign writing. Be sure to work slowly and in small sections, avoiding any contact with the paint.

Wait for the solvent to work

Allow the solvent to sit on the sign writing for several minutes, or until the adhesive begins to soften.

Scrape the signs

Use a scraper to gently remove the signs, starting at a corner and working your way towards the centre. Be careful to avoid damaging the paint.

Clean the surface

After removing the signs, use a clean cloth or rag to wipe down the surface and remove any remaining solvent or residue.This method is effective in removing sign writing, but it requires caution and care to avoid damaging the paint. It's important to only use solvents recommended for use on vehicles and to follow the manufacturer's instructions carefully.

How to Remove the Ghosting?

Ghosting is a term used in the automotive industry to describe a faint outline or residue that remains on a vehicle after removing a vinyl graphic or decal. 

This outline is usually visible because it has caused a slight discolouration of the paint or because it has left behind a residue that can't be easily cleaned. Ghosting is a common issue when removing vinyl graphics or decals, especially if they have been on the vehicle for a long period of time or if they were not applied correctly.  It can be challenging to remove, but it can often remove by cleaning the surface, touching up the paint, sanding and polishing, or consulting a professional. If there is an outline left behind after removing the sign writing from a van, there are a few steps that can be taken to address it:

Clean the surface

Clean the surface thoroughly with a solvent or degreaser to remove any residue or dirt that may be affecting the visibility of the outline.

Touch up the paint

If the outline is small, you can use touch-up paint to cover it. Make sure to match the paint colour as closely as possible and apply it in thin, even coats.

Sand and polish

If the outline is more noticeable, you may need to sand down the surface and polish it to restore the paint finish. This can be done using fine-grit sandpaper and an orbital polisher.

Consult a professional

If the outline is extensive or if you're unsure about the process, it may be best to consult a professional auto detailer or body shop. By following these steps, you can effectively remove any outlines left behind after removing sign writing from a van.

Take Away

How to remove a sign writing from a van may be a tricky question. And, just to break it to you, even harder to do! So, if a professional service is needed for removing sign writing from a van, a few options to consider include:

Auto detailer: Many professional auto detailers offer services for removing sign writing and decals. They have the tools and expertise to remove the signs without damaging the paint.

Body shop: A body shop may also be able to assist with removing sign writing. They may have specialized equipment and technicians who can remove the signs and restore the paint finish.

For a new vehicle decal or graphic, you may consider Signworld. Signworld is a professional sign company that offers a wide range of services, including vehicle graphics and decals. 

They use high-quality materials and state-of-the-art printing technology to produce vibrant and long-lasting graphics that can help promote your business or personalize your vehicle. With their experience and expertise, Signworld can help you achieve the look you want for your vehicle.