Can I Ask a Dealer to Remove Its Branding Stickers From My New Car?

If you’re buying a car from a dealer, new or used, it will likely try to use you for free advertising. There are many different ways dealers try to use sales for advertising their branding. For some people, it might feel rude or awkward to ask for their removal. As a former dealer employee, I’ll tell you everything I know about dealer ad protocol and if it’s weird for a customer to ask these questions: Can I ask a dealer to remove its branding stickers from my new car? What about the plate frame or badges?

How do dealers put branding on cars?

An Infiniti dealership parking lot with many cars lined up. Can I ask a dealer to remove its branding stickers from my car?
Infiniti dealer lot | Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Dealers almost always sell new and used vehicles on their lots. Regardless of which you buy, they’re going to try to use you for advertising. There are a few different ways this is done. First, and most commonly, is a sticker. After a car reaches the dealer’s inventory, it’s often cleaned, then a sticker is applied to the back. Moreover, the dealer’s intention is for that sticker to stay with the vehicle for its life, well after the sale.

Next, dealers will sometimes put badges on the back of the car. This is what my former employer did. Badges are just small, plastic logos that perform the same function as a sticker. However, they’re usually a little bulkier and stand out better.

Finally, nearly every dealer has its own custom license plate frames. Since every inventory car that enters a dealer’s lot needs a service inspection, technicians are often told to put license plate frames on while the vehicle is in the shop. As a result, walking a dealer lot, you’ll notice every car has the same branded license plate frame. Usually, it will say the name of the dealer group and the automaker. Again, these frames will remain with the vehicle when your tags are applied to the car after your purchase.

Can I ask a dealer to remove its branding?

a Ford truck dealership
A Ford dealership with F-150s in the lot | David Paul Morris, Getty Images

Yes, there is no reason not to ask a dealer to remove all of its branding items. I’ve witnessed many customers clearly dislike the ads placed on their vehicles, but they felt too awkward to ask for their removal. Rest assured, the salesperson you’re working with does not care. In addition, it’s also very easy to remove all of these items.

The license plate frame in particular, which you can easily do yourself (use Wikihow) or just have the salesperson do it. Nearly every license plate comes off with two screws, so don’t worry if you want to go home and do it yourself. Alternatively, we’d recommend having the dealer’s detailers remove stickers or badges from a vehicle. Unfortunately, someone who doesn’t know what they’re doing could harm the paint of a car trying to take these off.

Nearly every vehicle gets detailed during the sale, so just ask your salesperson before the car is taken to get cleaned. That employee will alert detailers to remove all branding. Detailers have tools for carefully scraping off stickers from paint. For badges, they’ll use a heat gun to melt the glue, remove the badge, then clean up the residue. Once finished, you’ll never know the dealer branding was there.

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In conclusion, you do not have to advertise for a dealership involuntarily. Sellers will likely try to place branding all over your new or used vehicle. Before (or after) the sale, there is no reason not to ask for the removal of all dealer branding. It will take just a few minutes and won’t damage the car at all if done correctly. If you feel too awkward asking, it is possible to do it yourself; just do some research, so you don’t damage the paint.