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One of the less enjoyable aspects of owning cars is dealing with tickets, whether for speeding or parking violations. If you happen to violate the parking rules on private property, you might not get a ticket. But you could end up with something some people consider equally bad: a parking violation sticker slapped on your window. 

These warning stickers are a hassle for many who struggle to remove them. So, what’s up with these brightly colored nuisances, and how can you remove them without messing up your windows?

The annoyance of parking violation stickers on car windows

Parking violation sticker parking violation warning sticker
Parking violation sticker | Paul J. Richards/AFP via Getty Images

Many drivers have been there: They leave their car in a lot while taking care of business and return to a bright parking violation sticker affixed to their vehicle’s window. “WARNING,” the sticker declares before (sometimes) specifying what led to its appearance on your car in the first place. 

If you’ve been in this situation, you’ve probably wondered about these stickers. In a nutshell, they let a property owner get the message across that you have violated parking rules on the property. 

But why do parking violation stickers have to be so hard to remove? The lot authorities who place them on cars want to ensure you get the message. If the sticker were too easy to get off your vehicle, you probably wouldn’t pay much attention. However, if you have to spend time and effort to remove it from your window, you’re likelier to do what you can to avoid ending up with another one. 

How to remove a parking warning sticker

So, let’s say you’ve had the misfortune of ending up with a parking violation sticker on your car window. What can you do to remove it quickly and easily?

For one, you can try gradually peeling the sticker off with the help of some WD-40, as outlined in this YouTube video.

But if you don’t have WD-40, Reddit users have suggested using vegetable oil or even Goo Gone. It’s as simple as spraying the Goo Gone (which also works on tree sap, by the way), leaving it on for a couple of minutes, and scraping the sticker using a razor blade. A quick wipe with some glass cleaner will take care of any remaining residue.

Another suggestion is to use a hairdryer on the sticker to loosen the glue’s grip and then scrap it with a razor blade. Follow up with rubbing alcohol to remove any remaining pieces. 

Why do cars get slapped with these stickers?

There are various reasons why a car owner might return to their vehicle and discover a parking warning sticker on their window. In short, they have likely violated one or more rules of the lot where they’ve parked. 

One possibility is that you left your car parked in the lot longer than allowed. Or perhaps you parked it in a spot reserved for a resident, the customers of a specific business, or people with disabilities. Or maybe your car was in a fire lane.

Private lot owners don’t have the power to write tickets. (But they probably wish they did, given the sums of money cities like New York have made from parking violations.) However, lot owners have the power to place a parking violation sticker before calling a tow company. If you return to your car to find a warning sticker, be glad you don’t have to head to the impound lot. 

Many parking violation stickers don’t have specific reasons for issuance printed on them because there are so many possibilities. Rather, stickers often have a blank space where the sticker placer can write the reason for the warning. 

Of course, the best way to avoid dealing with these stickers is to obey the laws and regulations applicable to wherever you park. 


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