How to Remove Highway Striping Paint From Cars

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Things You'll Need

  • Rubber gloves
  • Shop rags
  • Lacquer thinner
  • Terry cloth
  • Buffing wheel
  • Wool buffing pad

Every motorist knows that highway road work is a fact of life. Unfortunately, if you happen across a road construction site at the wrong time, your car's finish could end up suffering unforeseen damage. If you need to remove highway striping paint from your car, you need to use care, or you could make things worse. Know what materials to use and the proper way to use them, or you could end up with abrasion scars and damage to your car's clear coat.

Put on rubber gloves.

Apply a small amount of lacquer thinner to a clean shop rag. Wring out excess thinner to prevent dripping.

Apply lacquer thinner to the highway striping paint, using the rag.

Massage the striping paint from the car with a terry cloth. Rub in a circular motion. Dry the lacquer thinner with a clean rag. Stop here if you were able to remove the highway paint with the terry cloth alone.

Apply lacquer thinner to any remaining paint. Use a buffing wheel with a wool buffing pad to eliminate any remaining highway striping paint.


  • Don't leave lacquer thinner on your car's finish for longer than 60 seconds, or it could damage the clear coat.

    Do not oversaturate the shop rag, as this could lead to dripping and runs, which could damage your car's clear coat.

    Turpentine and mineral spirits are not powerful enough to remove highway striping paint from a car's finish. Don't mistake these solvents for lacquer thinner.