This week I’ve been working on removing the old safety marker stickers from the rear of my bus.

rear of bus before

Because my bus is a registered in Queensland, and classed as a heavy vehicle, it has to have an annual roadworthy inspection. Without a current certificate of inspection (COI) the registration is no longer valid. My bus is due for that next month so it’s time to fix a few things and get her tidied up to make sure that she passes!

All heavy vehicles must have certain reflective safety markers visible on the back. The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) has published a code of practice that outlines what is and isn’t allowed, and lists the different options that are available, depending on the sort of vehicle, and the available space for attaching plates etc.

If you want to check out the rules for yourself, you can find them here:

Based on these rules, it was pretty clear that the stickers currently on my bus had to be replaced.

For one thing, they are very worn and fading, and starting to deteriorate.

They’ve also been cut to fit on either side of the engine bay door hinge, which is not actually allowed.

The other issue is that all of the current stickers are Class 2 reflective material, which is being phased out, and will not be allowed after 31st December 2020.

So they all had to go.

Removing the old stickers proved to be a MAJOR challenge. I spent hours rubbing with eucalyptus oil, chipping away with a paint scraper and even tried a heat gun to soften the glue. It was a very long, frustratingly slow process.

chipping off stickers

And then I found out about a thing called a “Caramel Wheel“. It’s essentially like a giant eraser that attaches to a drill, and is specifically designed to remove vinyl decals and pinstripes from cars without damaging the underlying paint.

The stickers I was trying to get off my bus were a lot bigger and a lot thicker than a simple decal, but I gave it a try, and to my great pleasure, it worked very well!

I was able to rub away all of the stickers, and then clean up the remaining residue with the eucalyptus oil. It made the job so much easier!

using the caramel wheel

And this is the finished result:

rear of bus after

I’m pretty happy with the way it turned out. It looks a lot neater and less cluttered than before, and if I have interpreted the rules correctly, this is all I need to have on the rear of my bus.

Fingers crossed the inspector agrees!