How to Remove Tint From Car Windows
It’s Time to Remove That Old Tint
You can’t stand looking at it any longer…
You’ve had your vehicle for almost ten years, and it’s time to remove the tint…
It’s discolored in some areas and bubbled in others, so it’s time to remove and replace your tint and have it replaced with a ceramic film. A newer film on the market that offers better heat rejection and UV protection.
What You Will Need to Remove the Old Film…
In this post, I will explain how to remove tint that is old and how to prepare the glass so it’s all nice and clean so you can get it re-tinted. If you so desire?
I will explain how to remove the tint off the glass so you can save yourself money on labor.
If you decide this method of removing the window film is too risky, and you are afraid of accidentally slicing your back defroster line if you have to use a razor, then, by all means, take your vehicle to our tint shop. We’d be more than happy to remove and replace the film for you.
We will need your vehicle for several hours to do a thorough job removing all traces of the old film and the adhesive.
In our shop, we use a steamer to remove the old film. For this post, we are trying to save you money, and a heat gun is much cheaper at only $30 as opposed to buying a steamer which can cost over $300 to purchase.
Now! If the film you applied was a quality brand, this should make removing the film a much quicker task than removing cheap film that will most likely come off in small pieces and leave traces of adhesive behind.
Learning how to remove tint is not a difficult task. It’s mostly time-consuming and repetitive. And as I just stated, hopefully, the window film comes off easy when you apply heat onto the film, and the film doesn’t separate from the layer of adhesive that helped the film stick to the glass.
Make sure you don’t start picking and tugging at the film when the glass is cold. If you do, it’s most likely going to cause the adhesive to remain on the glass when you peel off the layer of film.
The adhesive layer should not separate from the film if you use the suggested method.
If it doesn’t come off in one piece, removing the residue adhesive layer is a pain to remove.
You have to painstakingly remove the adhesive from the glass and the defroster lines. Making sure you don’t slice or break the filament. Your defroster will no longer work if you cut one of those lines. Keep that in mind.
A professional window film installer will tuck the film behind the plastic trim. You might have to remove that trim to access and remove the film trapped behind the frame and glass to perform a thorough job of removing all traces of window film.
Hopefully, the heat gun will remove all traces of your film. But keep a new razor blade handy just in case some glue gets left behind on the glass.
You can purchase a heat gun at any hardware store or online. They cost around $30. You might even be able to rent one or borrow one from a friend who has a painting business.
Let’s Get Started on How to Remove Tint
We recommend you remove tint outside on a nice warm sunny day. Having the sun heat up the glass naturally helps soften the tint and makes it much easier to remove the film with the added use of the heat gun.
The critical part of removing window film is to apply heat onto the tint.
Turn on your heat gun and turn it to the highest setting. Hold it six inches from the window and apply heat to the glass.
If you are right-handed, start removing your film from left to right. Do the opposite if you wish if you are left-handed.
Apply heat to the film and glass in the lower left-hand or upper right corner. Then when you have found an edge, start picking at that edge of film until you have a starting point.
When the film feels warm, and you can grasp an edge of the film with your thumb and forefinger, apply more heat and start pulling at the film. Take caution you do not burn yourself with the heat gun. You can purchase protective gloves to protect your hands and be on the safe side.
Once the film is warm, start pulling the film off the glass very slowly and gently. Make sure you are not tugging at the film. You want to encourage the film to come away from the glass. So only start the peeling motion when the film is warm.
Do Not keep the heat gun in one spot for too long. If you do, you have the chance of causing other damage, so apply the heat with a left to right motion in a 3 – 4-inch section at a time.
When you start pulling at the film, you want to make sure there is no residue of adhesive left behind on the glass. You don’t want the two layers to separate if possible.
Keep pulling at the film and applying heat. Hopefully, you should be able to remove the entire layer of window film and adhesive from the glass without it tearing and without it leaving any glue behind.
Removing Film from a Frameless Window
When removing the film from the front frameless rollup windows, you might have to use a razor blade to help take hold of the film’s initial edge.
Place the razor blade on an angle, so you’re going more aggressively on the tint and less aggressive on the actual glass. You do not want to scratch the glass with the razor blade’s edge.
Once again, use the heat gun to remove the film from the side windows. Then when the film feels warm, you can start peeling back the film using a little pressure. The film should peel away from the glass without leaving any adhesive behind.
Repeat this process until the entire glass is crystal clear.
If there is any adhesive left behind on the glass, you should be able to feel it when you rub your finger over the glass.
Keep in mind that when you have had your windows professionally tinted, they will apply film to cover the entire glass. They will tuck a good quarter of an inch of the film down the edge of the door panel so you can roll your window up and down, and it’s not going to peel or wrinkle the lower edge of the film.
So, when you’re removing the film from the rollup windows, you need to be sure that you pull out that extra film tucked between the door frame and the glass.
Make sure the film is warm while you peel away the film but take caution you do not damage your door panel with too much heat.
If the film is cold, the film will tear, leaving tint and adhesive behind. The only way to remove that tint and adhesive is by removing your door panel, the entire door card, and everything else covering up the glass.
If any adhesive is left behind, you will need to use a brand-new razor blade. Do not use an old used blade because you want a perfectly straight edge so you can remove any left behind adhesive without damaging the glass.
Place the razor blade at an angle that is low to the glass. Make sure the razorblade is not in an upward position. You want the blade low to glide over the glass and the adhesive removed from the glass with the blade.
Make sure you clean off the blade occasionally. You’ll be able to see the adhesive come off the glass. When the glue has been removed from the glass, you can use a regular glass cleaner like Clarity and a microfiber towel to clean the glass
How to Remove Tint Like a Professional Tint Shop
What I mean by a professional tint removal is removing all the adhesive from the glass, as well as removing any adhesive stuck to those tiny dots found on the outside perimeter of the glass.
Those black dots are raised from the surface, so you cannot use a razor blade to remove any adhesive. We recommend using a softer scrub pad than a scotch guard pad, but it’s aggressive enough that it’ll pick up any imperfections on the glass.
If any adhesive is stuck on or trapped between the black dots, use the same method as mentioned above. Apply heat using the heat gun and accompanied by the scrub pad. The scrub pad should remove any remaining adhesive left on the glass.
When all the film and adhesive have been removed from all your windows, clean them off with an Ammonia-free window cleaner to make them look crystal clear.
If you use the wrong window cleaner on your tinted windows, it could break down the composition of the film and turn the tint purple.
We recommend using a glass cleaner like Clarity, specially formulated for after-market tinted windows.