Car window tinting is a beautiful way of styling your ride, protecting your privacy, and keeping the interiors of your car cool. Not only it is affordable, it actually does what you need it to do. However, there is one downside to window tints, their durability. No matter how high the quality of the tint you have applied, it will deteriorate through the years. As we mentioned in our article on the costs of tinting car windows, the tints will wear down after a while. Exposure to high levels of sunshine and scratches while cleaning the windows might damage the film. There also comes a time when you decide you don’t need the tints anymore or you want to prepare your car for sale. You should be careful not to harm your vehicle’s windows when removing the tints, and getting the glue off is tricky. But no need to worry, because in this article we will show you how to remove old tint from your car windows, and what will remove the glue!
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Reasons for removing window tint
Unlike factory-made tints, installed window tints have a limited lifetime. You get what you paid for, and cheap quality tints start degrading in months. Long hours of exposure to high temperatures or humid weather leaves some symptoms behind, and you will need to think about replacing or removing the tints when you see these signs:
As the sun and high temperatures warm up your car windows, window tints start bubbling. This happens because the glue begins breaking down and losing its stickiness, detaching itself from the windows and causing air bubbles to pop up. The bubbles look horrible and destroy the aesthetics of your ride. Unfortunately, there is no way to fix it, unfortunately, and you have to eventually peel the tint to remove the whole thing. On the bright side, the bubbles are caused by failing adhesive, making it a little easier to remove.
It seems like the tint does not work anymore!
If you feel like the cabin temperatures remain high during summer days, it might be a sign of having an aged window tint. You should check the window tint for peelings on the edges and symptoms of bubbling. Be cautious about signs of tint degradation because UV rays can cause a lot of damage to your skin and health. This will also affect your car’s interior, causing the leather surfaces to heat up and crack.
Over time sun’s UV rays will turn the colour of your window tint into a purple shade. The dye will also lose its ability to block the UV rays the more it turns purple. The change happens because the dyes used in the film starts to break down, which cannot be repaired. Consider changing your window tints when the colour changes to purple.
Other reasons to remove tints
Sometimes the tint is in good condition, but you just don’t want to have tinted windows anymore. Or you might want to use a darker or lighter hue on your car windows. Aside from aesthetic reasons, there are laws in each state regarding how dark your window tints are allowed to be. Breaking these rules leads to traffic tickets and is not worth the risk.
In all of these cases, the good news is that you can remove the tint and its glue by yourself. However, it is a bit tricky, and first thing you need to do is prepare!
Preparations: What you need to remove the tint
As always, first things first! Preparation matters as you need some supplies to remove the tint from the windows. There are safety tools you can use to protect yourself from injuries:
- Gloves (When using the razor blade or the heat gun)
- Safety glasses
The supplies you need depend on the method you will use to remove the tint:
- Razor blades
- Hairdryer or heat gun
- Ammonia or soap and water
- Garbage bags
- Window cleaners
Execution: How to remove old tint from car windows?
Method #1: Steamer
Open your car door and roll down the windows just enough for you to reach the top of the window. Use a steamer on the windows and steam the entire inside and outside of your car window first. Steam the window from top to bottom and evenly. Remember, you need to heat up the glue to dissolve it and make it easier to remove; that is why you need to heat up the whole window evenly.
For the next step, you need the razor. Use the razor blade to lift the edge of the tint (on the inside). If the corner is not coming off, apply more steam to the window. When you get the edge, peel off the tint slowly. You need to keep using the steamer to keep the window warm. Do not pull too hard, as it will only tear off and make it harder to remove.
After successfully removing the tint, you need to clean the remaining glue off the window. Spray window cleaners on the window and scrub the glue spots with a clean cloth. Wipe the window with a paper towel and repeat the process on each tinted window.
Method #2: Hairdryer or heat gun
This method is the same as the steamer method, only this time, you apply the heat using a heat dryer. Be careful with the heat gun, as too much heat can dissolve the tint and damage your car window. After you have heated the adhesive all over the window, you can remove the shade from the topside edge using a razor blade and peel the rest.
Method #3: Ammonia or Soap and Water
Ammonia can damage your car’s interior, so the first step here is to mask the door panels, the window frame, and the interior of your car using plastic sheets and tapes. After covering the interior parts, cut garbage bags to fit your car windows. You can place the garbage bag on the window and cut it out.
Mix water with soap and apply it to the outside of the window. Now place the garbage bag on the window and cover it completely. The garbage bag should stick to the window. Next, cover the inside of the window with ammonia. You can use a spray bottle to easily spray the ammonia all over the window. Cover the inside with a garbage bag and secure it with tape if needed.
After 1 to 2 hours of the ammonia soaking, the glue will loosen, and it’s time to peel off the tint. Use a razor blade, like methods 1 and 2 to peel the edges and remove the film.
Removing window tints by yourself is an excellent way to save money and prepare your car for a new shade or even sell. The key concept is to warm up the adhesive to come off easier. You can use steamers, hairdryers or heat guns. Ammonia is another method to loosen up the glue.