There are many great benefits to having tinted windows in your vehicle, especially during the summer. They greatly reduce both glare and heat from the sun, making it much more comfortable to drive. You might also enjoy the sense of privacy the tint provides you. However, over time it may start to degrade and you will begin asking yourself how to remove the window tint from your car.
Why Remove Window Tint From Your Car?
These are a few different reasons why you might choose to remove window tint. Usually it will come down to the tint being damage or just personal preference.
Window Tint is Too Dark
If you bought your car second hand, you may not be a fan of how dark the previous owners had tinted the windows. In extreme cases the tint might be so strong that it breaks the law in your jurisdiction.
The unfortunate thing in this case is the glue holding the tint on will likely be in good condition and be more difficult to remove.
Bubbles in the Tint
If the window tint is very old or wasn’t installed correctly it can begin to form unsightly bubbles. Far from making your ride look more stylish, it will be more of an eyesore that you are desperate to get rid of.
The good news is that when the window tint starts to bubble it means the glue is starting to fail. It should take significantly less effort to remove the tint from your vehicle.
Tint Has Discolored
Window tint can become damaged over time due to constant exposure to strong sunglight. The ultra violet rays break down the molecules in the tint and as a side effect it will change color (usually purple).
Discolored window tint is, quite simply, very ugly to look at. It will also fail to block UV and be less effective at keeping your vehicle’s cabin cool inside.
Methods For Removing Window Tint
All the methods of removing window tint rely on the use of heat and careful scraping. How exactly you choose to implement these two requirements is up to you, below I will show you some of the most effective ways.
Direct Heat From a Hairdryer
A heat gun will probably be a little faster but most people won’t just have one of those lying around the home. Most households will have a hairdryer though and it is perfect for window tint removal.
- Set the hairdryer to its maximum heat setting and place it a couple of inches away from the glass. Hold it there until you see the glue begin to melt.
- Slide your scraping tool at a 30 degree angle where the glue has melted to separate the film from the window.
- Once all the window tint has been removed from a panel, reapply the hairdryer on the leftover glue and wipe it off.
- Do a final cleanup with some window cleaner.
Heat From the Sun
- Cut two black plastic bags to the shape of the target window.
- Apply soapy water to the outer side of the window and cover the window with one of the bags.
- To the inner side of the same window, apply ammonia and press the other bag into place covering it.
- Let the window sit in direct sunlight for 30 minutes to an hour. The combination of ammonia and heat should start breaking down the window tint.
- Remove the black plastic and gently but firmly peel off the tint.
- Scrape off any remaining glue with a plastic scraper and give the window a final wash.
Especially if the window tint is discolored or bubbling, you may be able to simply pull it away without any heat. Take an exacto knife or razor blade and carefully cut down one edge of the film.
Take your plastic scraper and dig in a little where you made the cut so you can remove a small portion of the window tint. Then just grab the loose portion and pull it away.
Hot Soapy Newspaper
Prepare a bucket full of hot soapy water and apply it liberally to the side of the window containing the tint. Then cover the window with newspaper and let it just sit there soaking for a couple of hours. Every 15 minutes put some more of the water on the newspaper.
It should now be possible to remove the tint with a plastic scraper tool without too much effort. Depending on the quality and condition of the glue binding the tint to the window, you may need to let the paper soak for longer.
If you have access to a steam cleaner, then this is absolutely the quickest and easiest method of how to remove window tint. The hot steam will rapidly melt the glue while at the same time providing lubrication so that it slides away easier.
Once you get all the tint off, make sure to go back and heat any remaining glue and wipe it off before it re-sets.
How to Remove Window Tint Glue & Residue
You will need to know how to remove window tint glue in addition to just getting off the tint itself . It can be frustratingly stubborn to remove every last bit of glue and residue using heat alone. Below are four sure fire ways to finish the job off and get your windows back like new.
Isopropyl Alcohol Spray
Isopropyl alcohol will quickly dissolve most glues so that they can be very easily wiped away. Simply spray the glue affected window with the alcohol and let it soak in for a few minutes. For faster results scrub with a clean alcohol soaked rag.
Using acetone is probably the fastest way to remove window tint glue without having to expend a lot of physical effort. It will break down the glue very rapidly but you must ensure you have good ventilation. If you can’t find it in the shop, you can use nail polish remover as acetone is the primary ingrediant.
Speciality Glue Remover
If you can find it, glue removers such as “Goo Gone” will get rid of the glue from your window just as quickly as acetone but without the terrible fumes. The downside is it might be a bit more expensive than alcohol or acetone.
Hot Soapy Water
The final option to remove window tint glue is my least favourite but the most simple. Hot soapy water and some strong scrubbing will take a lot more time and effort but it will eventually remove the glue. This method will work better if it’s hot outside and the glue has already started degrading.
Frequently Asked Questions
It is very cheap in materials, you really only need hot soapy water if you are prepared to spend a little time and effort. A bottle of acetone should cost no more than $5 and a cheap hairdryer about $15.
If you are having a professional remove the window tint for you, then expect to pay roughly $100 to $150 for the whole vehicle.
This will vary greatly depending on which method you use, the condition of the glue/tint and your level of experience. Taking into account the whole process of removing and cleanup, you are looking at between 10 and 30 minutes per window.
Using a steam cleaner is both the easiest and the fastest way to remove the film. The dual heat and lubrication will make the film almost slide off!
Combine this with an acetone wash to remove the glue and a quick cleanup with window cleaner to make it sparkle.
The fumes can certainly be bad for your health so you should make sure to use a mask. For this reason, I would generally try to avoid this method if possible.
Hopefully you now know how to remove window tint from your vehicle quickly and easily. Really, this is a task that is not too difficult and doesn’t require much in the way of tools or supplies.