Having your car’s rear windows tinted is a great way of protecting your leather upholstery from discoloration and your backseat passengers from getting sunburnt.
It is a cheap alternative to having true darkened windows and it also isn’t permanent, which means that you can remove it when you get tired of it.
The cost of window tinting may vary but could be upwards of US$400, depending on the tint’s quality. If afterward you feel you no longer want the tint on your windows, or it has started to bubble or peel you’re faced with only two alternatives:
Pay a professional an excessive fee to remove it, or try removing it yourself.
Removing the old bubbled tint yourself can be challenging. If you follow the procedure and tips laid down in this article carefully, it is certainly doable.
Here are the steps you need to take in order to remove old window tint yourself.
Table of Contents
Make Sure You Have Everything You Need Before You Begin
In order to remove window tints easily, you will need the following materials: soap, glass cleaner, spray bottle, towels or clean pieces of cloth, a sharp blade or a razor blade, water.
There is an alternative method to the one described here which uses an ammonia solution (5%). As you are probably aware, ammonia can be pretty nasty stuff, and you definitely want to take care not to breathe any in.
You can read more about the hazards of ammonia here. For this method, you will need the above-listed items in addition to the following: unused garbage bags, a spray bottle with ammonia solution, steel wool.
Yet another method involves using a hairdryer or a fabric steamer.
Here is a great video showing methods similar to these:
Prepare Your Car And Windows
This step includes parking your car in the shade if possible and rolling up all the windows if you haven’t already. Then, you need to thoroughly clean your windows and remove any stickers that you might have stuck on before you start scraping the window tint.
Be sure to clean the inside of your car and its windows if the tint is on the inside. It usually is but who knows?
Stickers or decals make it difficult to remove the window tint so make sure you remove them beforehand to ensure the easiest procedure. If you’re using a hairdryer or a fabric steamer, make sure you bring cord extensions.
Once You’re Set Up You Are Ready To Begin
Make sure you have enough time, as the process is time-consuming. Mix the soap with the water and pour it in the spray bottle.
After that, carefully spray the mixture on the surface of the tinted window. It is a good idea to start with the smallest window first. The water will help dissolve the glue and the tint will be easier to peel.
After the window is wet, begin peeling the corner with your sharp blade. Once you have peeled the corner enough, grab it with your hand and gently start pulling and peeling the rest of the tint. If there are areas where the tint is still stuck, you can use a blade to loosen them or simply respray them with the soap solution.
After a few minutes. you should have the whole piece of tint in your hands. Then, simply repeat this for the remaining windows.
A nice trick to this method is to stick a sheet of newspaper onto the wet surface of the tint. Wait 10 minutes and then use your blade to remove it. By then, the tint will have stuck to the newspaper and will come off a lot more easily.
The Ammonia Based Alternative Method
If you’re using the ammonia-based alternative method, you need to cover the windows with plastic bags so that the ammonia doesn’t evaporate.
First off, spray a window with the ammonia solution and then quickly cover it with a plastic bag. After a few minutes, try peeling it off. The window tint should fall off easily, but there could be leftover pieces that can then be easily scraped with the blade.
Hair Dryer, Heat Gun, or Fabric Steamer Method
If you’re using a hairdryer or a fabric steamer, you should watch out not to burn yourself. Position the hairdryer or variable heat gun on its lowest setting. Close to the edge of the car window tint is best and switch it on. The edge should curl up so that you can then grab it and start peeling.
While peeling you will have to redirect the hairdryer in the direction you are peeling the tint. Whatever’s left afterward, will come off easily with the razor or blade.
Removing Any Window Tint Residual Pieces
The next step is to clean any pieces of window tint or glue that are left after the scrubbing procedure.
Use your blade or razor and more soapy water to remove the remaining pieces as well as residual adhesive.
Be careful when removing window tint residue from over an exposed window heating demisters. A razor blade can cut the fine elements and they will stop working. If the tint is on the outside of the window then this is not a problem.
For a better result, you could use the towel or pieces of cloth or paper towels to simply scrub the whole window. Here you can even use window cleaners or methylated spirits, and simply scrub it with a sponge.
Continue cleaning and scrubbing until the window is clean and spotless. After all of that, you could take your car to the car wash and that will make the outside look as good as the inside.
If your tint is on the inner side of the window, you will have to cover your upholstery and interior with some towels or rags so that you don’t spill water or ammonia on them. That could cause permanent damage to your car’s seats and interior. Plus fumes in an enclosed space is never fun, so keep all of your car doors open.
Congratulations! That’s all there is to it. If you’ve prepared accordingly, it shouldn’t take more than a few hours. Remember to clean up afterward and dispose of the tint and the remaining soapy water in an eco-friendly manner. Now you don’t have to go to the mechanic until next summer!
HERE’S A LIST OF THINGS YOU SHOULD BE CAREFUL ABOUT WHEN REMOVING WINDOW TINT BY YOURSELF:
- Be careful not to scratch or break the glass underneath when scraping with your blade.
- When using Ammonia, make sure you don’t spill it on your car’s interior or on the car’s paint. The ammonia might dissolve any protective layer of the paint and in time it may fade from the sun.
- Be careful not to spill ammonia solution on yourself. Ammonia concentrates are harmful to your skin, nose, eyes, etc.
- Make sure you dispose of the materials safely and eco-friendly.
- Be sure you don’t work outside in the scorching heat. Find a nice shady place. You’re going to be working for a good few hours.
So, to sum up, removing the window tint of your car by yourself can be a tricky and time-consuming procedure. But, on the other hand, it will save you a few dollars and a trip to an auto-window specialist.
Overall, if you are unsure whether or not you should do it yourself, I would recommend thoroughly reading through this article and watching the video above before deciding if you’re going to do it. If you have a few hundred bucks to spare though, then by all means, let a professional do it.
Once you have tacked the removal of your old car window tint you can then check out some of these cool interior car hacks and modifications. Extra bling for only a few dollars.
I am a qualified Industrial Electrician for the past 20 years and I love to share my knowledge on home repair and maintenance jobs.
I love fast toys like Motorcycles, Cars, Jetskis, Boats, and Computers so writing about them is easy. Working on them is fun.
To keeps costs down I do all my own mods, repairs, and servicing. These skills I want to share with everyone. DIY is a skill everyone can learn.