A Guide To Removing Tint From Your Car Windows

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Tinting your car windows is an excellent way to enhance the aesthetics of your vehicle. It’s also a great way to keep the car relatively cool inside without always relying on the air conditioning. But what happens when it’s time to remove the tint? Is it possible to remove it without damaging your windows?

You can remove car window tint at home using a hair dryer or steamer, a glass cleaner, a razor blade, and a microfiber cloth. Start by loosening the adhesive layer with heat before carefully pulling and scraping it off from the edges. After the tint is removed, clean and dry the window.

As you can see, the process for removing tint isn’t too complicated. Let’s take a closer look at the steps involved and the supplies you’ll need so that you can get started right away. We’ll also consider some reasons why you might want to remove the tint in the first place.

Why Remove Window Tint From Your Car?

Hands of man removing old car window film

Although there are many reasons why you might install tint on your car windows, there are also a few reasons why you might want to replace it or remove it for good.

These are among the top reasons why you might need to remove the tint on your car windows:

Bubbling or Peeling

The first sign you need to remove your car tint is if it’s peeling around the edges. You may also notice bubbles forming on the surface. These are signs that the tint is worn and needs replacing.

When the tint begins peeling on the edges, it will spread gradually, which is not a good look. Bubbles can also cause further tears when the windows are rolled up and down. 

Reduced Protection Against the Sun

You might also notice the tint isn’t providing the protection you expect against sunlight. That means that the interior of the car will get hotter than before. In addition, when the tint fails to filter UV rays, plastic in the car will dry out more easily, and if you have leather surfaces, they might crack. 

Discolored Tint

At some point, your tint may lose color and fade, affecting both the aesthetic appeal and the function. Often, discoloration coincides with reduced UV protection.

When the window tint fades, it usually turns purple. This happens as the dyes in the tint degrade. 

Violation of Local Laws

Laws regarding the permitted level of tint vary across the country, so you might have installed your tint in one state only to find that it’s violating the laws in another.

Typically, you’re allowed tint that blocks only 50% of light on the rear and back windows and up to 35% for the driver and passenger windows. Check the numbers where you live to determine whether you’ve got a legal amount of tint on your windows.

Can You Remove Window Tint Yourself?

You can remove your car window tint yourself as long as you understand the procedure and have the right supplies. Proceed carefully to protect both yourself and your car.

For example, you should handle the razor very carefully, as it could easily damage the glass. In some cases, people have cut defroster lines or scratched the glass.

These are mistakes you can avoid by sticking with the correct procedure. Only use the blade to lift the tint corners or scrape off the adhesive. 

Similarly, if you pull at the loosened tint too quickly, the film can tear, making your job much harder. However, if this happens, you can use the razor to fix the situation and lift up a new edge.

What Supplies Will You Need?

To get started with the job of removing tint from your car, you need a few supplies. 

  • Steamer: A steamer is an ideal option for the heating element you’ll need. You can hold it near the window to steam the edges of the tint and loosen them. The steamer (on Amazon) helps the adhesive dissolve, making it easier to peel off. 
  • Hair Dryer: If you don’t have a steamer, a hair dryer is an effective alternative that can also warm the edges of the film to make it easier to peel off. You only need to run the dryer around the edges of the film, and the heat should melt the glue. 
  • Soap and Water or Ammonia: You can use ammonia (on Amazon) to loosen the adhesive on the window tint. Soap and water can also do the job, allowing you to peel off the tint film easily. 
  • Microfiber Cloth: A good microfiber cloth (on Amazon) is necessary for rubbing away the adhesive and cleaning up particularly stubborn areas.

Methods for Removing Window Tint

Close up shot hands of man removing old car window film focus on

There are a few different approaches to removing tint film from your car windows. In any of the methods, you’ll need to start by applying heat to melt the adhesive.

Then you can proceed to peel the tint off. Let’s take a closer look at the process:

Using a Steamer

The steamer method is simple as it allows you to use items you already have in your home. If you have a cloth steamer, it will be an easy job. Follow these steps to get started:

  1. Roll the window down several inches to ensure the top edge of the tint is visible.  
  1. With the steamer a few inches away from the window, steam the outside of the car window. Focus on the edges of the window tint and steam thoroughly. This is necessary to dissolve the adhesive. Next, repeat this process on the inside of the window. 
  1. After steaming, slowly lift the corners of the tint film with a razor. You can apply more steam to loosen the adhesive if the tint doesn’t come off easily. 
  1. After the edges peel off, remove the remaining tint film with your hands. Peel from top to bottom. Keep applying steam as you peel if the tint feels sticky. 

Using a Hairdryer

If you don’t have a steamer, your other option is a hairdryer. Follow these simple steps to remove the tint. 

  1. Use the hair dryer to loosen the tint adhesive. The hair dryer method requires a bit of patience. Begin with rolling down the window a few inches to expose the edge of the tint film. 
  1. Put the hair dryer on a high heat setting and run it over the corner of the tint from the inside until the glue melts, allowing you to lift off the tint film. For this process, you can use a razor blade to peel the edges off until it’s easy to peel off the rest with your hands. 
  1. While peeling, continue running the hair dryer over the tint around the spot you’re peeling. When you continue applying the heat, the glue will melt and make it easier to remove the tint film. 

Using Soap and Water

Soap and water are also effective if you want to remove car tint. 

  1. Because you don’t want to get soapy water all over the car’s interior, you should first protect the interior with plastic sheets. You can even use garbage bags attached to the window frame or door interior. 
  1. Spray the soapy water outside the window to help the garbage bags stick. For this process, you also need ammonia, which you should spray on the inside of the window and then cover with a garbage bag. 
  1. Allow the ammonia to sit for 1 to 2 hours, as it will soak in and break down the adhesive. 
  1. Remove the garbage bags. Using a razor, peel the edge of the window tint and remove it normally. 
  1. Use a microfiber cloth to clean the window. 

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