Tinted windows on cars can look cool, but like most things, the tint on windows doesn’t last forever. Eventually, it needs to be removed and replaced. You’ll know the time has come when the tint loses its color and begins to turn purple or if the film starts to bubble a little. The former means that the dyes in the tint are breaking down and not tinting well anymore, while the latter occurs when the adhesive holding the tint in place starts to break down. There are four simple methods for removing the old tint.
Step 1 - Using Heat
If you want to use heat to remove the film, you can use a heat gun if you have one, or try using a steamer or a hairdryer to do the job as well. Hold the steamer about 2 inches away from one corner of the tint and turn on the steam. Pull at the corner of the tint until it pulls away.
Go slowly, pulling as you steam. Don’t pull too hard, or you might separate the film from the adhesive leaving adhesive on the glass, so patience is the key here. After you’ve removed all the tinted film, there may still be some adhesive left on the glass. Steam the area then press down on it with an old towel to remove it. Finally, clean the window with glass cleaner and a paper towel.
Step 2 - Removing the adhesive left behind
Adhesive left on the glass can be removed using a razor blade and a scorching pad like scotchbrite. You will have to use extreme care with the razor blade around the defroster lines so that they're not severed in the process, and besides, try first rubbing with the scorching pad alone as it may be enough to remove it all. If it doesn't take it all off, you will need to spray any glue that remains on the window with soapy water before scraping off the adhesive with the razor blade. Finally, clean the glass with glass cleaner.
Step 3 - Using Duct Tape
You’ll only use the duct tape method if you haven’t been able to remove all the layers of the tint. Apply the tape in strips across the glass with the strips overlapping by 1 inch. You may need to let the car sit in the sun for a few hours as this allows the tape to adhere firmly to the tint.
Pull off the tape. The tint should lift off as you go. You will still need to use ammonia and a scorching pad to remove the glue that remains on the glass.
Spray any remaining glue with ammonia then scrub lightly with a scorching pad, drying with a paper towel as soon as you’re done. Finally, clean the window with glass cleaner.