How to Remove Car Tint
Removing window tint yourself risks scratching and other damage, but this can be avoided if you’re patient and cautious. Don’t try to improvise or use a shortcut, especially on the difficult rear window. That said, if you do learn how to remove your tint, you can save quite a bit of money.
Removing Tint with Steam
Find a clothes steamer or similar tool.
Careful use of steam can remove the tint in one piece, instead of separating it into layers. Some professional mechanics use a clothes steamer, which you can find for a fairly cheap price at a department store. You can try using a clothes iron on steam setting instead. If you only have a heat gun or a hair dryer, using the “household objects” method below is recommended instead.
- A few modern, metal-based tints cannot be removed by steam. Use the methods below instead if this doesn’t work out.
Heat one corner of the tint.
Use the steamer to heat the inside surface of the window in one corner of the tint, for at least thirty seconds. Note that most windows are surrounded by a black band and dotted outline, which are not part of the tint. (These are both “frit,” or a baked ceramic glass that protects the adhesive between the glass and the car frame.
- Steamers and clothes irons typically need a few seconds to heat up before you can start steaming.
Peel the corner with a fingernail.
Work the corner you were heating with your fingernail. If it doesn’t come off, apply heat for another thirty to sixty seconds and try again. Stop immediately and reheat if the tint separates and leaves a layer of tint on the glass.
- You can make a small cut with a razor blade as a last resort, but avoid scratching the surrounding frit. If the tint can’t be lifted even after cutting, your tint may not be steam-removable. Try one of the methods below instead.
Slowly heat and peel the tint. Steam or heat the tint next to the corner you just detached, for at least a few seconds. Gently pull the tint a short distance, peeling off the heated area. Repeat slowly and methodically with each new section of tint. This may take a while, but don’t be tempted to speed up. If you pull too fast or before heating, the tint can tear or separate into layers, making it much more difficult to remove.
Clean up the window.
Once the tint has peeled off in one piece, use window cleaner and a clean cloth to wipe off any adhesive remaining on the window.
- If the tint tore and left small pieces on the window, heat it and peel it off using the same method. If the piece is nowhere near the rear window defroster lines, you can wet the area with soapy water and scrape it off with a razor blade instead.
- If the tint separated, removing one layer of tint but leaving a second on the window, you can try to repeat this method, but may need to take the car to a professional.
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