How to remove aftermarket window tint and film

Written by james clark
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How to remove aftermarket window tint and film
Aftermarket window tint film can be safely removed with steam. (kaboodle.com)

Removing aftermarket tint from vehicle windows can improve driving visibility and safety because the tint material often discolours and distorts with age. This can hamper a driver's view through the rear and side windows. Also, it may be desirable to remove the tint film if you do a lot of night driving.

The trick to removing aftermarket tint is to harness the power of steam and ammonia to strip away the film. By using this method, you avoid cutting away the tint with a razor blade, which can be messy, possibly cause damage to the windows and is potentially dangerous--one slip of a razor blade on glass can cause serious injury. Learn how to remove aftermarket tint easily and safely with this handy tutorial designed to save time and money.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • Portable steamer or electric clothes iron with extension cord
  • Bottle of ammonia or Simple Green cleaner in a plastic spray bottle
  • Rags or extra-strength paper towels
  • Tweezers or needle-nose pliers

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Let the car sit in the sun for a few hours to heat the windows before starting this project. Roll down the side windows while you are not working on them to keep the car from overheating inside due to the steam.

  2. 2

    Start with one of the small side windows in the back seat until you feel comfortable with the task. Identify one corner of the film tint.

  3. 3

    Hold the steamer about 1 inch away from the corner and steam the area for several minutes to loosen the adhesive that glues the tint to the window. Use tweezers or needle-nose pliers to peel up the corner of the tint film, pulling gently as you continue to apply steam to a larger area of the film. Continue waving the steamer over the film, pulling slowly until the entire film peels off in one piece.

  4. 4

    Repeat the process for the remaining windows.

  5. 5

    Spray ammonia on the stripped windows. Wipe with rags or paper towels to remove the residual glue left behind from the tinting film.

Tips and warnings

  • Take extra care with the rear window--most vehicles have the radio antenna and rear defroster heating elements embedded in the rear glass. You don't want to cut any of the defroster lines, which would ruin the heating element.
  • Keep the windows down and leave car doors open while working with steam and ammonia to reduce the chance of injury and respiratory illness.

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