How to remove decals from tinted car windows

Written by w d adkins
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Removing decals from any glass surface requires care. Tinted glass can be a problem, depending on the process used to create the tint. If a car window has factory-installed tint, it’s no different from regular glass when it comes to removing decals because the tint is contained inside the glass. Aftermarket tints, on the other hand, are formed by a film applied to the glass surface and may be damaged. There are some things you can do, but there’s no guarantee you will get the decal off with no damage to the tint.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • Dishwashing soap
  • Sponge or cotton cloth
  • Professional grade window scraper
  • Window degreaser
  • Paper towels
  • Plastic scraper
  • Window-safe glue solvent
  • Glass cleaner

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Determine if the tint is factory-installed or aftermarket. Roll down a window and look at the window edge. Aftermarket tints normally stop a quarter inch or so short of the edge of the glass. If you still aren’t sure, stop by a dealership and ask someone to check for you. If the tint is aftermarket, skip to Step 5.

  2. 2

    Soak the decal with soapy water using a nonabrasive sponge or cotton cloth if the tint is factory-installed. This works best with paper-based decals but is still helpful with the plastic type.

  3. 3

    Use a professional grade glass scraper to lift one corner of the decal. Peel as much off by hand as you can to minimise scraping. Use the scraper to remove any pieces you can’t peel off.

  4. 4

    Use a glass-safe degreaser to remove any glue residue. Once the degreaser has set for five to 10 minutes, use paper towels or a cloth to wipe away the residue.

  5. 5

    Use a plastic scraper to remove as much of the decal as possible from aftermarket-tinted glass. A plastic ice scraper or dish scraper works well. It helps to soak the decal with soapy water first, especially if it is paper based. Do not use a metal scraper or razor blade as you would on a regular window. This will damage the tint film.

  6. 6

    Apply a window-safe glue solvent such as Goo Gone or spray the area with WD-40 and allow to set for a few minutes. You should be able to wipe any remaining pieces of the decal and glue residue off. Finish up by washing the area thoroughly with window cleaner.

Tips and warnings

  • Never use a scrub pad on a window surface, even one made of plastic or nylon. Also, do not use any kind of abrasive cleanser. Either is likely to cause permanent scratching.
  • When working with solvents or degreasers, it’s wise to wear rubber gloves and safety goggles. Even the safest solvents can be irritating or harmful, especially if they get in your eyes.

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