How to Remove Window Tint the Right Way

While most guides tell you how crazy difficult it can be to remove old window tints, we’re here to tell you that 99.9 percent of the time — it’s a breeze.

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need a dozen different tools and hours of elbow grease to get the job done. You just need the right technique and some patience.

In this guide, we’ll walk you through some tried-and-tested ways to remove window tint correctly, and teach you how to do it at home.

Is It Time to Take off Your Old Tint?

There are tons of reasons that you might want to learn how to remove your car’s window tint. For starters, you might have just purchased your new vehicle only to be pulled over by the cops and told that your current tint it’s illegal in your state.

And even if you live in a state where window tint is legal, you might find your old tint aging with time. Here are some tell-tale signs that it’s time to get rid of your old window tint.

Bubbled car window tint in need of replacement
Nobody wants their car windows to look like this.

Discoloration

If the window tint on your vehicle is low-quality, then it’s possible that it can discolor over time. So, if you’re looking at installing your own window tint, make sure that you use the right stuff to save yourself from having to repeat the job down the road.

However, if the low-quality stuff is already on there and has been for a while, you might start to see purple splotches throughout. If that happens, you’ll need to remove the tint and reinstall a new sheet. Invest in the right stuff this time, and it’s the last time you’ll need to do it.

Bubbling

While low-quality tints can start to bubble over time, you’re more likely to see this happen because of an amateur installation. If there were any air bubbles left in the tint when it was first installed, over time those bubbles will spread and grow.

Air bubbles in window tint film on a car's rear window

If you trust your tint installation skills you can remove the old tint and reinstall the new tint the right way. If you don’t trust your abilities, you can pull off the old tint and then take it to a tint shop or dealership for a new installation.

Upgrading/Darker Tint

Maybe you just moved to a new state where you can have darker window tint and you can’t wait to ditch your old tint for a new one.

Just make sure you do your research on how to properly install tint and find out your state’s regulations for window tint before you purchase a darker tint.

How To Remove Car Window Tinting

While there are plenty of ways to remove tint out there, learning how to remove old tint from car windows is easier than anyone wants to admit. Take it from us, we’ve tested all the methods out there and all you really need is a razor blade and some patience.

However, there is one big disclaimer to all this — if your window tint has been on your vehicle for a while or someone didn’t professionally install it, you might have to deal with getting the glue off the window after you get the tint off.

If you do run into that problem, we’ll walk you through what you need to do — just be prepared to double down on your patience. So, let’s get started on learning how to take that tint off.

A Note Before You Start

Learning how to take window tint off is easy — but only if you have a window tint film. The film is an aftermarket product installed on the windows that you can easily remove with a razor blade.

Modern Nissan R35 GTR with factory window tint
Many modern cars come with tint from the factory which is impregnated in the glass. Photo: Nissan GTR Black Edition, by Craig Dennis, CC BY

We’re not talking about vehicles that have tinting built right into the window. If your car has tinted windows, you won’t be able to remove this tint, instead, you’ll need to replace the entire windowpane since it’s tinted glass.

Keep in mind that windshields do not come with tint built right into the glass, it will only be on rear side windows. If you’re not sure if your vehicle has an aftermarket tint or tinted glass, keep reading and we’ll teach you how to identify an aftermarket window tint.

The Easiest Way To Remove Tint

The easiest window tint removal method is with nothing more than a sharp razor blade. You read that right — all you need is a razor blade when you’re learning how to remove old window tint.

If you’re removing tint from a side window, roll it about halfway down and locate the edge where the tint starts and trace it over to where the window starts to curve down. If the window doesn’t curve down that’s alright, you just might have a little more trouble with the next step.

If your vehicle has a professionally installed window tint, the edge will be a little closer to the top of the window, but it will still have an edge. If the tint does not have an edge then rub your finger down from the top of the window and feel for a “lip.” If it’s there, it’s going to be subtle.

If it’s not, then you don’t have an aftermarket tint, you have tinted glass. You can’t remove tint from tinted glass, so you’ll need to replace the entire window.

Sometimes car tint can peel off into different strips when you remove it.

However, if you feel a lip or see an edge, you’re in luck. You can peel the tint off and it won’t take you long! Start by sliding the razor blade up against and underneath the edge to get it to start peeling.

Once you get it to start peeling, it’s important that you go slow and try to keep the entire thing in one sheet. Work it slowly across the windowpane using the razor blade to free up sections that get stuck as you go.

If the tint starts to peel into different sections, start at a different spot until you get it to come together again. While it’s not the end of the world if it peels off in different sections, it’s going to slow down the process quite a bit and create a ton of extra work.

Removing window tint from the windshield (above the AS-1 line) works in the same way, just make sure that you start at an edge on either the driver side or passenger side of the vehicle and work across.

Tips and Tricks if You Get Stuck

Sometimes you’ll get started only to realize that you can’t stop your tint from peeling into different strips or you’re getting a little more glue on the window than you’d like. We’ve got good news for you there.

Window tint removal gone wrong

If you are running into problems all you need is a hairdryer, steamer or a heat gun. This will heat up your window and cause the glue to melt which will help you get the old tint off. Usually, the glue will stick to the tint when you’re pulling it off — but this isn’t always the case.

However, be careful when heating up the glass — you don’t have to worry about damaging the window, but it can get hot to the touch and burn your fingers.

The key here is to take your time — you’re not in a race to get the tint off as fast as possible.

On the contrary, by taking your time you’ll actually get the tint off faster because it won’t start peeling as you pull it off.

Final Touches and Aftercare

One of the best perks of using a razor blade is that you won’t have a ton of glue leftover on your windshield after removing the tint. You will, however, notice some small spots of glue that can easily be taken care of.

Glue residue left after removing window tinting

The most common solvent that can help you clean up leftover glue is isopropyl alcohol –– just make sure you’re working in an open and well-ventilated area. Some other popular options are using surface cleaners like Goo Gone or picking up a pack of baby wipes, which surprisingly does the trick better than anything else.

Now, keep in mind that you’ll want to dry your windows after cleaning them, so make sure you have a microfiber cloth handy to dry everything off and leave your windows sparkling clean.

If you’re looking at installing a new tint, make sure that the windows are spotless before starting — otherwise, you’ll be right back to square one. Even now that you know how easy it is, that’s not something you want to deal with over and over again.

Have you tried removing window tint on your own? What worked best for you? Let us know in the comments below!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *