Saturday, December 7, 2013

Restoring Clarity: How to Remove Aftermarket Window Tinting.

You can use this advice for whatever you want. If you have some really nasty window tinting and want to replace it, this article will work for that purpose. The same goes for when you get a fix up ticket for illegally tinted windows on your ride or like me, getting a really small truck that's hard enough to see out of without the windows being a limousine tint on the sides. As I've gotten older and my vision less responsive to low light, I've grown to realize that having as much light at night to properly see the mirrors is important. The truck I'm driving for the next week or two is a 2003 Ford Ranger with vent covers and window tint on the front side windows. Since I'm 6'1", my eyes are level with the top of the window, so the vent covers came off right away. The tint remained and was a source of concern, especially with the police presence and the need to use my side mirrors. With permission from the boss, I got to work and later started to remove this godawful tinting.

In a previous life, the owner was a smoker. A nice burn on the driver's seat and numerous dimples on the inside of the window were a testament to that. The tint itself was also wavy, which distorted the already compromised view to the sides. It was well past time to get this off. However, you need to have the right tools before you begin to make this job quick and easy. There are no substitutions for any of this. As always, be careful as the tools and methods used can cause severe burns and cuts. You can also damage the glass and trim if you are not careful. Do this and any other fixes at your own risk. Do not even think about using this method on a heated rear window. You WILL wreck the defroster grid if you use razor blades on it. A heat gun and some solvent may be the fix here.

  • You NEED a heat gun. A hair dryer may suffice on a warm day, but a heat gun will cost about the same without annoying your significant other.
  • A supply of single edge razor blades, with no scraper. Figure two blades per average sized side window.
  • A jar or other box to put the use blades in.
  • A microfiber towel or two.
  • A bottle of Sparkle glass cleaner.
Roll the window down about halfway and open the door, if applicable. Use the heat gun and warm a corner to get it started and use a razor blade to lift up a corner enough for you to get it with your fingers. Heat a slightly larger swath and pull the tinting gently off the window. Despite your best efforts, the tint will tear so be patient. Just keep working it up with the razor blade and using the heat gun to soften the adhesive. You may find it helpful to use a light slicing motion with the razor blade to get this worked off. Once the tint is off the window, you'll have a lot of sticky mess left. Spray this liberally with the glass cleaner and if you don't want your door trim wet, place a towel over it. Use the razor blade to gently scrape the adhesive off the glass. When blade stops being effective, toss it and get a new one. Really, trying to clean the adhesive off will get you cut fingers and scraping it will ruin the blades anyway. Use a new blade and the cleaner as a lubricant, keep removing the adhesive. Once the bulk if this is off, finish cleaning with the microfiber cloth until the window is clean and clear. You can also try a plastic scraper to remove the adhesive if you're concerned you'll scratch the glass, but if you're careful the razor blades will suffice. Once the windows are clean, you've increased your visibility in your ride. Maranatha!

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