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Removing tinting film

I just bought a used car with tinting film on the rear windshield that has gone bad. Is it possible to remove the film without destroying the defroster and antenna wires on the glass? If one damages the wires, is there any way to fix them?


If it was baked on as bad as my Supra, your going to ruin the wires getting the tint off. I wound up replacing the glass with a piece from a salvage yard that had no tint on it with wires that were in good shape.

Try peeling a corner and see how you do. Some of these stick on window things are non-adhesive, some are not.

If it doesn;t peel off readily, you can expect to damage the rear defroster wires. The good news is that those circuits are set up in parallel, so if you damage a few transverse members you’ll only have some undefrosted stripes in your defrost area. If you can find the breaks, there are even repair kits you can buy.

The best way to remove the film is to wait for a really hot day, and soak rags with ammonia and press them against the rear window with garbage bags and old blankets jambed in the back window for a couple of hours. Then use a heat gun and a plastic scraper to remove the film.

The odds of your heater traces surviving this process are very slim. Tint shops will do this job for you, but they will make you sign a waiver saying that you understand that your heater traces probably will not survive.

I’ve gotten about 90 percent of the window tint off with no damage to the defroster or antenna wires so far.

The tint is actually three layers – a clear protective film on top, tinted film in the middle, and adhesive next to the glass. It was fairly easy to get the protective film off – pry up an edge with your finger nail and gently pull. The tinted film is a little more tedious – pry up an edge with your finger nail, gently pull until it tears, and repeat and repeat. Once both layers of film are off, apply ammonia to a small section with a paper towel, and then wipe off the disolved adhesive with another paper towel – and repeat and repeat.

The remaining bit is down at the bottom where it is a little harder to maneuver, but is also out of my line of sight. I’ll work on it sometime this spring when I’m in the mood for the tedium.