Hello there and welcome to the BMW Car Club of America.

If you are a BMW CCA member, please log in and introduce yourself in our Member Introductions section.

How do you remove window tint?

Discussion in 'Detailing' started by Brian A, Jan 17, 2009.

    • Member

    Brian A

    Post Count: 657
    Likes Received:7
    How do I remove rippley purple window tint from the back window of my 1991 318i?

    Apparently it has been on for at least a decade and maybe two. I try peeling it and it comes off as two layers, both of which have the purple tint. Neither layer is soluble in water, mineral spirits or acetone. The tinting material has been applied as three 8" wide bands horizontally across the defroster wires.
    • Member
    • Technical Service Advisor

    mooseheadm5

    Post Count: 1,880
    Likes Received:15
    Ask a tint shop. In fact, if you pay them for a retint, they will remove yours as part of the deal. Failing that, I would go for heat (hair dryer, not heat gun) to help.
    • Member

    John in VA

    Post Count: 624
    Likes Received:3

    RaketeBlaue guest

    Post Count: 22
    Likes Received:0
    Ammonia, razor blades and super fine steel wool. Buy a good quality spray bottle and fill with pure ammonia. For best result be sure that the temperature is above 60 degrees and your car is in the sun. The warmer the window surface is, the better.
    1. Spray ammonia on the area that you want to remove and let sit for about 10 minutes, (works best with removing small areas or strips at a time).
    2. Test the film by peeling the corner with a razor blade. If the film does not delaminate, reapply ammonia in step 1 and repeat this step until delamination occurs.
    3. Remove film.
    4. After the film is removed, the adhesive leaves a gummy residue. Spray with ammonia and lightly clean the glass with the fine steel wool. Don't use a coarse steel wool or press too hard, you will scratch the window and damage the defroster and/or antenna wires, (if so equipped).
    5. Finish with wiping down the window with a solution of dishwashing liquid and water. Final clean with window cleaner.

    That should work on 99% of all tint. If you have any questions, just shoot me a PM as I have a couple of other tricks you can try if the above doesn't work.

    Will M. - Orlando, FL
    • Member

    CRKrieger

    Post Count: 1,616
    Likes Received:20
    IMHO, using steel wool on any automotive window is begging for scratches. Nylon mesh or pot scrubbers are safe and should be equally effective.

    RaketeBlaue guest

    Post Count: 22
    Likes Received:0
    I know it sounds crazy, but that is what the majority of tint shops use (or used to use, I haven't worked in one in over 18 years). Be careful with the pot scrubbers, I have seen people ruin their windows with the 3M pot scrubbers. I would just use the product that you are comfortable with. Good luck! :p
    • Member

    MGarrison

    Post Count: 2,819
    Likes Received:144
    Green Scotch-Brite scrubber pads (or sponges) will scratch glass easily. Remember, there's different grades of steel wool. I would assume you wouldn't use any of the coarser grades of steel wool.

    RaketeBlaue guest

    Post Count: 22
    Likes Received:0
    Yes sir you are correct. I usually use "000" or "0000" steel wool, it may be packaged at Home Depot or Lowes as "extra" or "super" fine. Appologies for the grade ommission! :D
    • Member

    Brian A

    Post Count: 657
    Likes Received:7
    Just an interim update: I'm waiting for a warm sunny day: its barely been breaking 60F here lately. I did buy ammonia and let it soak (no sun though); it had no effect whatsoever, did not seem like the ammonia penetrated the film at all.
    • Member

    CRKrieger

    Post Count: 1,616
    Likes Received:20
    There are also different grades of pot scrubbers. I said NYLON, which comes in a variety of forms, none of which can scratch automotive glass. The 3M product has an abrasive side I would never use.

    Brian, the only way the ammonia will work is on the adhesive. The film itself is plastic and it will never dissolve in any water-based solvent, so anything used to soften the adhesive can only be applied at the edges or at cracks or cuts in the film. When I removed tint from my windows, a spray cleaner with ammonia did a great job of softening it, but it had to be worked slowly - and from the edges.

    RaketeBlaue guest

    Post Count: 22
    Likes Received:0
    Brian, check you PM.
    • Member

    Brian A

    Post Count: 657
    Likes Received:7
    Don't mean to blog, but I feel compelled to report that I tried and tried and tried and the stuff wouldn't come off. I showed a professional detailer and he had his doubts after picking at it a bit ("1 to 3 hours labor; no guarantees"). I thought about how awful it would be working on the inside of the back window of a hot stuffy ammonia-fumed car.

    It cost me $210 to get the rear window replaced with a new one. Problem solved.

    RaketeBlaue guest

    Post Count: 22
    Likes Received:0
    Wow! :eek: Sorry you had the replace the window! Did you grab any pics before the old one was removed? It might help others to identify a potential problem before buying an older bimmer, or save time when deciding to remove or replace. Thanks!

    Will
    • Member

    Brian A

    Post Count: 657
    Likes Received:7
    Replacing the window was a bit of an impulsive reaction to a repulsive thing.

    Here is a photo of the car, which hints at just how the tinting was more translucent than transparent. A photo doesn't tell the story. The task of removal seemed so daunting so I just took an easy, though more expensive, path.
    • Member

    CRKrieger

    Post Count: 1,616
    Likes Received:20
    I dunno about you, but as a Certified Cheap Bastard© I would have saved the old one so I could put it on a bench and pick at it ... or soak it in vinegar ... or somethin'.
    • Member

    granthr

    Post Count: 1,583
    Likes Received:2
    Or maybe you could have put it on ebay and sold it as a "rare" tinted rear window and got a premium price for it!!!! :D

Share This Page