It's the window tint nightmare of all nightmares. Bubbled, purple, nasty window tint on a rear window!
But what can you do about it and is it even advisable to tackle this job yourself?
Removing old tint from a rear window is one of the most challenging jobs you will encounter.
If you attempt to remove the window tint simply by peeling, you'll probably end up with a sticky mess on the glass that will take several hours to remove.
The rear defroster may or may not survive the process, and undoubtedly you will spend a great deal of time and elbow grease in the process.
Since 1989, my company Fletch Window Tint has removed thousands of feet of old bubbled up window tint. While there is no easy way to remove that old film, we will provide you with some tips that might keep you from throwing in the proverbial towel.
The first consideration is do you even want to attempt this job on your own?
Depending on the age of the film, whether or not it has delaminated, and the quality of the film, you may run a high risk of damaging or even LOSING your rear window defroster. You see, a rear defroster is a small grid made of a mixture of metal and resin that is attached to the glass with an adhesive. Sometimes the old window film will attach itself so well, that when you remove it, you also remove the defroster. This might be a good enough reason to leave this job to the professionals. However even professional window tinters cannot guarantee that your rear defroster will stay intact during the process.
But if bravado has gotten the best of you and you want to give it a try... Well here are some tips:
SUN AND AMMONIA TECHNIQUE
This technique requires a sunny day. If you live in an area where it's too cloudy to heat the rear window, consider alternative techniques.
Cut two black garbage bags in roughly the shape of the window. Spray soapy water on the outside of the window and cover it with one of the black trash bags. Smooth the plastic flat.
Protect all inside surfaces near the window with a tarp: speakers, rear light, and upholstered surfaces, and wear a face mask. Mix a 50/50 mixture of ammonia and water in a spray bottle. Ammonia fumes can be harmful and different individuals will respond differently to exposure to the fumes.
While the ammonia is still wet, trap the ammonia against the window film with one of the cut trash bags, while leaving the remaining trash bag on the outside of the glass. When left under the hot sun, the garbage bags will absorb heat, helping the film peel off in one piece.
Start peeling the window film. Use your fingernail or razor blade to lift the window film in a corner of the window, and try to peel the film off in one entire piece. Be careful not to cut the defroster lines. Keep the tint moist with ammonia as you strip. Use a razor blade to scrape off any tint that did not peel.
Remove any residual adhesive with ammonia and very fine steel wool, then wipe the surface with a paper towel before it dries. Remove the exterior trash bag, and clean the window thoroughly with glass cleaner.
At Fletch Window Tint we are dedicated to educating and informing our customers on the latest techniques and products available for window tinting. Since 1989 we have installed over 1 million square feet of film in Texas. If you have any questions feel free to contact us.