How to Remove Tail Light Tint?

Whether you did it or it was already there when you bought your car, tinted tail lights certainly give your car an elegant look that you may cherish. But are they good for you and your car?

If you are reading this article, you probably have already asked yourself this question and are considering the options. You are probably even contemplating how to remove tail light tint.

In this article, I am going to help you decide whether you really need tinted tail lights or not, and tell you how you can remove tail light tint yourself if you want to.

Why do people tint the tail lights of their cars?

Let's begin with the big question, why do people tint the tail lights of their car? Some do it for the style, to make their tail lights look cool and stand out from others.

Others argue that tinting protects the tail lights from dust and harmful UV rays that might damage them. While these might sound like valid reasons for having tainted tail lights, there are other ways to avoid damage to tail lights from dust and UV rays.

So, is it really good, is it worth it to have your tail lights tinted? That is completely up to you to decide. But before you do so, consider the next point to make a decision.

The disadvantages of having tinted tail lights

First and foremost, tint reduces the amount of light emitted by your tail lights. We all know how important the tail lights are for safety while driving or when you park your car on the roadside. The tail lights are there to show the cars behind you that you are taking a turn or stopping or slowing our car down.

If your tail lights are tinted, the driver behind you might not get the message you are trying to convey, particularly at night and in foggy or rainy weather.

This significantly increases the risk of a head to tail collision, causing injuries, maybe fatalities even. Moreover, tinted tail lights are illegal in many places, like in California, Maryland, and some other states in the USA. 

If you are planning to drive through different states in the USA in a car with tinted tail lights, you may, unwillingly, run into trouble with law enforcement, resulting in a hefty penalty.

So, yes, tinting may increase the longevity of your tail lights and give your car that cool look that you cherish so much; but removing the tint will certainly help you drive safely and reduce the risk of an accidents. How can you remove tail light tint, you might ask. Let us get to it right away.

Equipment and materials you will need to remove tail light tint

Now that you’ve decided or are considering removing tail light tint, you will need some equipment to do so. These could include a lot of things, but I have narrowed them down to make the job easier for you. The kind of equipment you will need depends on how the tail lights were tinted in the first place.

  • You will need heating equipment such as a hairdryer if the tint was done with vinyl.
  • If the tint was done by applying paint, you will need paint thinner or remover and enough piece of cloths to wipe with.

How to remove tail light tint

If the tail light is tinted with vinyl, the following steps will easily and efficiently remove it.

Heat the vinyl on the tail lights with your hairdryer until the adhesive holding it starts to come loose.

Once the adhesive is loos enough, slowly start peeling the vinyl with one hand while heating the rest of it with your hairdryer.

Repeat the above steps until the whole vinyl comes off.

Once all the vinyl is removed, wipe off the residual glue that is on your tail lights with a damp cloth. You can also use a plastic cleaner to shine the tail lights.

If the tail lights are tinted with paint, you have to use paint thinner or remover to get rid of the tint. Be careful not to touch paint thinner or remover with your bare hands and not to spill any on yourself or others.

If you accidentally splash thinner on your skin, wash with soap and plenty of water immediately.

It is a good idea to use paint thinner in an open space, instead of the confinement of your garage, as inhaling too much thinner may cause breathing problems. Follow the steps described below to remove the painted tint.

Wearing protective gloves, soak a piece of cloth with paint thinner or remover.

Wipe the tail lights with the soaked cloth and leave it for 2-3 minutes. Be careful not to leave the thinner for too long, or the plastic on the taillights will be damaged.

Wipe the tail lights with a clean dry cloth.

Repeat the above steps as many times as needed to remove all the tints from the tail lights.

Alright, you have removed the tint from your tail lights, now you might be wondering how to keep them clean and maintain them properly. Let’s begin by taking care of your tail lights first.

How to keep your tail lights clean

The tint is gone, and your tail lights look as good as new, but will they stay like that forever? The simple answer is, NO. You will have to keep it clean, but how?

With all the dust it collects from the road, it might seem too challenging to keep the tail lights clean, but it is not as tough as you think. Just a few steps every once in a while, and they will be clean.

  • The best way to keep your tail lights clean is to wipe them with a damp cloth after you park your car the last time for the day, but we all know how difficult it is going to be. Whether you are returning from work or a trip to the grocery store, you’ll be too tired to do it. What other options do you have?
  • Once a week or once every other week is a much better option. But for that, you will have to put in a little more effort. Soak the tail lights with soap water for a while using a piece of clean cloth and then wipe them from corner to corner. 
  • Be gentle to avoid damaging the plastic. Then wipe the lights one last time with clean water. If some stains are still there or you can’t remove them at all, follow the next step.
  • Put some toothpaste on the tail lights and let it dry. Clean the lights off with a damp cloth, rinse and repeat until all the stains are removed.
  • If all of the above-mentioned procedures fail to remove the stains or if you are not satisfied with the results, go for option three, the plastic cleaner. 

Read the instructions on the bottle properly and work accordingly to get your desired result. Remember to wipe every inch of your tail lights properly to achieve perfection.

Maintaining your tail lights

  • Make sure your tail lights are working properly. Check them often to see if they are emitting as much light as they should.
  • Don’t keep your tail lights on for too long. This will damage the bulbs inside, forcing you to change them more often than you would like to.
  • Avoid damage. Make sure when you’re parking your car in a closed space, the tail lights do not hit something. If you are parking in an open place, park it properly, so the tail lights don’t get hit by other cars.
  • A visit to an auto mechanic once a month is highly suggested. A professional can tell you all you need to know about your car and your taillights. They can tell you whether your taillights are working properly or not and if you need to change the bulbs.
  • Change the bulbs inside your tail light once they start to become dim, or when your mechanic suggests you to change it.
  • Choose LED bulbs for your tail lights. They are more energy sufficient and work longer than normal lights, giving you less of a headache about changing them a lot more frequently.
  • Last but not the least, keep your taillights clean as much as you can.

Removing tail light tint might seem a little tedious job, but once you have finished and have the clean looking taillights, you will realize all the work was worth it.

All you have to do now is to take proper care of your tail lights and they will always look as good as new and work as well as they should.

If you came this far and have finally decided what you want to do with your tail lights, I thank you for reading through my post and hope it will be helpful enough for you. Feel free to share this post with a friend who needs to remove tail light tint.

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