How To Remove Headlight Tint

This is our guide on how to remove headlight tint from your car’s headlights. 

There are plenty of reasons why you might want to remove the tint from your headlight. It’s possible you bought a vehicle and the previous owner had added the tint. Or maybe you tinted the headlights yourself and just want to change things up. 

Alternatively, tinting headlights is illegal in some jurisdictions, so you might need to remove it or face legal problems. 

Thankfully, removing headlight tint is dead easy. You can do it from the comfort of your own home, and you don’t even need that many supplies. 

We’ve been testing and working on headlights for over a decade. So if you need help figuring out how to remove headlight tint, you came to the right place. 

Keep reading for more information on how to remove headlight tint. 

Why Your Headlights Might Be Tinted

No vehicle comes with headlights from the factory. If your car’s headlights are tinted, it was definitely added after the car left the factory. 

So, if you didn’t add the tint, it was probably done by a previous owner. This is done mostly for aesthetic purposes, and we have to admit, tinted headlights do look pretty cool!

In some cases, people add tint to the car temporarily while painting or working on the surrounding bodywork, and then forget to remove it. This is done to prevent the headlight lens from getting dirty or damaged when working on the rest of the car. 

Why Remove The Tint From Your Headlights

Though it looks pretty cool, there are plenty of reasons for removing tint from headlights. 

Old Tint 

The longer the plastic tint sheet stays on your headlights, the more damage it sustains. There could be scratches and wrinkles in the tint, it could have shrunk a bit over time, exposing the edges of the headlight, or any number of other problems. 

So, if you want to add new tint to your headlights, you will need to remove the old one first. 

Reduced Light Output

One of the biggest drawbacks of tinting headlights is that it reduces the overall light output from the headlights. The more aggressive the tint, the less light is allowed to leave the headlight, thus making nighttime driving harder. 

Poor Road Coverage

Another problem with tinted headlights is that they reduce the angle of projection of the headlights. This is because the headlight lens actually helps spread light so that you get a wider angle view, but when the headlights are tinted, the beam becomes narrower. 

One of the biggest reasons you might want to remove the tint from your headlights is because of the legal issues. In many states, headlight tint is illegal and could open you up to fines, tickets, or even jail time!

Aesthetics

And lastly, one of the simplest reasons for removing headlight tint is aesthetics. We think headlight tint looks awesome, but you might not agree. And if you prefer the stock headlights look, removing headlight tint might be more to your taste. 

The legality of headlight tint varies from place to place, and from one authority to the next. Generally speaking, most states in the US do not allow regular cars to have tinted headlights. 

Still, if your car is registered as a show car that is meant for display purposes only, you might be able to tint headlights legally. 

Alternatively, some states will let you tint the headlights on your daily driver as well, given that the tint meets certain conditions. 

Put simply, tinting headlights is illegal in some jurisdictions, and merely frowned upon in others. Other jurisdictions still are completely indifferent to tinted headlights. It is best to check the laws in your particular location before tinting headlights. 

What You’ll Need To Remove The Tint From Your Headlights

So, if you want to remove the tint from your headlights, here’s what you’ll need. 

Heat Gun

Headlight tint is stuck onto the headlight lens with very strong adhesive that allows it to adhere to the surface and stay there. A heat gun or hair dryer will be used to melt the adhesive under the tint so that it is easier to remove the plastic sheet. 

Goo Gone 

You can use Goo Gone or any other cleaning product that is designed to break down adhesive and make them easier to clean off. Some folks even prefer to use isopropyl alcohol.

Microfiber Cloth

A microfiber cloth will be used to rub the adhesive off the headlight lens without leaving any fabric particles on the surface. 

Razor Blade

We’ll use the razor blade to remove the stubborn patches of adhesive that just won’t budge. 

How To Remove The Tint From Your Headlights

So now that you have everything you need, let’s get cracking. 

Step 1: Heat Up The Headlight 

First, use your heat gun or hair dryer to heat up the adhesive under the plastic tint sheet. This melts the adhesive, making it easier to remove the tint. 

Make sure to heat the entire surface of the headlight. Here, we recommend going over the entire headlight in consistent horizontal motions. 

Don’t put the heat gun too close to the headlight or your car’s bodywork, and don’t spend too much time on any one spot, as prolonged exposure to the intense heat could damage the headlight lens underneath. 

Step 2: Peel Away The Plastic Sheet

Now that the adhesive has been warmed up a bit, start peeling the plastic tint sheet. It is easier to start with a small corner and slowly work your way through. 

When peeling, you should try to keep the plastic sheet in one piece, as it will make peeling it easier. If the adhesive is not properly melted in one spot, go over it with the heat gun again to help things along. 

You might also want to use the heat gun as you peel the tint away, heating up the adhesive under the sheet. 

Step 3: Spray Goo Gone On The Adhesive

Once you’ve peeled away all of the plastic tint, it’s time to clean away the adhesive residue. 

The adhesive that is left over will be quite stubborn and hard to get off, so you will need something to break it down and make it easier to work with. 

We used a product called Goo Gone, which is specifically designed to break down adhesives. If you cannot find this particular brand, check your local automotive store for something similar or just get something online. 

Spray a healthy amount of the Goo Gone on the areas covered in adhesive. 

Alternatively, you can even use isopropyl alcohol. If you go with this option, we recommend using masking tape to tape off the headlight, as isopropyl alcohol may damage the bodywork of your car. 

Step 4: Clear Away The Adhesive

Now, let the adhesive cleaning agent sit for a few seconds before wiping away with the microfiber. Depending on the type of adhesive and how long the tint has been on the headlight, you may need to do multiple passes with the cleaning agent. 

In some cases, you may even have to use a razor blade to clear away the residue. This should be a last resort for patches of adhesive that just won’t budge, and you need to be extra careful to prevent the razor from leaving scratches on the headlight lens. 

To use the razor, spray a healthy amount of the cleaning agent on the adhesive. Then, use the razor to carefully scrape the adhesive off the headlight. Make sure to position the razor’s edge as close to the headlight lens as possible and only apply as little pressure as you possibly can. 

Conclusion

Summing it all up, there are numerous reasons why you might want to remove the tint from your headlights. 

In fact, tinted headlights might not even be legal where you live, so removing them is necessary. Removing headlight tint is actually pretty easy, and you only need a few supplies. 

Still, there are some important considerations to make when removing headlight tint, as we’ve talked about above. That said, it is nothing you can’t accomplish with the right tools and know-how. 


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Author

Richard Nickleson is the author and owner behind Headlight Reviews. He first started the site as a hobby to share his insights on car parts and specifically headlight bulbs, but it soon ballooned and now he writes on all topics surrounding headlights bulbs. If you've got a bulb question, contact Richard here.