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Dealership "broke" my rear defogger while removing their defective tint


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I noticed that my 2018 Camry (brand new when I bought it from the dealership) tint film was coming away in the lower left corner on my rear window.  I called the dealership and made an appointment.  I got my oil changed as well as it was under warranty and due.  I was given a loaner.  During the day the service person called me and stated that they were having a problem getting the tint off and they needed another day.  He mentioned that it may impact the rear defogger.  Not knowing what he meant, I just said ok.  When I got my car back, I noticed when I tried to use the rear defogger, that it wasn't clearing the dew on the back window as it usually did.  I tried two more times and nothing.  I looked at the rear window and much of the defogger lines were scraped off and my defogger was useless.  The head of service told me that that can happen and that the rear defogger is mainly for driving, not for defogging?? or helping remove the dew on the windows and that it was my fault because it was basically "baking" the tint onto the window even more ( I live in Florida)  I told him that it was against the law to have "obstructions" that inhibit your view and safe driving.  I brought in a perfectly fine car with a small area of loosening tint and received back a broken rear defogger????The dealership said basically, "So sad, to bad"??  I said that they should replace the rear window as they never told me that this could happen.  Thoughts?? Suggestions??

 

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Sorry for your loss.


When he mentioned there would be an impact on the defogger, the onus was/is on you to ask exactly what impact, not just simply say 'okay'. That grants him permission to do what needs be done to remove the old film. Had you inquired further, he would have wound up explaining the risk; that sometimes when film is removed the defroster lines may release from the glass as the film comes away from the surface.

 

These are factors that impact defroster line when film is removed;

 

1. Poor quality firing of the defroster line during production of rear window glass. Camry's are one of the most troublesome rear glass for any window tint specialist because of this reason.

 

2. Poor quality film product applied; one that bakes on in a three year time frame. Florida is a graveyard for cheap/inexpensive window film products. It's also one of the places window film is tested against when in development. Most high quality film products have adhesives that can withstand 5-7 years of steady bombardment of Florida's climate.  

 

3. If the film product's adhesive has hardened (and baked to the surface) under the Florida sun, the only way to remove it is to literally razor scrape it off. Most window tint establishments do not guarantee operational status of the defroster elements for this reason.

 

4. There exists a couple of methods that are available to a tint specialist that removes film through a sweat/steam method. One is using a plastic bag and special solution to 'sweat' the film away, doing so with assistance from the sun (kind of similar to sweating away wallpaper without the sun). The other approach is by using an industrial steamer to 'steam' the film/adhesive away from the glass surface. Neither of these approaches to remove are successful with 'baked on' film.

 

Now, if you have a splotchy appearance in your defroster grid layout, it is because they hit the lines with a razor blade during film removal as opposed to scrapping the entire grid off once it was damaged. That would have given it a uniform appearance, however, the lines would not and do not work because they are made up of a metallic paint-like material that gets fired to the surface during glass production.

 

Yes, if you love the defogging aspect of the defroster grid (which has a primary function in defrosting the glass without scrapping).

 

Your options now appear to be:

 

1. Live with it.

 

2. Have the dealer remove the tint and finish scrapping the entire grid off to establish and more uniform look and retint again.

 

3. Once you achieve a cleaner appearance to the grid, you keep a towel or squeegee handy to clear dew from the window, manually.

 

4. Have the rear glass replaced.

 

#4 was what I wound up doing for a client who had played foul ball during the removal discussion by reversing his position of 'go ahead and remove it' some 30 years ago. After I had the glass replaced, he wanted it tinted. I refused to do it based on his actions leading up to replacement and I told him my reason for refusal was to spare the next tinter from the same ordeal; he denied he ever gave my installer permission to remove the defroster lines. After that, experience, our invoices specifically mentioned the defroster impact and it required a customer to sign off on it.

 

Good luck.

Edited by Tintguy1980
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I also will add that there is a known problem with the Toyota defroster lines from about 2016 - '18 where the defroster lines did not weld to the glass properly and were flaking and coming off during the cleaning process before tinting. 
Just my :twocents  on the matter. 

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