Getting tape residue off windows, and holding broken ones up?
September 16, 2009 1:40 PM   Subscribe

Best way to get duct tape residue off windows, and how to hold broken car windows up?

My gf's car is in some real crap shape. I'd love to surprise her one day and clean it up, specifically her windows. Her front driver and back passenger windows don't work and have to be held up. She's been using duct tape for over a year to do it, we still just can't quite afford the fix.

After a year of reapplying duct tape on a regular basis, the windows are covered in baked-on adhesive, it's actual a bit of a safety concern too. What's the best way to get that stuff off and clean them up nice and clear?

And is there a stronger non-permanent solution for holding the windows up? Even w/ tons of duct tape they fall over time or at a big bump. I don't mind the tape solution, I just wish it would hold better and for longer so we didn't have to reapply it every other week.

It's a 2000 Pontiac Grand Prix if that helps. Also, I am completely allergic to working on cars for the record.
posted by nmaster64 to Travel & Transportation (14 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Goof-Off will remove the residue. Back passenger window maybe not so bad, but not having a operable driver's side window would be a show stopper for me. Junkyard window regulator? Barter with someone handy?
posted by fixedgear at 1:48 PM on September 16, 2009

Nail polish remover and a razor blade will de-gunk. If you're not adverse to sawing, some little wedges of wood driven into the well alongside the window will hold them up.

(I drove a notorious beater in high school. Because I'm from Maine.)
posted by Mayor Curley at 1:48 PM on September 16, 2009

Best answer: You can try WD-40, Goo Gone, or Goof off.

Remove the interior door panel. You will see something like this. If the window is falling down, it is likely that it has fallen out of the metal holder, or the holder is no longer attached to the riser. In any case, you can replace the part for $50, or you can wedge a length of wood in their to force the window up.

Also, I am completely allergic to working on cars for the record.

You will save tens of thousands of dollars over your lifetime if you overcome this allergy.
posted by Pastabagel at 1:50 PM on September 16, 2009 [3 favorites]

You should be able to hold the windows up from the inside of the door. There's a part, most likely plastic, that used to hold up the windows. You can replace this part (called a regulator) which will allow the windows to roll up and down again or you can just prop them shut with a block of wood. Either way, you have to remove the inside door panels (which isn't as hard as it sounds: they are only held on there with a few screws and a handful of plastic clips and is the same procedure you'd use if you were changing out the stereo speakers).

Oops, I just read that last line about being allergic to working on cars. OK, rubber door wedges from the hardware store. Cost about $1.50 each. Ram them in between the glass and the door frame.
posted by jamaro at 1:51 PM on September 16, 2009

Lighter fluid pretty much gets any glue based sticky thing off pretty much everything. It's the cheapest way to go.
posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 1:56 PM on September 16, 2009

Seconding lighter fluid. It works better than nail polish remover or paint thinner, as well as goof-off and goo-b-gone and all those other things, and costs almost nothing.
posted by rokusan at 2:04 PM on September 16, 2009

Too bad you're "allergic to working on cars." With a screwdriver you could pull the door panels and either fix the window regulators or prop up the windows permanently with some wood - all in a leisurely afternoon of drinking beer & listening to music. It's quite therapeutic and will likely gain you some points with the g/f. Just sayin'.

Failing that, however, you can remove the gunk with any of the above methods (I recommend augmenting any of them with a razor blade or three). You may want to consider laying a hefty bead of silicone sealant in the upper window channel and bracing the window(s) in place until it sets. It'll be waterproof & should last a good, long time.

Good luck!
posted by torquemaniac at 2:10 PM on September 16, 2009

Nthing the razor blade suggestion. A razor blade and virtually any variety of solvent will get most anything off of glass in a jiffy.

Ethanol works pretty well. If you have any everclear laying about, give it a shot.
posted by kaseijin at 2:15 PM on September 16, 2009

Goo gone is great so I ditto that, or if you're feeling cheap take some peanut butter handy just smear some on, let sit so the oils will seep and loosen the stick.
posted by cristinacristinacristina at 2:20 PM on September 16, 2009

I favorited pastabagel but wanted to loudly second it as well. I had a car with this problem and astonished myself by being able to fix it when I took the interior door panel off. The window never rolled down again, but it never FELL down again, so I considered that a success. Just go slowly, take pictures to remember how things look, save all screws, etc.

Look into beginner's auto mechanics' classes at a community college or trade school. They'll be useful to you and will cure your allergy, and in the short run you might find an interested student willing to fix the problem for free or cheap.
posted by peanut_mcgillicuty at 2:31 PM on September 16, 2009 [1 favorite]

Just tossing this out there, but is there a vocational-technical high school or auto tech post-secondary school in your neighborhood?

They can do the repair for cheap. Sure, you're paying for student labor (mostly parts only) but it might be better and safer than duct tape.
posted by NoraCharles at 2:53 PM on September 16, 2009

When all else fails... plastic pipe cleaner containing MEK. Wear gloves. Do not drop on car paint. It's the solvent from hell and will tie your chromosomes into square knots.
posted by FauxScot at 3:01 PM on September 16, 2009

At our shop if the customer doesn't want to pay for a new window regulator, we will cut a piece of wood and jamb it under the glass inside the door to keep everything from moving. It sounds hokey, but this is the only thing that works on a consistent basis, and keeps people from calling back and saying the glass fell again.

Cut wood.

Jamb that shit in there.

Done deal.

Get a good single edge razor blade, spray goof off onto the glass and go to town. We have glass in our shop all the time that is covered in adhesive residue and this is what we do. No need to get some crazy caustic crap to remove the adhesive.

Spray it down.

Let it soak a bit.

Scrap away.
posted by Gravitus at 3:57 PM on September 16, 2009 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I'm gonna say "BrakeClean," my standard answer to "How do I remove _____?" Hose it down with some of that stuff, available at any auto store, and it'll come off with a minimum of scraping.
If it's not coming off with BrakeClean, it's not coming off, period.
And make sure you take some deep breaths while spraying it to fully partake in the dain bramage.

You can wedge something between the glass and interior door frame to keep the window up. I've fashioned myself a tool from a broken plastic tool and some electrical tape for just this purpose when I have to keep broken windows out of my way while working on car doors.

And, dude, it's your girlfriend's car. You better get un-allergic pretty quick. By fixing this, you could be the big hero boyfriend. A Grand Prix door panel is really easy. I remember doing one my second week of working on cars professionally. Get a Haynes manual and take it apart. Twenty minutes, easy-peasy.
posted by Jon-o at 5:21 PM on September 16, 2009

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