The Ultimate Driver’s Guide on How to Tint a Car Window

When you spend a lot of time in your vehicle, it’s important to feel comfortable – after all, it’s practically your second home. Tinting the windows of your four-wheeler might be just what you need in order to feel completely at ease. So, here’s the ultimate guide on how to tint a car window. With this method, you’ll be cruising down the streets with a fresh new look in no time. 

The process of installing tints on your windows is not difficult, but it can be quite time-consuming. You have to cut a piece for each window, both inside and out, and carefully align it with the edges of the window. However, with a little bit of patience and attentiveness, you will surely do the job right. 

Tinted Windows Have Several Major Benefits

First things first, let’s make clear what window tinting means exactly. It’s the process of applying thin tint film to the glass of each window to darken it. You might be wondering – why do people do it? Is it just for the show? The truth is, besides looking good, tinted windows have many practical benefits. Here are some of the most important ones:

Tint Is Great at Protecting You and Your Car’s Interior From UV Rays

Standard glass can block out some UV radiation, but good quality tint does a much better job when it comes to protecting you from unhealthy long-term exposure to the sun. The upholstery, dashboard, and carpeting of your car’s interior can also be damaged from overexposure, especially if they’re made from leather. 

Extending the life of each part of the interior is important, no matter if you have a brand-new one, a used vehicle, or even one with a salvage title. So, tinting your windows can be that extra step you can take in order to protect your road companion and everyone that finds themselves in it.

There’s No More Squinting When You’re Driving on Particularly Sunny Days

The number one driver’s responsibility is to ensure the safety of everyone on the road. When the sun is constantly in your eyes, it’s difficult to navigate through the road, and that’s definitely not a good idea. Tinted windows are a great solution for this because they reduce glare and make it easier to see even on particularly sunny days, and they can help your car stay cooler as well.

Tint Film Is a Great Layer of Extra Protection and Safety

It might not seem that important, but having privacy and feeling safe in your vehicle is essential, especially for a family car or when you have to take a route that seems a bit sketchy. Tinted windows can provide you with that much-needed layer of privacy and safety, but they can also be quite literally a lifesaver. If an accident occurs, the tint film can help hold the glass together and prevent it from shattering into a million little pieces. It goes without saying, but that could be very dangerous.

Check the Regulations in Your State Before You Start Exploring Different Tint Options

As you can gather from the benefits described above, tinted windows help reduce the light that passes through the glass, and this attribute is called Visible Light Transference (VLT). The higher the percentage, the more visible light the tint lets in. 

While most vehicles nowadays are sold with standard tinted glass, some states have legal limits when it comes to VLT, especially concerning the car’s windshield. So, it’s important to check if there are any regulations before you start looking for the right tint for your vehicle. After all, the rules are there to keep you safe, no matter if you’re driving on a bright day or during the night

Before you buy window tint, check if there are any regulations

What Options Are Available, and What Are the Pros and Cons of Each Type?

The never-ending evolution of cars entails constantly coming up with new options, no matter if it’s for performance or aesthetic purposes. The same goes for tinted windows, and nowadays, if you decide to do it, you’re looking at a number of different options

There’s dyed, metalized, carbon, ceramic, as well as hybrid tint you could put on the windows of your car. With that many options, it might be difficult to figure out which type to go for. So, to make things a little bit easier, here’s a brief overview of what you’re getting with each option:

Type of TintPros Cons
Metalized TintVery effective at reducing the glareIt might interfere with cell reception and GPS signals
Dyed TintThe cheapest option that still works wellNot very durable and fades over time
Hybrid TintThe best parts of both metalized and dyed tintIt might share some downsides too
Carbon TintGreat durability and insulation capabilitiesThis option can get quite pricey
Ceramic TintThe most durable and effective optionThe most expensive type on the market

Is It Possible to Tint the Windows by Yourself?

Tinting the windows of a vehicle is a standard procedure in any car repair shop. But, if you’re looking for a professional to do it for you, you also have to be prepared to set aside hundreds of dollars. Sure, you’ll most probably end up with a high-quality job that is worth your money, but you could also take the less pricey route and make a DIY project out of it. 

The Process of Tinting Your Car Windows Is Easy, but It Takes Patience

Applying tint is not super complicated and requires a few basic tools, but it can be quite time-consuming because you have to repeat the process on each window. It will probably take you a few hours, but if you’re prepared to spend any amount of time in order to do it right, you’ll surely end up with a good result. So, with a little bit of patience and care, tinting the windows of your car by yourself is definitely possible.

You can get professional help, but you can also do it on your own

Materials You Will Need to Get the Job Done

Of course, it’s important to make sure you have everything you need before you get down to it. There are inexpensive tint installation kits you could buy, or you can get their contents separately. Here’s everything you’ll need for the job:

  • The type of window tint film you want,
  • A large spray bottle of soapy water,
  • Razor blade and scraper,
  • Microfiber towels,
  • Tint squeegee,
  • Heat gun or a hair dryer. 

Step-By-Step Guide on How to Tint a Car Window

So, after you’ve gathered all the necessary materials and tools, you can start the process. It’s important to do it in a clean environment because you surely don’t want dirt and dust to mix up with the tint. If it’s clean and tidy, your garage will work just fine. Here are the steps you need to follow

Step 1: Prepare the Windows and the Rest of the Interior

Dust particles can come not only from the outside but from your car’s interior as well. So, it’s important to vacuum everything on the inside of your vehicle, especially if there’s any dog hair. From dusting off your steering wheel to carefully cleaning your headliner, try to do it all thoroughly to avoid getting dust particles stuck between the tint and the glass. 

Also, remove any stickers or adhesive leftovers from the windows if there are any. For this, a  spray bottle of soapy water will work just fine. After you’ve cleaned the windows and before you get to the real stuff, it’s important not to leave the windows wet. So, dry them well using a microfiber towel. Also, leave the car on because you will need to move the window up and down while you work.

Step 2: Measure and Cut the Tint Film for Each Window

Just like a sticker, the tint film has a layer that can be peeled off and easily attached to the window. So, it’s important to determine which side is adhesive, so you can have it facing you while measuring and cutting how much you need. 

To correctly measure the tint for each window, it’s best to simply do it on the window itself. Spraying the outside of your car window with soapy water will help the tint film temporarily stick, but it will also be slippery enough to slide around as needed. So, with the liner facing you, unroll the tint, put it against the window, and with a precision knife, cut away a manageable piece. That means you should leave out a few inches in every direction while cutting.

Step 3: Cut the Tint More Precisely

Once you have a piece of tint that is just a few inches wider than your car window, it will be easier to work with it. Spray more soapy water, this time on the tint as well, and it should be sticking to the window in a way that makes it much easier to precisely cut the extra film. 

So, take the knife or razor blade and cut the film with the edges of the window guiding you. Once you’ve cut one edge, you should slide the film just a little bit towards it because this will ensure that you have enough tint to cover the whole window. If you do it right and repeat the process on every edge, you should roughly have half of an inch of extra tint, which is ideal for when you start the installation process.

Step 4: Line Up and Install the Tint Pieces

Peel off only the top half of the liner first and spray the now-exposed part with fresh water because it will make the tint easier to slide around and get it perfectly lined up with the edges of the window. Slightly pull down your window, start at the top, and use your fingers to tuck the two sides in the window seals and smooth everything up. 

Remember, everything should be doused in soapy water, and you’ll have no problem sliding it up and down as you try to find the perfect fit. After the top and the sides are lined up, pull off the remaining liner and use your fingers to tuck the bottom of the tint into the seal at the bottom edge of your window.

Step 5: Smooth Everything Out

Once the tint film has adhered to the surface of the window, it’s time for the finishing touches. Using a hard edge tool such as the tint squeegee, smooth out the tint by pushing all the water and bubbles outward, toward the edges. Spray more soapy water, so you don’t accidentally rip the liner, and keep squeegeeing until the tint looks integral to the window. 

Also, a heat gun can be helpful in removing air bubbles and any excess water, but if you opt to use it, be careful not to get too close. If you put it on one area too close and for too long, the tint can get damaged, and you’ll have to remove it as soon as you’ve managed to put it up.

Now That You Know How to Do It, You’re Prepared to Possibly Replace It Down the Road if Needed

If you would like to have your windows tinted, knowing how to do it yourself is essential. Sure, you’ll be saving a couple of hundred dollars, but that’s not all. While there are durable, high-quality tint options out there, they do have a lifespan, and you’ll probably have to replace them. Now that you know how to install them replacing the tint will be a piece of cake because removing the old film is much easier than putting it up. Remember, when it comes to this process, patience is key. Good luck!