Window tinting continues to grow in popularity, driven first by aesthetics and second by function. There are a number of considerations before making a decision on whether or not to tint your vehicle windows. This guide will run through the installation process, pros and cons, and also provide some helpful tips to guide you in your tinting decision.
Window Tinting Installation
Many vehicle manufacturers apply a low-level glass tint to the windows, but aftermarket window tinting has become common among many car and truck owners. Most people know what window tinting looks like—darker windows in your vehicle—but if you are weighing the decision, it’s helpful to understand what the tinting process involves.
- Vehicle taken to dust/wind free area
- Windows washed with specific cleaning substance
- Window film is measured, conditioned, and cut to specifications of vehicle
- Window film is installed onto interior side of each window
There are additional subtle steps involved in the installation process, but as you can see, the process is straightforward and relatively quick. Now that you know the process of window tinting, let’s look at the pros and cons of the feature.
As noted above, one of the pros of window tinting is enhancing your vehicle’s aesthetic appeal, but there are also functional reasons to consider tinting.
- UV Protection for Passengers
- The window film applied during installation provides protection from harmful Ultraviolet rays for passengers
- Glare Reduction
- Glare reduction provided by the window film could be the difference between avoiding a dangerous collision or being involved in one
- Heat Reduction (Up to 70% Cooler)
- The heat reduction provided by window tinting is extremely beneficial in warm weather – to provide for comfortable driving conditions inside your vehicle
Although there are many pros that come along with window tinting your vehicle, there are also potential cons that need to be considered before making a decision to tint.
- Before adding any custom tinting, make sure you reference your resident state laws regarding regulations for window tinting levels. This may also be a factor for those who travel through multiple states frequently as laws for window tinting can vary from state-to-state.
- The application cost varies greatly, based upon region, but depending on the specifications required, the installation can be costly.
- Poor Installation/Damage
- Although not a common occurrence, a poorly installed or damaged window tint can result in required removal and reinstallation and as a result, a higher cost
Tips & Recommendations
After reviewing the pros and cons, let’s take a look at some tips & recommendations if you are leaning toward purchasing a window tint installation.
Professional Installation vs. Personal Installation
Although possible to personally install window film for your vehicle’s custom tint, it is not recommended. We recommend a professional installation to avoid bubbles and scratches. While a personal installation may seem like a cost-effective solution, it is likely to end up being more expensive unless you have experience applying film. Removal and reinstallation will destroy any potential savings. Your favorite vehicle is not the place to experiment with “how to tint a vehicle’s windows.”
Be Cautious and Careful Post-Installation
Assuming you take our recommendation to opt for a professional installation, the shop that completes the install should provide you with instructions regarding the newly applied window film and how it should be handled. Typically, professional installers recommend not rolling down the windows with new film for a minimum of 3 days post-installation. This can vary so be sure to confirm with your installer what the best approach will be for your car or truck.
Do Proper Research on State Laws for Window Tinting
While this was touched on earlier, it’s worth reiterating. It is crucial to do proper research regarding the state law for window tinting before you move forward. If you travel often (specifically to and from multiple states), it is recommended that you check the laws for all states you regularly travel through and do your best to cater your window tint to those regulations to remove any potential issues regarding the law and your window tint. Professional installers should know the law, but we suggest you do your own homework as they are unlikely to know the law in all the states you travel in.
Overall, we are positive on window tinting; here’s our take on the big picture. If you tint, keep it dark enough to be effective in your climate, but light enough so law enforcement can see in. Really dark tinting adds additional risk for law enforcement which potentially increases your personal risk (think hand on the gun as they approach the vehicle).
Tinting, however, is not the first accessory or upgrade we would suggest for your car or truck. Here’s our personal view: on cars, the first accessory should be floor mats. This is an option that adds resale value.
On trucks, the first accessory should be an aluminum headache rack with lights. No single accessory adds as much impact to aesthetics as a high quality, lighted, aluminum rack. (We stress aluminum headache racks, as nothing will detract value as much as a rusted steel rack.) This option adds resale value on trucks, as well as protection to the rear window.