Whether you’re doing it for privacy or a cooler ride, tinting your vehicle’s windows proves to be very useful. Tinting is when you apply a transparent sheet of darkened film to your windows. If you’ve ever wondered how much is it to tint my car window, this is for you to explore some of your options.
- Window Tinting Cost at Home
- Cost to Tint Car Windows in a Car Dealership
- Types of Tints and Their Prices
- Benefits of Letting Professionals Do the Tinting for You
- What is the Darkest Legal Window Tint?
Window Tinting Cost at Home
Tinting your windows at home is a very tedious process. I personally don’t recommend it but it is more of a beginner skill level so it may be worth a try to take a shot. You can find a standard starter kit for about $100 and then the actual window tint film can run you about $50. It will also cost you about two to four hours of work.
There will be a couple of things that your starter kit will need to consist of. That list includes a spray bottle, a hard edge, a card or hard squeegee, a soft squeegee, a sharp blade (utility knives are recommended), a heat gun, dish soap, water, and the window tint film. These tools will be needed in order to get a smooth application process. Just remember, because it seems to be a smooth process doesn’t mean it’s an easy one.
Before you get started on trying to figure out all the technical bits, you need a clean base. You need to make sure that the glass on the window you are preparing to tint has been thoroughly cleaned. Anything that is left visible underneath, you will be able to see through the applied tint film.
A helpful tip I learned is to try to prevent soap from running down into the door when you are spraying the inside glass. You want to spray enough to help the tint film temporarily adhere, but still be able to slide around. If you spray too much and it does run into the door it may harm electrical parts that are inside of it. Some of the parts in the door are window switches and speakers, you don’t want to lose those.
Another thing to make sure you are doing if you plan on tinting the windows yourself is using manageable slabs of the tint film. You do want to have a few extra inches going in every direction, but you don’t want to be moving the whole film roll around. This can be bulky and uncomfortable, not to mention it can throw you off in the process.
In the event of a messed-up application, you may be able to just take off and reapply the unsatisfactory film. It could be as simple as that little fix, but you could also wind up paying even more money towards tinting your car windows if you are not careful. This is one of the reasons it is not usually recommended.
Cost to Tint Car Windows in a Car Dealership
The cost of tinting your windows at a dealership may be a bit more expensive, but there are some pros to going this path. We’ll get into those pros in another section. For now, we want to focus on the overall price.
Most car dealership tints will run you anywhere from $199 all the way up to $400. Again, this is a big price jump, but you must consider that you are not only paying for the materials, you are also paying for their skills and time. I’ve seen some shops run about $30-$50 for each window and even give you a discount when you are tinting the whole car. Of course, this all is dependent on the type of tint you choose, the size, and even the shop you go to.
A higher price does not always mean better quality. In my experience, the only place that trumps that quote is my automobile. I’ve tried to cut corners, do it myself, and even go through backyard mechanics. You are not going to get better care than in a shop, especially one that specializes in tinting. Discounts go a long way, but usually, the premium prices provide premium services.
Types of Tints and Their Prices
1. Dye Polyester Window Tint
Dye polyester window tint is the most basic tint on this list. You will find this film in any small mechanic shop, and you would usually use this if you were to try it at home. This tint is also the cheapest on the list, but that comes with a price of its own.
Polyester usually doesn’t have the best sun protection. Though, some of them are made with other materials, such as metal, to combat those sun rays better. Another problem that you would usually run into using this type of window tint film is the fading of color over time.
The pricing is anywhere from $69 to $250. I know that’s a big jump, but the pricing depends on how many windows on your vehicle you are tinting. Also remember to check for any deals beforehand, as they can subtract from your price as well.
2. Carbon Based Window Tint
Carbon-based window tint is a step up from the dyed polyester. Its main component is instead carbon, which is better at blocking UV and IR light that comes from the sun. Various results have produced that carbon tints can block up to 99% of UV radiation.
This tint is considered one of the best tints to block your car from UV radiation. As a bonus, you will experience way less color fading than the latter option too. With this better quality, of course, you will be paying more of a premium price. These tints range from $100 to $250 and they are well worth it.
The benefits of using a carbon-based window tint involve are up to 60% cooler car and the added protection of your interior. Its darkness is great for protection, and as mentioned previously, the color will be long-lasting.
3. Multi-Layered Window Tint
This window tint can be done with different window tints. The carbon-based tints and ceramic tints seem to be the most popular of them all. They have all the same protections as the carbon-based alternative, but it is multiplied by three.
There is going to be an increase in price, as it is a little more premium than its singular alternatives. I believe it may be worth it because it’s been reported that it blocks the sun’s rays even more efficiently. This must mean that it cools down the car even more as well.
4. Ceramic Tint
Ceramic tint is one of the newest tint films to come out. They are very high quality and can cost anywhere between $150 all the way up to $1,200. The make, model, and type of vehicle you own will affect the price. If for some reason you wish to get this tint removed though, it also comes with a price ranging from $50 to $400. You really can’t go wrong with this type of tint, and you will be getting your money’s worth.
There are plenty of benefits to using this type of tint film. The first one that comes to mind, is that it blocks 99% of UV rays. It’s another amazing alternative for protecting your car from UV radiation and keeping your passengers safe. Using this tint could also cool your car down by 85% or more. Both features also protect your interior from fading or cracking.
One more thing that sets this type of window tint on a whole other level is the material it is made from. Unlike the other films we’ve covered, this one does not contain any carbon, dyes, or metals. Instead, this film is made up of small ceramic-based nanoparticles that you could not see with your own eyes. This feature makes the film easier to see through on the road than other tints and reduces glare while driving.
Benefits of Letting Professionals Do the Tinting for You
Leaving the tinting to a professional is probably the best route to take when venturing on this path. They for sure know what they are doing as they make a living from this process. There are many advantages and even protection against human error, which is bound to happen sometime or another when going through a pro.
Getting your tinting done by somebody who does it professionally ensures that you will get a great smooth application. If anything does go awry, you can always take it back to get looked at again. When you do it at home, you may have to reapply your film. If you really mess up, you could potentially end up paying more costs for window tinting than you would begin with.
The poor quality window tint film is also a frequent complaint when people do their tinting themselves. You are much more likely to get a lower quality film than expected, as you do not have access to those high-quality dealers like a shop would. You need to be careful of this as the lower quality films can offer little to no protection at all and fade fast.
Having a super clean area can also affect the application process. In a shop, they have a designated area for this. No debris is flying around in the air to get between the glass and the film when it comes to application.
At home, you may think you have a clean area at home, but unfortunately, there are things in the air that we can not see. These microscopic floaties can still stand between you and a perfect tinting job. Therefore, taking your vehicle to a designated area for this specific reason is a good idea.
Among other things, going through a professional also saves time and could save you a potential headache if you’re not aware of your local tinting regulations. They are typically very knowledgeable in this area, so there’s usually no need to worry about that when you tint with them.
Even if you went through painstaking research to buy your tint, with the lower than advertised quality films come around their readings may have been off. Staying with a professional ensures you’re staying within the legal limit and you are getting the tint you intended to in the beginning.
What is the Darkest Legal Window Tint?
There are limits to just how much you can tint your windows. This varies from state to state. The lowest you can go is about 35%. Again, this varies from state to state and where the window is located on your vehicle. For example, you may be able to tint the front windshield to 35%, but the back windshield can only be 40%.
However, you go about tinting, making sure your choice is within the legal limit. Some places don’t even allow tinting at all! If you happen to go below the limit, you may attract unwanted attention from your law enforcement. You could possibly even get some fines and take down the glorious tint you just purchased.
Tinting can be illegal for a multitude of reasons. Tinting does reduce the amount of light that gets into your vehicle. This can limit your vision of the road and could be a major cause of an uptick in traffic-related accidents. Tinting can also pose a threat to your law enforcement and other agencies alike. They can be obstructive during investigations, and dangerous during traffic stops and other similar events.
Window tinting is a very useful tool to make your ride more comfortable. Many factors go into pricing such as the type of vehicle, the type of window film, and how many windows you wish to tint. This comprehensive guide has gone into a little more detail for each of these price points.
If you feel I have left anything out or have any other questions, feel free to leave them in the comments. I believe that tinting is best left to professionals. They have the correct tools, areas, and expertise to get the job right the first time.