Car Window Tinting: Costs and Choices
Looking to get your vehicle’s windows tinted? There’s a lot more to it than just getting a standard tint. Here are some of the options that you have to consider when it comes to tinting
Which Window Tint Film Type?
A layer of dye is sandwiched between a layer of adhesive and a protective top coating. Dyed film is primarily used for privacy, style, and reducing interior fading. It’s usually the cheapest film option, but doesn’t block much heat. Over time it can delaminate and peel or turn purple.
Metalized film has several layers, one of which has metallic particles that darken the window and reflect heat. Since the tinting is from metal, the color doesn’t fade and blocks UV rays. That same metal gives it a shiny appearance and can block signals. The metal also makes it more expensive than dyed film.
These films combine the best of dyed films and metallic films. Metal is a part of the film, which allows it to reflect heat better than dyed films. The lower amount of metal also means a less reflective appearance, less interference, and lower costs.
Instead of a metal or dyed layer, carbon film has a layer with carbon. The carbon absorbs heat and UV rays to help keep things cooler and block visibility. Unlike dyes, the carbon will not fade.
Ceramic films are one of the latest window tinting advancements. These films have a thin ceramic layer instead of the dyed or metal layers. The ceramic layer will not fade, is very effective at blocking UV and heat, allows radio signals through, and isn’t super reflective. It costs more than other films, but is generally seen as the best option on the market.
What Level of Tint?
Tint Percentages and What They Mean
Tint is measured in percentage of light allowed through. The lower the percentage, the darker the tint. For example, a 35% tint blocks 65% of the light to only allow 35% through.
Legal Tint Limits
Depending on where you are, there will be different limits to what percentage is allowed by state, county, or city laws. Generally, states in the south tend to allow lower limits since the weather gets hotter. These limits are a good place to start.
Install Yourself or Use a Pro?
You will always get the best results when you go to a pro to get your windows tinted. Your windows will look better, it will take less time, and the work usually comes with a warranty. It also comes with a higher price tag, anywhere from $150 to over $400.
The more affordable option is to do it yourself, but these savings come with a lot of risk. Installing your own window tinting films can be very finicky and tricky. It’s easy to make mistakes that lead to bubbling, lines, or errors, and once the film is applied, it’s permanent. For many people, the higher quality and less risk of a pro job is worth the expense.