Should I Tint My Car Windows?

Have you seen how sleek cars with tinted windows look and are now considering tinting windows on your own car? Window tint is an easy and fairly inexpensive way of adding privacy and making your car look sharper. While window tint isn’t permanent, it does make a significant difference when you have it, so you’ll want to make sure you make the right choice! Read the rest of this article to learn whether or not you should tint your windows! 

What is Window Tint?

You’ve probably seen a car with windows so dark they almost look black. Not all are this extreme, but this is a perfect example of a car with tinted windows. Window tint is an extremely thin film, usually laminate, that is applied directly to the surface of a car’s windows. As you might expect, this will make your windows appear darker. This makes them difficult to see-into from the outside, while still allowing you enough visibility inside to look outwards. 

Is tinting car windows a good idea? It definitely can be, depending upon whether or not you care about the benefits tinting your car windows provides. These primarily include damage from the sun, privacy, and a sleeker appeal, which we’ll cover more below. On the other hand, having window tint on your vehicle can make it difficult to see at night and can look ugly if it starts to peel. 

The other thing to consider is car window tinting cost. This depends on the quality of film used and the size of windows your car has. Larger or curved windows are generally more expensive. The cheapest you could have your car tinted for is generally around $100, but that can quickly reach around $500. Once you start using higher quality films, your total cost can quickly reach $800. If you already have tint you need removed, this will likely add another $100 to the cost. 

Differences in Window Tint

applying window tint

When deciding to tint your windows, you’ll also need to select what type of window tint you want to use. There are variations in the type of window film and sun protection, which generally means a darker tint. There are typically five different types of window tint film used, including dyed film, metallized film, carbon film, crystalline film, and finally ceramic window tint film. Dyed film is often the most economic option, but offers the least protection. On the other side of the spectrum, ceramic window tint is the most expensive and offers the most protection. 

How dark should I tint my windows? To determine how dark you should tint your windows, you’ll first need to know the laws regarding window tint for the state you live in. Every state has their own regulations regarding window tint, including different limits for front windows, rear windows, back windows, and even for your windshield. You can find window tint available at different percentages. This is to indicate how much light is let in through the tint. Usually these include 70%, 50%, 35%, 20%, and 5% for the darkest window tint available.

Reasons to Tint Your Car Windows

window tint installation

There are actually several benefits to tinting your car windows. Many people tint their windows because they like the way it looks or want extra privacy. These are both great reasons to tint your windows, but by selecting the right film, you can also protect from the sun.

Here are a few excellent reasons to tint your car:

  • Protects Interior & Upholstery – The sun can be extremely damaging to the interior and upholstery of your vehicle. Especially if you have a leather interior, the sun can crack, fade, and discolor it if you let it sit for too long. Window tint will prevent the sunshine from directly blasting your interior.
  • Keeps Heat Out – Window tint will also help keep your car at a cooler temperature. Without the direct sunlight streaming through your windows, your car will naturally feel cooler, making you have less of a need to use air conditioning.
  • Blocks UV Rays – Window tint will also protect you while you’re actually driving the car. Window tints are effective at blocking UV rays, which are responsible for damaging your skin. This works even with film as clear as 70%.
  • Accident Protection – Another interesting feature of window tint is that it can help keep you safe in an accident. Window tint is actually great for preventing window glass from shattering and flying into you. With tint, your windows will be much less likely to shatter from flying rocks or thieves trying to break in. 
  • Security – One of the most obvious advantages of window tint is the added security. While you can see people outside the vehicle, they won’t have such an easy time looking in at you and the contents of the car. The darker your window tint, the harder it will be for a thief to peer inside. 

Disadvantages of Tinting Car Windows

window tint applicator

There are plenty of good reasons for tinting car windows, but there are also a few reasons not to tint car windows. Depending on where you live, the window tint you want to apply may not even be legal. Every state has different laws regarding how dark you can tint your windows, even with different specifications for your front, rear, and side windows. You can easily look up your state’s laws up online to make sure you are in compliance.

One of the other problems with tinted car windows is that it can be tougher to see through them. With a clear film this is not much of a problem, but dark window tint can be trickier. Window film is designed to still allow you to see out of, but this is not always the case. Especially when driving in conditions where visibility is already poor, like rain or night time, this makes window film fairly inconvenient. 

One final issue to consider about tinted windows is how long they last. Opting for a cheaper window film may seem appealing, but these can peel and crack over time. If you’re tinting your windows to make your car look better, there’s nothing that looks worse than peeling window tint. You’ll need to pay for any current tint to be removed first if you ever want to apply another tint.

Other Ideas to Consider

window tint measurement

How dark can I tint my car windows? Just how dark you can tint your car windows will ultimately be up to your state’s local laws and jurisdictions. This applies to all windows on your car, each with their own respective limits. Some states don’t have limits on specific windows, others do. In most states you can probably get away with a 35% window tint all around, but research your specific state if you want to go darker.

Can you legally tint your car windshield? Just like how the darkness of your window tint has limits, so too does the extent of what windows you can actually tint. This also varies by state, but most allow you to tint the top part of your windshield down to the AS1 marking, which is generally just a few inches. Currently only Hawaii, Ohio, and North Dakota permit full tint on your windshield, which you’re limited to just a 70% tint. 

How long does tint last on a car window? The length of time your window tint will last depends on the quality of film you used. Cheaper options like dyed film will last around 5 years, while mid-range options like metallized films typically last more than a decade. Carbon and ceramic window tints are actually guaranteed for the lifetime of your vehicle. This makes them the best value for your money (assuming you plan to keep the car for a while).

If You Want Window Tint, Go Ahead!

window tint applicator

Now you have a better idea of what window tinting is all about! To make your car  look sleeker while also being protected from the sun, apply window tint for an inexpensive solution! This will also keep your car naturally cooler, while giving you plenty of privacy to relax. This can make your windows harder to see out of at night with darker tints, so ensure you’re not impairing your ability to drive by tinting your windows. Window tinting is a fantastic and fun way of modifying your car, but be careful to comply with all state laws so you don’t get a ticket!

About Ren R

Loves cars and helping others learn how to take care of their own vehicle. Drives a Honda Accord and enjoys every second of it!

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