Tinting your car windows is a sure-fire way to give it a new look, but it can be a difficult process to master. However, if you do the job yourself, you can save hundreds of dollars with some patience, perseverance, and the assistance of an assistant. Nonetheless, it is critical to first conduct research on the laws governing window tinting in your state, as tinting is not permitted on some windows in some states. So, how difficult is it to apply window tinting, and is the effort worth it? Continue reading to learn everything you need to know about window tinting.
Pre-Cut vs. Self-Cut?
If you’ve never done window tinting before, we strongly recommend purchasing a kit that includes all of the pieces you’ll need pre-cut. You can, of course, do your own cutting, but this is a skill that takes time to master, and while there are numerous approaches, you are almost certain to get it wrong the first time. A pre-cut kit, on the other hand, ensures that all of the pieces are precisely cut to fit the windows of your car, as each kit is specific to the make, model, and year of almost any car. Cutting tint film to size accounts for at least 80% of the job, and no matter how well you apply the film, you will not achieve a professional-looking result if it is not cut properly.
Getting the Windows Ready
It is critical to properly prepare the windows, whether you are using a pre-cut kit or doing the cutting yourself. Using a proper window cleaning solution and a rubber squeegee to ensure you get all the dirt and grime off is the most effective way to clean your windows. For the best results, clean the windows two or three times in a dust-free area at temperatures ranging from 40 to 980 degrees Fahrenheit, and avoid using solutions containing vinegar or ammonia, which can damage the film. Remember to clean the rubbers that hold the windows in place as well to prevent dirt, dust, and grime from being transferred. Even the smallest speck of dirt will prevent full contact with the glass, resulting in impossible-to-remove bubbles in the film.
Removing the Tint Film
If this is your first time, you should avoid using the window as a template. Instead, cut a template for each window out of cardboard. This way, you can get the exact shape you want without wasting any film. If you make the template incorrectly, you can simply make another, but remember to add about three quarters of an inch below the rubber seal, and about a quarter inch to the sides and top to provide coverage below and under the seals. When you have a working template, place it and the film on a firm surface and cut along the edges with a sharp Exacta or similar knife so that the cut film exactly matches the shape of the template. Now that you’ve created a shape that will fit the window, double-check the film by placing it inside the window. You’ll be able to do any trimming you need to make sure the film fits properly with the help of your assistant, but make sure you cut right into the corners to avoid gaps between the rubber seals and the film. Remember that the tint film goes on the inside of the window, so make sure it fits properly, as the outside and inside window seals can differ.
Using the Film
Once you’re satisfied that the film will fit the window, use a squeeze or trigger spray bottle to apply a generous amount of application solution, peel the protective layer off the tint film, and spray the exposed adhesive as well. Now comes the exciting part:
- Place the adhesive side of the film over the window, beginning at the bottom edge, with the assistance of your assistant. Working upwards, avoid crinkles, as many bubbles as possible, and pressing too hard, as the adhesive is pressure sensitive. If you press too hard at this point, the film will stick to the window and you will have to start all over again.
- When you’re satisfied that the film is securely in place, use a rubber squeegee to push it firmly onto the glass with even strokes, beginning in the middle and working outwards. At this point, wet the outside surface of the film to provide lubrication for the squeegee, and while there are many solutions for this, a good idea is to use a few drops of chemical-free dish-washing liquid diluted in a pint or so of water in a trigger spray bottle.
- Continue to wet the film while working the air bubbles and application solution out from under it, but avoid pressing too hard or changing the direction of the squeegee in the middle of the stroke. Remember that the film has not yet fully bonded with the glass, but it will bond more as the solution is removed from beneath it. Make sure you can get to the corners and edges of the window; if you can’t, use a piece cut off from a second squeegee to get the film to stick around the edges as well as in the middle.
- As air bubbles are worked out, gradually increase the pressure on the squeegee, and the film should be firmly bonded to the glass, with no wrinkles, trapped air bubbles, or gaps around the edges, by the time all of the application solution and bubbles are removed.
- Repeat the process for the remaining windows, allowing at least 48 hours for the adhesive to cure before washing or rolling your windows up or down.
A Final Thought on Car Window Tint Application
How well the tinting process goes depends on your skill, dexterity, patience, and, of course, how well you prepared the windows. This article is intended for general informational purposes only, and it makes no claim to be the final word on the subject of window tinting, nor does it encourage you to do the job yourself. If you are unsure about tinting your car windows yourself, hiring a professional is a better option. Here you can find a local window tinting service, Call us at: (917) 893-3883.