preparing to tint
For most people tinting glass isn't a do-it-yourself project. But if you have patience and an eye for detail, or you think you might like to go into the business, you might want to give it a try.
Here is a blow by blow tutorial for tinting car windows starting with how to choose the tint.
Since you will most likely be doing just one car you won't need a 100' roll of window film. Your local parts store should have kits suitable for doing one car but in our experience this is usually poor quality material. It would be better to look on the Net for suppliers who sell film by Madico, 3M, or SolarGard. Some firms sell film in pre-cut kits to fit your specific model which eliminates the need to cut the film to shape. The down side is that if you ruin a piece of film (and that's easy to do) you won't have any extra to work with.
Buying roll stock requires you to cut to fit but it's cheaper and you can always get extra if you need it without buying a whole kit. Our tutorial will be with roll stock so we can show you how to cut the film to fit. If you choose to go with a pre-cut kit, just skip the cutting part.
We don't recommend using tint darker than allowed by local laws. Film that is too dark can be unsafe, attracts attention from the police, and can get you in real trouble in case of an accident - think what a sharp lawyer could do in court with "his windows were illegally tinted and restricted his vision resulting in injuries to my client, etc." Totally not worth it. Learn the laws and keep everyone safe.
Window film is rated by percentage of light allowed through the film. The exact numbers differ by manufacturer but generally start at 70% for the lightest then 55%, 40%, 35%, 21% and 5% (limo). The majority of states use 35% as the legal limit for front doors, some allow darker on the back, some have different rules for light trucks and commercial vehicles. It is up to you to check. Getting stopped for illegal tint usually means a ticket, removal of the tint and a trip to the DMV to get inspected.
To get started, you will need the following tools:
- Rubber squeegee
- Hard card (bondo spreader)
- Olfa snap blade knife
- Paper towels
- Spray bottle - 16 oz. filled with solution - 2 tsp Dawn in 16 0z. water.
- Dawn dish detergent
- Screw driver and other tools as needed to remove door panels, if necessary.
- Heat gun
- 1 1/2" Masking tape
- Tool pouch - optional
- Measuring tape
- Utility razor blades with holder
For best results work in a protected, well lit area. If you must work outdoors, the best conditions would be damp, with no wind. Also, make sure that YOU are clean. No fuzzy sweaters or clothes covered with sawdust. Make sure your tools are clean. A tool pouch full of lint could result in transfer. Before starting scrub your hands well.
Let's start with the doors.
You need to get the bottom edge of the tint below the weatherstrip at the bottom of a roll-down window. There are three ways of doing this.
One is to tuck the gasket down and trim the tint so that it ends just above the depressed gasket. Later, when the window is rolled up the gasket will pop up above the film's bottom edge.
Another is to trim your film to fit just below the inner weatherstrip then slide it behind the strip after you have the top of the film secured.
However, on many cars that weatherstrip fits too tightly for this procedure and, in any case, it requires more skill on the part of the installer. For best results loosen the top of the door panel if possible or remove it completely. Then you can lift the weatherstrip out and then not worry about the exact position of the tint's bottom edge.
Clean, clean, clean!
The absolutely most difficult part of tinting is to prevent dust and other foreign matter from getting behind the film. The biggest culprit here is the car itself. Wash the car before you start then follow this procedure for roll-down windows:
First, if you have felt window gaskets you need to prevent those little hairs from migrating under the tint as you apply it. Roll down the windows and apply masking tape to the inner edges of the window gasket. Position the tape so that it goes into the window channel just a little. Roll up the window leaving it open about one inch.
If you have smooth rubber gaskets you won't need the tape but make sure the channels are clean. Even if it is a new car you should absolutely wipe out the channels with a damp towel and flush liberally with water.
Make sure the outer glass is clean. If necessary, spray with solution and squeegee clean or wipe with a lint free towel.
Roll the windows down about an inch and clean the top edge of the glass.
Wipe down the inner window frame with a damp cloth. Clean, clean, clean!
Spray the inside of each window and carefully scrape the surface of the glass with a razor blade. Be thorough.
Spray the inner surface again, then starting at the top, use the rubber squeegee to remove the excess water. Use overlapping strokes. Next, spray a flood of water down the left and right channels ( the part that the edges of the glass fit into).
Complete this process for all your doors and you are ready to proceed to the rear and quarter windows.
The rear window needs to be scrubbed with a kitchen scrub pad and squeegeed dry. Use a strong spray to flood the edges of the window, washing down any dirt that may have been pushed to the edges. Other fixed windows may be razored and squeegeed the same as your door windows.
Don't want to try it yourself? Contact Unionville Auto FX at 860-930-3618 to schedule a window tinting appointment.
Unionville Auto F/X
32 Depot Pl. Unionville, CT 06085
A division of Unionville Auto Body
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