What Should I Know About Tinting?

[BSD] Most tint shops offer a range of tint’s that vary in more than one category. One category is level of tint. That is measure in how much light is allowed OUT of the car. The reason it looks dark inside the car is because light can’t come out, not because light can’t come in. Well, that is the primary reason. Some of the standard tint levels are 35% and 25%. Most states have a maximum level of tint that you can put on the side windows (the ones to the side of the driver) and that is 25%. For rear side windows or the rear window, the level of tint in many states is unrestricted. Many go with 5% tint back there. That is limo tint! In Texas, the rear window is "unrestricted" so you could us 0% or paint on the rear window. You would not be able to see out, either, of course. Most cars get 25% sides and 5% rear.

Another thing that varies is the amount of heat that is kept out. The tints are measured and a percentage is listed. I think 60% is the highest I remember. More percent is more heat reflected by the tint. As tints are better at reflecting heat, they also reflect visible light more and, therefore, get a shiny or mirror like look. If you like the mirror like look, then the best heat reflectors will be good for you.

Many people want their car to look as dark as possible. This isn’t to hide things but it is for looks. It looks really cool. My ’92 is red with a black top and I bought the car with a quality maximum dark tink for the state of Texas. It is 25% on the sides adn 5% on the back. You can not see in the car unless you get pretty close. It blends perfectly with the black pillars and top of the car and really looks sharp. JMO.

If you want the maximum dark look and also the maximum heat reflecting, then your tint will have somewhat of a mirror look. I did this tint on my Mustang (which was all black) and it looked cool. The glossy paint and slightly mirrored windows both reflected objects near the car. It was cool to see yourself in the reflection of both the windows and paint. Your mileage may vary.

One point I’m trying to get at is if you want the limo or gangster tint, you probably have to get the one that doesn’t reflect as much heat. Mirrored black windows isn’t really the gangster look, IMO.

Also, the more heat reflective that it does is usually more expensive. And, you can get warranties with tint. I’ve never had one bubble but I’ve always had a top of the line tint. $180 for an entire Mustang (discounted) was an ok price. An NSX should be less.

You don’t want to put it on yourself. It takes practice and skill to get it to look just right. Plus, a goof is expensive as the tint material is fairly costly.


Care & Feeding of Tint

Never used ammonia-based cleaners (such as Windex) on tint. Use a non-ammonia cleaner. Several "tint safe" car window cleaning sprays that do not use ammonia are available for this exact purpose. A soft cloth dampened with mildly soapy water followed by one with clean water to rinse and another to dry are also effective for mild amounts of dirt.


Can I Tint The Engine Compartment Glass?

[WIZ357@aol.com] I have my rear hatch tinted for 4 years now and still no fading, degradation or bubbling. If you get the tinting done right, it should not give you any problems. And oh, I’ve also had my engine compartment cover off for a couple of months now with no problems.


Radar Detectors & Tint

Any tint on the glass you point a radar detector through affects the detector’s range. This is mainly an issue on units that feature rear and side detection. Metallicized tints are worse than dyed tints.


What Types of Tint Are Available?

The two main types are dyed and metallicized (usually titanium). The dyed tints look darker but do not reject heat as well and the cheaper ones tend to turn purple-ish after spending a few years in the sun. Good metallicized tints reject heat well.

[CA – 99/7/24] I have a black 94 with tinting, it is a 3M titanium tint, it isnt that dark, but it reflects most of the heat. I am very happy with it. I sometimes keep the engine cover off, and have not had any problems.


How Can I Remove Tint?

One of the most easiest ways to remove tint is to put some ammonia in a spray bottle and get some black plastic trash bags. While out in the sun light, spray the ammonia on the inside of the window against the tint the take the trash bag and lay it against the window on the inside in which you just sprayed. Smooth out the bag so it adheres to the window. Leave the car in the sun for about one hour to let the ammonia soak into the tint, this will eat the glue. At this point remove the bag and try and peel up one corner of the tint. The tint should come off in one sheet with most of the glue. Now just use generous amounts of Windex to clean off any left over glue on the glass. Most professional window tinters will remove old tint this way.


Any Other Options?

[GM] Here is further info from the FoliaTec catalog: Ultralux – completely transparent material with extraordinary filtering properties in the spectral region of sunlight … based on a high strength polyester film combined with 7 silver and metal oxide layers. Excellent UV and heat rejection with full light transmittance. Rejects 99% UV, 89% Heat.  Transmits 69% light (so I guess its not completely clear?)