Auto window tinting offers multiple benefits from reduced sun glare and interior heat gain to privacy and a higher-end, customized aesthetic. After nearly 50 years in the window tinting business, we’ve heard just about every question in the book. 

Frequently Asked Questions About Auto Window Tinting 

Our goal is to provide exceptional commercial, residential, and auto window tinting, and that includes keeping our prospective and current customers informed. Read on to get answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about auto tinting.  

And, as always, you can always contact us to get answers to any other questions or to get a free, no-obligation quote. 

Will auto window tinting damage my windows?

Professionally installed window tinting should never damage your windows. If it does, the professional window tint installer should warranty their work and pay for the sum total of any replacement costs. That said, DIY tinting is another story, and we don’t recommend it 

Installing window tinting without bubbles, wrinkles, peeling around the edges, or a “cheap” look is not as easy as it seems in the average YouTube video. Plus, if you or a friend damages your window in the process of installing or removing your window tinting, you are responsible for the window replacement costs. 

How long does it take to install auto window tinting?

Length of time varies from one hour to four hours, depending on the type of car, the size, the number of windows, and the number of auto tinting installers working on the job. The job should always be finished the same day it is started. If we have to remove old window tinting, the job may take a bit longer but should still be completed within a single business day. 

Beware of companies that offer to come to your home or office. Professionally installed window film should be applied in a highly controlled, dust-free environment which is virtually impossible to recreate at home unless you have a storage area specifically designed to preserve collector cars. 

How much does it cost to tint my car windows?

Here in the Bay Area, the average cost to have professional window tinting ranges from $200 to $1000 or more. There is a huge price variance due to: 

  • The size of the car/windows 
  • Number of windows being tinted 
  • Window tinting type/quality (for example ceramic tinting products cost more than standard options) 

Your best bet is to get free estimates from at least three different professional auto window tint installers in your area and go from there. Don’t forget to ask them about their guarantees and warranties to make sure you get the best bang for your buck. 

Can you match my factory window tinting?

In most cases, the answer to this question is yes. If the window tinting is old, it might be harder because it may have faded or deteriorated over time and with constant sun exposure, in which case you are better off replacing it to reap the full benefits of auto tinting. If the product was inferior, that may also be an issue. 

What happens to that dot matrix that came with the car’s windows?

Contrary to popular belief, that dot matrix is more about hiding trim lines and edges than it is about window tinting or glare protection. In most cases, we can apply the tint just fine and while it may alter the color in that area a bit, it will not compromise the quality of the tint. If we feel there is a conflict or like they will affect the final outcome, we will communicate that to you so you can make an informed decision. 

Is auto window tinting installed on the interior or exterior of car windows?

Auto window tinting is applied to the exterior of the windows. If you see any prep or work being performed on the exterior (usually for rear windows) it is typically related to the heat shrinking process. 

Why am I seeing bubbles in my freshly applied window tinting?

This is definitely a concern to the newer auto tinting customer, but it is nothing to worry about. You may also notice wrinkles, streaks, or a hazy appearance; these are all normal as well.  

Window tinting continues to “cure” over time and any ambient moisture trapped between the film and the glass (impossible to avoid) continues to dry up over the course of two to three weeks. In the meantime, you may notice bubbles, wrinkles, lines, haze, etc. 

Note: If your tinting is applied in the Bay Area fall, winter, or early spring, bubbles may last for longer due to cooler temperatures. If bubbles or wrinkling remain after three full weeks, and you’ve adhered to the installer’s post-tinting instructions, contact your auto tinting installer. 

What is the law for tinting car windows in California?

All professional window tinting companies should be adhering to CA auto tinting laws. Window tinting can be described by the percentage of sunlight they allow through. So for example, window tinting with a 40% product means that 40% of the light comes through, and the rest is blocked. 

In California, the front windshield, driver window, and passenger windows cannot be tinted with anything less than 70% – meaning at least 70% of the light must be able to come through and 30% is blocked. This means those windows must be more transparent to allow other drivers to make eye contact with you. All remaining windows can be tinted as dark as you like. 

How do I clean and maintain window tinting?

While instructions may vary according to the tinting product used, some of the most basic instructions for the immediate period after tinting auto windows is: 

  • Keep windows up for at least three to four days to allow tinting to cure completely 
  • Avoid cleaning the interior windows for at least a full week (more on cleaning below) 
  • The exterior windows can be washed immediately but make sure the windows remain in the full-closed position. 

Window tinting is designed to be durable, with higher-end products such as carbon- or ceramic auto tinting products being the most durable of all. That said, be careful with seat belts. While normal wear-and-tear shouldn’t overly affect the tinting finish, seat belts that smack or flick against the windows can nick or chip the tint. 

Read our post, How to Clean Windows That Have Window Film, to learn more about how to care for your new auto tinting. Again, never clean the tint until it has had at least a solid week to cure. Longer is even better to ensure no moisture gets in around the edges. 

Will I lose radio/mobile or data/navigation reception?

There are a few vehicles that do suffer some level of reception interference with metallic window film products. We know what these are and will direct owners to high-quality, non-metallic tinting options.