There are many reasons you may want to tint the windows on your vehicle. UV protection is a great one. Preserve your cars interior by blocking the harmful rays of the sun. It will also keep you cooler and require less A/C. Maybe you just want privacy. Keep interested onlookers from exploring your cars contents from the outside. But lets face it, it really looks cool. And that may be your reason for tinting in the first place. But you get all of the other benefits if you do it right.
Automotive window tinting can be a costly investment into your vehicle. Why not save a few bucks and do it yourself. Did you know that you can? Really, you can, and it doesn't have to look cheesy and cheap. If you just take a few moments to learn the secrets and make sure you understand the process, you can do it just like the professionals.
Lets start with the tools you will need. You're going to need a good sharp razor knife and a few extra blades. You don't want that blade tearing your film, so replace it often during the process. You'll also need a good scraping blade. A squeegee and a heat gun. You'll need a real heat gun, a blow dryer will not get up to the temperature needed to set your film.
Now that you've got your tools gathered, lets prep for the install. Pull your car into a well lit space where you won't be working in the elements. No wind, sun or rain. It needs to be an environment where dust will not find its way onto your freshly cleaned and prepped glass.
Start by applying your application solution to the inside of your window. Use your scraper to scrape that class clean. If it doesn't slide smoothly over the service, then keep at it. Once all of the debris is loosened, use the squeegee starting at the top and working your way down to remove all of the debris and solution.
To prep your film for the cut, apply the solution to the outside of the window as well. This will help your film stay in place temporarily for the cut. Position your film on the outside of the window and carefully cut it to size. Be sure that the protective layer of the film is facing you. On stationary windows, just cut around the perimeter. On rolling windows, you will need to roll the window down just a bit to cut around the exposed perimeter. One that cut is complete, shift the film upward so that it overlaps the top by about ½ inch. This will allow you to make the bottom cut. The bottom will be cut just a bit longer so that it tucks into the window trim when you permanently apply your tinting film.
Now that your cut is ready, its time to apply the tint film. Peel back a small section of the protective layer and tape the film to a hard surface. This will give you the resistance you need to pull away the rest of the films protection layer. When you are ready, place the film starting from the top of the window and carefully rolling it downward as you spray the application solution onto the film. You can never use too much application solution. Use it liberally and wipe the excess off at the end of the process. Use the squeegee to push out any air that tries to accumulate as you lay the film into place. When you get to the bottom of the window, you will need to insert an object between the vinyl trim and the glass to open a gap for the tint film, or better yet, remove the trim altogether.
If you are working on a curved surface that does not allow the tint to cover without it bunching up, pull out your heat gun and carefully apply heat to the film to shrink it in those areas. Heat it up, and smooth it out. If it needs more, apply more. Be sure not to allow it to heat in one spot too long. You do not want to melt clear through your film. Once you've got it just right, let it cool down and run your squeegee across it to ensure that it is making good contact and that all of the air has been pushed out. If you own a fleet of vehicles, doing the window tinting yourself can save you thousands of dollars. The owner of Poly's Towing (PolysTowing.com) owns 6 tow trucks and did all of his own window tinting. A window tint shop quoted him $5,000 and he only spent $750 for the materials, so he wound up saving over $4,000.
Enjoy your new tint! Every time you look at your car, you will remember the hard work you put in to making it just right.