For the more DIY people out there I’m going to offer some essential tips on how to properly install window tint to your vehicle. With enough practice and experience you can hone in on your skills and be tinting like a pro in no time! First you are going to need some tools which you can purchase at your local auto parts store or even your local hardware store. Some items you may have lying around in your home already. Here is a list of 10 items you will need:
1a. Stainless Steel Razor Blades (make sure they are stainless so you don’t scratch your door glass)
1b. Razor Blade holder (optional for safety and comfort)
2. Hard Card (used to heat-shrink with and get rid of unwanted fingers and hard to reach bubbles)
3. Squeegee (used to get rid of moisture and application solution)
4. Triggered Spray Bottle (used to apply solution to glass and window tint)
5. Soap (either baby or dish)
6. Water (from a clean source preferably)
7. Heat Gun (cheapest one you can find, it doesn’t matter)
8. Window Tint (keep reading for a more in-depth explanation of what and where to find this)
9. Paper Towels (used to clean door panels and wipe off the glass and film when finished with your install)
10. (1) Fabric Softener Dryer Sheet (used on outside of rear glass prior to shrinking)
*Note: #8 on the list is Window Tint. I highly recommend you to stay away from the tint that you find in retail stores. This is a very cheap product and having to hand-cut the tint can be frustrating and you may end up spending a lot on material given this route. I would recommend calling one of your local window tint shops in the area preferably one which utilizes a ComputerCut system and buying a pre-cut kit from them. They may even give you some helpful advice or an item off the list above. You can also buy pre-cut kits from many websites online. Either way this is going to make things a lot easier especially if this is your first time attempting to tint your windows.
Location is Key:
Okay, now that you have what you need, you’re going to want to attempt this in the best environment available to you. Try to avoid tinting outside because the outside elements can be very difficult to install tint even for a professional tinter. I would try this in a garage and if you don’t have access to a garage and you must tint outside, just make sure you are in the shade and in a location that is not vulnerable to wind gusts. You will also need access to an electrical outlet for your heat gun.
The solution isn’t the answer to a problem but the solution you will be using to clean the window and activate the adhesive on the window tint. Open your spray bottle and fill it up with water. Add a few drops of your soap to the water and give it a good shake. Now you’re ready to begin prepping the tint.
Prepping the tint (side door glass):
You’re going to want to heat shrink the tint prior to installing it. By doing this you are going to have less fingering and avoid using the heat gun on the inside of your vehicle where you can possibly damage and burn your interior. In order to do this you need to spray the exterior of your door glass and place the tint for that window on the glass. Now tack the back side of the tint vertically and continue to the front of the tint using vertical strokes leaving what we call fingers. Using your heat gun, point it the fingers and they will sort of shrivel up. When they shrivel use your hard card to smooth them out. Continue to smooth out your fingers until all that is left is the tint laying flat. Almost every vehicle has a slight curve on the glass throughout the vehicle so this method will shrink the tint to the shape of the glass. Repeat this method for all the door glass windows except the rear window glass.
Prepping the tint (rear back window glass):
Soak the dryer sheet with your hand and swish it around until it lathers. Spread this lather over the whole outside of the back window. Let it dry. Place the back window tint on the back window with the liner facing you. Tack a horizontal line down the middle of the glass. Use your heat gun to lay down the film to the shape of the back window. Fingers will only shrink and lay flat in a vertical manner not horizontally so take your time and slowly work out the film and all the fingers. Beware of creases due to using the hard card on an area that hasn’t received enough heat from the gun. Heat-shrinking a back window is the most difficult part of tinting a vehicle so take your time and remember how the film reacted to heat on the sides. Too much heat will burn the liner and could possibly burn the film underneath. I’d advise you to watch a few videos on youtube of how to properly heat-shrink a back window. Once the back window is fully shrunk, you are now ready for the next step.
Prepping the glass:
Roll your window down about an inch or two and spray the whole window. Using your razor blade, go over the whole window and roll it up to cover the bottom of the glass as well. Now drop the window down an inch or two again and use your squeegee in horizontal swipes to fully remove all of the solution on the glass. Just like mowing the lawn be sure to over-lap your swipes to make sure you get it all off. Start from the top the bottom. Use you hard card to swipe down the sides of the glass where all the solution has been squeegeed to. Drop the window down once more and swipe the top one more time. Repeat this for every window including the vents and back window.
Installing the tint:
Now that you have cleaned all of the glass on the vehicle you are ready to tint. Use the back window to place the tint on and start peeling the liner off the tint. Leave a few inches of the liner on the bottom of the tint. Spray the tint and the glass you are tinting. Position the tint on the inside of the glass so it lines up with the top of the window. Spray the outside of the tint and begin to squeegee out all the moisture with a vertical tack up the middle and horizontal swipes to the left and right. Use you hard card to swipes down the sides. Roll the window up and peel off the rest of the liner. Use your hard card to tuck the tint behind the gasket running along the bottom of the window. Now squeegee downward as you did to the top to get rid of the solution remaining. Give one last swipe with the hard card across the bottom. If done correctly, you should have no fingers or bubbles. If any fingers are visible from the outside, use your heat gun from the outside and be careful not to burn anything. Heat the area where there is a finger and use your hard card to lay it to the window. Repeat this process for all of your windows. The back window is installed the same way except you must turn the tint upside down so the bottom is on top when peeling the liner. Peel the whole liner off and grab it from the two corners of where the bottom of the tint is. Feed the tint as far as you can towards the rear as you can and soak your back window then prop the tint onto the glass and position it so there is no light gaps showing. Now squeegee out all the water and you are done.
Window Tint Aftercare:
Once completed with your install gently clean your windows with a minimal amount of solution and a paper towel. Leave your windows up for at least 3 days to ensure they dry out and tack to the window. When cleaning your tint in the future avoid anything with ammonia in it because it can damage the components in the tint and affect the longevity of the film. Congratulations on installing tint to your vehicle.