Perhaps the tint was bubbling or peeling off the car that passed you, giving it a less-than-desirable look. As is often the case, you get what you pay for — and auto window tinting is no exception.
DIY tint kits, which typically cost under $100 and less than professional tinting services, are available to buy online, but auto experts say applying tint requires precision and skill.
“A lot of people lay film down properly on the glass and it looks good at first, but within a year it starts to come off the glass,” says Michael Williamson, owner of Alexander Automotive Detailing in Tucson, Arizona. “And secondly, trying to get ahold of the film [can be difficult].”
Mohammad Aburumuh, owner of Soundmaster Tint & Alarm in San Antonio says he typically charges $25 to $50 per window, but offers discounts for tinting the entire car, which typically takes about two hours for a standard car and longer for larger vehicles.
A basic tint for an average-sized car using standard film may cost $99 for the entire vehicle. Using higher quality tint costs between $199 to $400 for the entire vehicle, depending on several factors, Aburumuh says. “That’s the price for heat rejecter tints,” Aburumuh says.
“The more heat rejecters it has, the price goes up.” Aburumuh adds that the most common request he gets is from customers wanting just the front two windows tinted.
Brian Brown, owner of Exclusive Detail And Tint in Charlotte, North Carolina, says his prices range from $120 for a small pickup to $380 for vans. He says prices vary depending on the type of vehicle, how many windows it has and whether dyed, metalized or ceramic tint is used.
Williamson, meanwhile, says he offers two types of tint — high performance, which is a color-dyed tint with metal in it, or color stable, which has no metal, offers high heat rejection, and isn’t supposed to fade.
He typically charges $150 per car for the colored dyed tint and $240 for the color stable tint, with prices going up slightly for midsize and large SUVs. If you don’t want the entire car tinted, he charges $25 for the visor strip on the front windshield and $60 for the front two windows.
According to Cost Helper, prices range rather drastically. Window tinting can cost $50 to $600 for using standard, non-reflective tint and $100 to $800 for high-performance ceramic, carbon, metallic and colored tints.
Benefits of window tinting
It’s estimated that window tinting blocks up to 99 percent of UV rays and cools the car down by 60 percent or more, which protects people from the sun and your car’s interior from fading or cracking.
“A lot of people have their cars tinted because they want to block the heat,” Aburumuh says. “Some want it for privacy, too.”
Another benefit to having a professional tint your car is reputable companies should know the law when it comes to local or state regulations regarding tint and how dark windows are allowed to be. States have different laws, and it’s important to check your state’s law before getting your windows tinted.
Professionals also use higher quality film and guarantee the tint is applied evenly without any bubbles or debris. It’s a skilled labor that’s typically done with a heat gun that contours the film to the glass. There’s a chance someone with less experience can scratch the glass or damage the car’s paint.
“The benefits of having a professional installation done primarily is the warranty and secondarily the quality of the installation,” Brown says. “Most manufacturers offers a lifetime warranty against color change, bubbling and peeling with proof of purchase from an authorized installer.”
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