How to Tint the Windows on Your Vehicle

People who plan on tinting the windows of a vehicle must not only decide how to purchase window tint, but also the legal considerations, and type of tint film they want to purchase. While many people may think that there is only one type of tint, there are actually multiple options which mostly differ due to the materials used to create the film and the production method used. Each window tint offers slightly different benefits to the users, such as lower or higher heat blockage or more or less tinting.

How to Tint the Windows on Your Vehicle

Most buyers should consider how much they want to tint their windows, how much heat they plan to block out, and how much they can spend on the project. Typically the more heat blockage gained from the tint film, the more it costs. Before buying tint film to apply to their vehicles, buyers should first learn about the different types of film available and of course the process to complete the project themselves.

Deciding on What Type of Tint to Purchase

As stated above, there are many types of tint film. Most tint is made out of some type of plastic polymer or polyester, and is typically very flexible. This is so that the tint can be waterproof after installation, and because plastics can be manufactured thin enough to be wind resistant. Tinting spray is also an option, although anyone who plans to remove the tint at some point might want to avoid this option. For quick reference, the following chart compares colour, heat reduction, and type of material for anyone looking for a quick answer.

Tint Film

Heat Reduction




Very low

Dyed polyester

Very dark


Medium to high

Dyed polyester with metal



Up to 40 per cent

Carbon polyester

Very dark


40 to 80 per cent

Two-layer ceramic ply




200-layer plastic


It is important to note that each tint costs a different amount of money. Crystalline tints are very expensive because they are mostly intended for blocking heat rather than preventing people from seeing inside of the vehicle. Dyed tints are the most common and are typically purchased to make it harder to see into the car. Buyers can also choose based on budget. Dyed tints are the most expensive, hybrid and carbon tints tend to be about the same, while ceramic and crystalline tints tend to be expensive and hard to find.


Dyed tint film is made using a simple thin layer of dyed polyester. This is the cheapest and most readily available option and is the one that most people choose. Dyed tint does not typically block a lot of heat but does darken the windows a great deal, which is why it is purchased. Anyone who wants to block heat as well should definitely avoid dyed tint.


Hybrid tint film is made using a combination of dye and deposition, which places tiny metal ingots into the layer of film. This allows the film to block heat which helps to keep the car cool. Hybrid film is usually charcoal or dark grey in colour which means that it does provide less privacy than dyed tint.

Hybrid tint is actually the standard tint handed out by most companies that offer tinting. Anyone who is purchasing this tint should read the description carefully or ask the seller to see what type of tint it is.


Carbon tint is another very popular option of window tint and is usually considered to be an upgrade from both hybrid and dyed tint. Carbon tinting is made using a process similar to deposition called sputtering. The process allows the tint to be darker while offering the same heat reflection of hybrid tint. Many brands claim to block up to 40 per cent of heat which definitely benefits anyone inside of the vehicle.


Ceramic tint film is not always available in every store, but may be available online. This film tint is more expensive because it is made of nano-ply ceramic film with two layers. While thicker than other options, ceramic film blocks heat and light while avoiding any issues with cell phone or GPS signals that might be caused by the metals in carbon and hybrid films. Ceramic film is mostly produced for heat reduction and most options are on the lighter side, which means that they do not block much sunlight.


Crystalline window tints are the lightest option available and are typically made only to reduce heat. These tints are also expensive because most take a great deal of care to create and install, if do not install it yourself. Some brands advertise that they are made up of some 200 layers of plastics which work together to block a great deal of heat. Crystalline window tint is also sold as clear window tint and transparent tint.

Spray Tint

It is also possible to find and purchase spray on tint, although this is not always recommended. Spray tint is applied with an aerosol can and the application process is very similar to painting with one. Anyone who plans on purchasing spray on tint should research the different shades available and then make a purchase based on the colours available.

It is also a good idea to check to see the number or size of windows that a single can is capable of tinting and then consider buying additional cans if necessary. Purchasing masking tape and getting newspapers to cover trim and paint on the car for painting is also a very good idea in order to prevent the spray on tint from damaging paint or chrome.

Finding the Correct Tint Film Size

Many vehicles do require a specific size of window tint although most cars can be used with any 'standard' window tint. Buyers can usually purchase standard tint and then cut it to size using a razor blade during application. However, the fit and size for placement and sometimes specific car models should be considered before purchasing window tint.


The placement of the window tint is a major consideration, as most of the time it is easier to put on if it is roughly the same shape. Usually it is a good idea to measure each window and write down the correct sizes in order to check for a minimum size for the tint. From there, it is easy to purchase for the right or left, front or back, or the rear. For example, right and left tint is shaped very differently due to the fact that the adhesive side must be on different sides. Purchasing all of one side could mean not being able to use the tint.

Specific Car Model

Some cars have window tint made specifically for the vehicle. While not always available in every store, most buyers can find specific tints on online without too much hassle. A short list of vehicle manufacturers that produce model specific tint includes BMW, Mazda, Audi, Citroen, Nissan, and many more. There are often specific trim cuts made for a variety of different vehicles, so it is always a good idea to look for specifics before purchasing a standard.

Applying Window Tint

There are multiple steps to applying window tint to a vehicle although the whole process is relatively simple. Car owners should thoroughly clean their windows and then dry them completely to ensure that there are no spots or streaks.

From there the film can be carefully placed liner side out against the window and cut to fit 2.5 centimetres larger than the window using a sharp razor blade. Most people roll the film onto the window first and then cut. Once the tint is cut to the proper size car owners can spray the window with any applicator spray and then clean the window again with a rubber scraper.

Finally, peel the liner from the back of the tint and carefully apply it to the window. Most people find that it is easier to remove a small amount of film from the top, spray it with the application spray, and then continue to spray while peeling down. A scraper can then be used to smooth out any air bubbles that form and to squeeze any water to the bottom of the window. From there, the tint just has to dry. Some people also use a heat applicator or blow dryer to help smooth the application process.


Applying window tint is a relatively easy process but does require patience and of course, window tint. Car owners can choose to purchase from a variety of different tints for budget reasons or for their properties. For example, dyed window tint is typically the most affordable but only offers privacy, not heat blockage. Hybrid window tint offers more heat protection but less light blockage. Carbon window tint is usually considered a standard premium because it blocks light and reduces heat. Other options typically block heat without offering a great deal of tinting.

It is important for buyers to research the properties of the window tint before they purchase it in order to ensure that they get the look or change that they are looking for. This is especially important if purchasing on eBay or other online store because it is harder to see the tint before purchase. Finally, checking the size and placement of the film before purchase can make the installation go a lot more smoothly.