Every day thousands of people make what they think will be a simple decision — to have tinting applied to their vehicle’s windows. The decision can quickly become complicated when they start shopping around. The installed price can vary over $100 from one shop to the next for tinting the same vehicle.
How does a discerning consumer choose a tint shop that does quality work?
We can tell you all the right questions to ask, but the best predictor of success is a history of satisfied customers. At Tints Unlimited, our customers’ complete satisfaction is our priority. Our history of five-star reviews is a testament to our product knowledge, the quality of window film that we use, and the quality of our workmanship.
Years in business
Good tint shops prosper despite local competition by offering good service at reasonable prices. We suggest that you find a tint shop that has been in business for at least five years. This shows a stable business that will be there years down the road if somehow the tint goes bad.
Types and quality of film
There are the different kinds of tinting from various manufacturers – non-reflective, hybrid, full metal, titanium, stainless steel – with colors ranging from bluish to gray or charcoal to the coffee brown found in bronze/stainless steel tints.
The lowest quality window film is referred to as a non-reflective/dyed material. This type of tinting, usually the cheapest, has the shortest guarantee, and has a tendency to turn purple and form bubbles over time.
Next is the hybrid or high performance tinting which is the best selling product nationwide. Hybrid tinting is referred to as a reflective product, but don’t let the term reflective confuse you. This type of tinting has a slightly different appearance and color from the non-reflective. The big difference is hybrid tinting rejects much more solar heat and the product warranties are much better than the standard non-reflective products. Most major tinting manufacturers offer extended or lifetime warranties for the hybrid/high performance products.
The next grades of products are the relatively new full metal tinting materials. These products usually have the same or slightly higher solar heat rejection when compared to hybrid tinting materials. The warranties for full metal tinting are usually lifetime and some include a clause against fading of the material over an extended period of time. The higher reflective qualities of full metal tinting products are objectionable to some buyers. Care should be taken in choosing what type of tinting material best suits your needs.
Beware of tint shops that only carry one or two types of film. They may have acquired this film on sale, and may not be able to meet your unique requirements. Find out more by reading our article about how window film works.
Some shops leave a small gap or micro-edge at the top of the roll down windows, while other shops take the tinting all the way to the edge of the glass when the window is rolled down. The latter method looks much better, but can cost more because of the extra time involved in installation.
Rear windows can usually be formed from one piece of tinting material. The one-piece rear window installation, when possible, is preferable over the rear window being installed in several pieces. One-piece rear windows can cost more due to the extra time and expertise needed for this type of tinting installation.
The warranty on the car tint varies depending on the window film you choose. Tints Unlimited recommends that you install only window film backed with a Lifetime Warranty for materials and labor.
For the warranty to take effect, remember to get only legal window tint for your car. Illegal tint can nullify any manufacturer’s warranty. When you purchase your tint, be sure sure you get a manufacturer’s warranty card from the dealer with the date, the window film used on each window, and the total cost of installation as well as the receipt.
How to evaluate automobile window tinting
After your automobile window has been tinted, you should inspect the job to be sure it is satisfactory.
Is the window film applied in a single piece or is it cut into strips that surround the defroster lines? The best tint shops always apply film in a single piece. Now look at the borders of the rear window, in many cars there is a black ‘frit’ edge on the window, Make sure the window film is securely attached to the frit as well.
Pay attention to side windows. The window film should be applied to the inside and be completely flush against all 4 edges of the window. Now look at the window film itself. Don’t worry if the film looks slightly streaky or discolored; window film takes a couple weeks to dry out and become completely clear. But if there are bubbles of air under the film or the film itself is not completely flat against the window, this is a sure sign of sloppy tinting.