Updated: Jul 1, 2020
All tint jobs are not created equal. Your car can end up looking like a vehicle for a celeb or Jersey wannabe. Here's what makes good window tinting.
Want to get your car windows tinted?That's a smart move, as tinting reduces the amount of radiation that enters your car, reducing your cancer risk.It's also a great way to stay cool, increase your privacy, and reduce glare while driving.
However, not all window tinting is created equal.
Choose the wrong provider, and you could end up with tinting that looks amateur, peels off quickly, or damages your visibility.
Issues like bubbles, tears, and gaps could mean you need to have your car re-tinted every few months, which isn't ideal.
Want to know how to recognize good window tinting?
Look out for the key signs below.
It Has Clean Edges
The easiest way to spot issues with a tint job is to look at the edges.
Do you see tears, bubbles, or a large gap?
That's a bad sign.
The best providers will use tinting film that's cut precisely using a computerized system. This ensures that it goes right to edge of every window, leaving little or no noticeable gap.
Providers who are trying to cut corners might use cheap, one-size-fits-all film that adheres poorly and doesn't go all the way to the edge.
Always ask your installer how they'll be cutting the film they use on your car, and steer clear of anyone who uses universal film.
Straight lines are your friend when it comes to spotting good window tinting - get up close for a good look.
There Are No Bubbles
When a cheap film is used, it doesn't take long for bubbles to start popping up.
While large bubbles are an obvious warning sign, small bubbles can be just as worrying - so make sure to go in close for a good look.
Small bubbles are a sign that the adhesive used to stick the film to your car is starting to wear off, and they don't look good.
Aside from the aesthetic, these bubbles can also obstruct your view, making it more difficult to drive safely.
A good tint will be 100% bubble-free.
It Doesn't Turn Purple with Age
How would you feel about your cool, dark tint turning purple in a few months time?
Unless you're going for something pretty unique, probably not great.
Unfortunately, this is a real possibility when you choose a cheap tinting option. Low-quality tints use dyes which start to wear off quickly, resulting in a blue or purple color.
High-quality tinting materials will never fade in this way, even after years of use.
There Aren't Gaps Around Your Rear Defroster
The defroster on your back window is raised, which can present a challenge for tint installers.
A good provider will press the tint as tightly as possible to the defroster, avoiding any small gaps or tears.
Other providers might cut around the defroster, or only affix the tint lightly.
This creates the perfect space for bubbles to form, which can quickly spread to the rest of the rear window - which is exactly what you don't want!
Make sure your provider knows how to deal correctly with tricky problems areas like the defroster.
The Tint Goes Right to the Dot Matrix
In a similar vein, look at how closely the tint matches to the raised dot matrix at the edge of your windows.
While low-quality providers will probably avoid this area altogether, leaving you with ugly gaps, the best tinters will carefully sand down the dots.
This allows them to fit the tint perfectly to your windows, without leaving any gaps that could cause issues down the line.
Get up close and look at your tint job, and you might get an unpleasant surprise.
It Doesn't Mess with Your Phone Reception
Did you know that metallic window tints could mess with your phone and radio reception?
That's right - it sounds crazy, but it's true.
If you use your car to make business phone calls, keep in touch with family, or enjoy your favorite tunes, choosing the wrong window tint could be a nightmare.
As a general rule, you should avoid shiny or metallic tints, and ask your provider if they know of any issues with the tint you choose.
If you make the wrong decision, you could end up spending a fortune on having your tint removed and replaced, so do your research.
Not fussed about reception?
Metallic tints are a very effective way to keep your car cool, and they have a unique look that appeals to many drivers.
There Aren't Any Cutouts
Need to stick something to the front window of your car?
No problem - as long as you choose the right tint installer.
Some will try to save time and effort by simply cutting a space out of the tint film, and telling you to apply registration stickers this way.
This look bad, creates space for bubbles to form, and causes issues if your stickers need updating.
However, the best installers will place your sticker onto a clear film, turning them into decals which can safely be applied directly to your tint.
This takes a little more time, but it means you won't have any ugly cutouts in your precious tint. You won't encounter any issues if you have new stickers to add, or need to remove a sticker that's out of date.