Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, largely in the insuranc...

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Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity-backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses. He has also previously served as the founder and resident CFP® of a national insurance agency, Real Time Health Quotes. He also has an MBA from the University of South Florid...

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Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder, CFP®

UPDATED: Nov 16, 2020

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Window tinting your car can cost a small fortune, but it adds such a nice touch to your vehicle as well as giving you nice shade during the summer.

So is there a cheaper alternative for getting your windows tinted?


You can easily do it yourself with little cost and little labor.

If you are getting a regular tint job with standard window film (tint) you can expect to pay $100 to $550 depending on the vehicle. 

Benefits of Tinting your Car Windows

Before I go into the 5 quick steps I wanted to cover the benefits of window tinting.

  • Window tint will block 70% to 90% of harmful UVA and UVB rays.
  • Window tint can reduce the interior heat by 35% to 55%.
  • Protects the interior dash and upholstery from fading.
  • Reduces glare & increases privacy.
  • Additional protection by holding shattered glass in place.

Best Window Tint Film

And before I go into the steps it would make sense to give you an idea of the types of window tint (film) on the market.

There are a variety of window films and different manufacturers.

However, I am made a table for you to break down the benefits of each window tint and the approximately cost.

Some of the manufacturers have high end film (tint) and others may not.

Depending on the type of window tint you buy the cost can vary.

Personally, if I was on a budget, I would get the cheapest tint. Realize that it will last only 5 to 7 years.

If you get the expensive options which 3M, SunTek, and LLumar offer you may want a professional to do it.

If you buy a film with a lifetime warranty you are going to have to use a professional otherwise the warranty is void. 

Motoshield Pro Nano CeramicCeramicVisible light transmittance: 35% glare reduction: 55% shading coefficient: .53$150.00+
LEXEN comput​er Pre-Cut Complete KitDyedModel specific kit: Specify the Year, Make, Model, Body Type of vehicle.
Shades of 50%, 35%, 15%, 5%(Limo) tints
SolarKing Nano CeramicCeramic90% IR (infra-red rejection); 48% solar energy rejection; anti-glare

High visibility, great throughput of visible light.

Fully enable wireless signals throughput, including GPS, cell phone, FM signals.
3M Automotive Window FilmsAcrylic & othersDurable, meant to last, and require very little maintenance.$30.00+
LLumar Automotive Window FilmsMetallized, Ceramic, & DyedLargest producer of window tint films. Some types of film have lifetime warranty.$50.00+
SunTekCeramic, Carbon, & MetallizedTechnology meant to enhance the efficiency of their films.
High end to budget line products.
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Check out these tips for window tinting your car.

First you are going to need a few materials at hand before you begin.

Make sure you have window cleaner, certified roll of window tint film, spray bottle of hot water, small hand squeegee, tape measure, application solution and flat edge razor.

Once you have all these items you can begin.

Clean & Clean Some More

This first step is very important so make sure you do it right.

You don’t want to cut any corners when it comes to cleaning the glass.

Cleaning a preparation for tinting windows on a vehicle.

Note: Preparation and window cleaning before applying the film is very important. Try to keep the vehicle in a garage and keep all dust off the windows. You probably couldn’t overdo this step. In fact, take your time and clean and clean again just to be sure.

If there is any dirt or dust left on your window when you begin then you could make your tint look very bad and bumpy.

Make sure you use soap and water or a specified glass cleaner.

Do this several times, at least 3 or more.

If you can, do your tinting in a garage to protect from dirt and dust settling on your windows.

Measure Twice Cut Once

Before you buy your tint use your measuring tape to measure the surfaces that you will be tinting.

You want to make sure you purchase the right amount.

Roll of window film

Note: When you buy window tint or film it is going to come in a roll. The rolls come in a variety of sizes and lengths. The one illustrated above is 24 in x 10 ft. You may need more or less. Measure your windows so you purchase the correct amount. And buy a little extra if you can just in case.

Make sure you have enough for your front and rear windows, while allowing an extra 2 inches than you measured for each window.


Now you can cut the tint into the sizes that you measured for each individual window.

Putting tint film over a window for cutting.

Note: Before you cut your film to place on the window you want to be sure there is at least 2 inches around each end of the window. There are “pre-cut” films based on the car manufacturer, such as Lexen, however, I wouldn’t buy that type. It sounds like it would be easier to install, but I have experienced just the opposite.

Lay the sheets of tint over each window to ensure you have cut a piece of film that is at least two inches longer than needed on each end.

You can cut the excess off as you install the window tint.


Next, you will want to spray the application solution onto the glass and remove the adhesive backing of the film.

Make sure the sticky part is facing the window.


Note: This is a window tinting video with over 4 million views. Out of all the videos I thought this was the best. It would be best to watch a couple of window tinting videos before you tried to do it yourself.

Do not place the whole film on the window. This can cause bubbling.

Beginning at the bottom of the window, attach the sticky portion and smooth it out as you move upward. Cut off the excess edges with the razor.

Smooth it Out

Take your hand squeegee and smooth out any bubbles and/or creases.

Smoothing out window film on a vehicle.

Note: Use a hard plastic squeegee to smooth out the film to move the air bubbles towards the edges. If you want to make the film more pliable then use a heat gun. The heat gun is not necessary, but will make the tint look smoother. If you decide to use a heat gun apply it to the outside so you don’t melt the film.

Use your spray bottle full of hot water to spray on the glass to make it easier for your squeegee to smooth it out.

Cut off any extra film tint and wipe away any excess water with a towel.

Extra Tips

The window tint you bought should have cleaning instructions on how to clean your windows, but as a general rule of thumb don’t use any harsh window cleaners as it could fade your tint.

Also, refrain from rolling your windows up or down for at least 3 days.

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