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DIY Window Tint: 3 Tips When Installing Your Own

A parked sedan with DIY window tint.

Using DIY window tint is an inexpensive way to not just add a bit of style to your vehicle, but also keep out the hot, harsh rays of the sun. The more you can protect your car’s cabin from solar radiation, the longer it’ll maintain its showroom shine and resist the fading and drying that can come with age.

Let’s take a quick look at three tips for installing your own tints.

1. Clean, Clean, Clean

This might seem like a no-brainer, but it’s important to clean your car’s glass completely with automotive glass cleaner before installing a tint. Doing so prevents any grime or dirt from getting trapped underneath the tint sheet itself.

Not only should you thoroughly clean the glass, but you should also work in a dust-free environment, as tints can attract all sorts of unwanted debris due to their static electric charge. If you can set up inside a clean garage, protected from the wind, you’ll have a head start on keeping your installation trouble-free.

2. Use the Right Tools

TintsThere are three basic items you’re going to need to install a DIY window tint. The first is a heat gun, which will make it significantly easier to work with the tint. The heat will make it more pliable while pushing out bubbles and keep it looking smooth and professional once the job is done.

Next, you’ll want a high-quality squeegee to smooth the tint, push out bubbles and help the tint stick to the surface of the glass. Some people like to use multiple squeegees of different sizes to help with corners and smaller areas of a window. Check and see how much window space you have to work with before choosing a squeegee.

Finally, you’ll want to have a reliable spray bottle, so you can soak the tint and glass with the soapy solution necessary to make the bond between the two.

3. Choose the Proper Tint

Not all DIY window tint is created equal — and you might not need top-of-the-line tint to get the results you’re looking for. If style is the most important, then a dyed film will most likely get the job done. If you live in a sunny climate, where you’re battling high cabin temperatures on a daily basis, you may want to go for carbon or ceramic tints, which will last longer and do a better job of blocking UV rays.

Follow these steps — and familiarize yourself with your local tint regulations — and you’ll be sure to enjoy a cool car all summer long.

Check out all the vision and safety parts available on NAPA Online or trust one of our 17,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information on DIY window tint, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.

Photo courtesy of Flickr.


Benjamin Hunting View All

Having been bitten by the car bug at a young age, I spent my formative years surrounded by Studebakers at car shows across Quebec and the northeastern United States. Over ten years of racing, restoring, and obsessing over automobiles lead me to balance science writing and automotive journalism full time.  I currently contribute as an editor to several online and print automotive publications, and I also write and consult for the pharmaceutical and medical device industry.

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