Choosing to tint your car windows offers many distinct benefits. Besides its near-universal acceptance as an important aesthetic and value upgrade, tinted windows also provide protection from ultraviolet rays and privacy while on the road. Unfortunately, the cost of professionally tinting windows can be prohibitive, leaving many car owners to simply desire the benefits of this fantastic aftermarket upgrade.
However, car owners who are willing to invest their time into tinting their car windows are not completely out of luck. In fact, learning how to tint your car windows is easier than most people think. By first understanding the basics of car window tint and then following a simple five-step process, tinting car windows on your own is not only possible, but easy. In addition, knowing where to buy the supplies needed to tint your car windows can also help drivers save money in the end. One such solution, shopping with eBay, is even easier than the tinting process itself.
Understanding Window Tint
Window tint, which is also called window film, is an upgrade that can be applied to any glass surface from buildings to automobiles. However, unto itself, the term window tint refers specifically to window film that is used on vehicles since the purpose of tinting car windows is to make them darker, or tinted, whereas other window film need not be dark in colour. Before deciding to tint your car windows, it is first necessary to understand the laws that regulate window tinting in the United Kingdom, as well as what types of window tint are available.
Window Tinting Laws in the United Kingdom
The purpose of tinting automobile windows has primarily to to with the reduction of what is called visible light transmission or VLT, which can keep cars cooler in hot, sun-filled months. However, this lack of transmission also affects visibility when on the road at night. Normally, other motorists can see through the windows of each car on the road and thus spot hazards. Too dark of a tint can prevent this and cause a safety issue.
Therefore, most countries regulate the amount of tint that a car can have on each of its windows. In the United Kingdom, this regulation falls under the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency as well as the Road Vehicles Regulations of 1986. The law states that any window that is located in front of a car's B post may have no less than 70 per cent VLT. Windscreens, on the other hand, may only be tinted outside of the reach of windscreen wipers or a maximum of 15 centimetres from the top of the windscreen. Before tinting car windows, it is essential that owners make sure that their tint conforms to these regulations.
Types of Window Tint
While all window tint is made of some type of polyester film, its depth varies according to the layers used to make up the film itself, and generally range between 2 and 7 centimetres. All films begin with an inner surface made of pressure-sensitive or water-activated coating which attaches to the window itself and an outer surface made to be scratch resistant. There is always some combination of UV chemicals applies in the interior of the film to filter out ultraviolet light.
Differentiation takes place when additional layers are added and processes used to do this. Ultimately, this leads to four basic types of window tint or film which are explained in the table below:
Type of Tint
A layer of heat-absorbing dye is added to the film to control interior car temperature
Adds a reflective metal coating meant to resist heat through a vacuum-coating technology; known for causing a mirrored effect
Adds a reflective metal coating meant to resist heat through atomic manipulation and metallising technology
Uses both dyes and metals to create optimum heat resistance without the need for a darker or reflective film
Like any car part or accessory, there are many different types and brands of car window tint. Choosing which type of tint to use depends a lot on the car and budget. However, understanding the basic differences between the major options is a good starting place.
5 Steps to Tint Your Car Windows
Once buyers are confident about the type of tint they want and know they are able to follow the guidelines of the United Kingdom, the process of learning how to tint your car windows can begin. Using five simple steps, this process can be completed even by amateurs inside of a few hours.
Step 1: Gather Materials
In addition to the tinting film that car owners have chosen to use for the windows and the spray adhesive that comes with it, it is also necessary to gather a bunch of other materials prior to beginning. This includes:
- X-acto knife
- Spare razors
- Tracing paper and a pencil
- Hair dryer or heating gun
- Mini squeegee
- Hard tool or hard card
- Spray bottle filled with a solution of water and dish soap
Each of the materials listed above comes into use through the following four steps of the process. Making sure everything is ready before beginning is the best way to get the project done efficiently without making costly mistakes.
Step 2: Prepare the Surface
Once materials are gathered, it is time to prepare the surface of the windows. It is absolutely essential that the windows are very clean or else the adhesive of the tint is not going to be smooth, ruining the entire effect. If there are any pieces of weather stripping or caulking solution that are protruding, this too must be cleaned.
Step 3: Prepare the Tint Film
Once the window is prepped, the film must also be prepared. This means cutting the film down to fit the window exactly. The best way to do this is by creating a template out of paper and then cutting the film using the paper as a guide. This is optional, but if you decide to do it, make sure to also gather enough paper for each window as well as a pencil to use to trace.
It is also important to note that this is the single most difficult and time consuming step in the process of tinting car windows. It is all about precision. Cut too much, and the tint overlaps the window and prevents the car door from shutting. Cut too little, and the window looks weird in the areas that lack tint.
Step 4: Place the Tint Film
Now is time to place the film on the window itself. Begin with the spray bottle of soapy water and spray onto the inside of the window. Next, place the sheet of tint onto the window. Pull back the first third of the sheet and then spray the window with the adhesive solution that came with the tint, repeat for the rest of the window.
Be aware of the edges, they may need more adhesive since this is the area that tends to peel. Line up the tint sheet with the window exactly, and try to prevent air bubbles when placing it down. Also, try to avoid touching the side of the tint as it may leave fingerprints permanently etched into the tint.
Step 5: Secure the Tint Film
Once everything is lined up, begin the process of securing the tint film. Start with the squeegee and pat down the solution. Then take the hard tool to make sure that the tint is secured in the corners. Then take the hair dryer or heating gun and disperse heat from the top of the window, down. At the same time, use the squeegee with the other hand from the bottom of the window, up, working horizontally. This helps dissipate any moisture remaining between the glass and the tint film. Repeat this procedure for each window you intend to tint.
Buying Materials to Tint Your Car Windows on eBay
Though there are many places and stores that offer the materials needed to tint your car windows, eBay is a one-stop shop that is easy to use and helps car owners save money. Many U.K. buyers find that shopping with eBay is a good way to get everything they need for tinting windows in one place. In addition, signing up for a new account is easy and allows the connection of a PayPal account for easy check out and secure online buying.
The eBay website is designed for simple searching, which can be facilitated from the home page or from any page of the site using the main search bar. Try to type in specific search terms that help you sort through the thousands of results. Specify the location of the tint, such as "front window tint film" or the colour you want, "grey window tint film", for the best results.
The addition of tint to car windows has several benefits. Aside from being a great aftermarket addition that increases a car's value in the minds of many people, tinted windows provide protection from ultraviolet rays, help cool the interior of a car on hot days, and provide privacy for drivers and passengers while out on the road.
Before tinting car windows, however, you need to make sure you understand the laws of the United Kingdom in regards to tinting grade as well as the options in terms of tinting material. From there, a simple five-step process makes tinting easy, even for beginners. Buying tinting materials on eBay is the final step in making the process easy on you and your wallet. Indeed, the combination of eBay's deals and easy searching with this simple information and five-step process of tinting your windows makes the effort to improve a car's look, function, and value that much easier.