The Ultimate Breakdown: Window Tint for Cars | Price and Factors That Impact It

The Ultimate Breakdown: Window Tint for Cars | Price and Factors That Impact It

The Ultimate Breakdown: Window Tint for Cars | Price and Factors That Impact It

The car modification market has reached an all-time high.

With more than 7.9 million young people upgrading or customizing their cars yearly. Among this quest for personal expression, one trend that has made its name in the industry is window tinting. Offering more than just an aesthetic appeal, this process includes applying a film to a vehicle’s glass panes. 

For many, tinted windows are a go-to for shielding against the sun’s harmful rays, reducing eye strain during long, tiring commutes. They also add a touch of privacy to your ride so you can cruise to all those popular hip-hop tunes without the fear of prying eyes. But here comes the real deal: how much does car window tinting usually cost? And what factors increase this amount? Well, read on for the answers!

But First, What Are the Types of Window Tinting for Cars?

The Ultimate Breakdown: Window Tint for Cars | Price and Factors That Impact It

Window tinting is used for many purposes, such as protecting a vehicle from excessive sunlight and regulating internal cabin temperatures. This makes tints a staple for scorching summer evenings as they help foster a cooler and more comfortable riding experience. However, with the variety of window tint blends available today, selecting the right one can be a struggle. So, let’s take a look at five of the most known options and how they influence the window tint for cars’ prices. 

 

Dyed Window Tint

 

Dyed window tint is one of the most budget-friendly options among the range of tint films. Built on plastic layers that are dyed, this tint blocks sunlight and adds the desired look most are going for. There are some downsides though, dyed films do not come with much UV protection, making them better suited for those looking for just an aesthetic appeal. Put simply, if high-end protection from harmful rays is what you’re looking for, these films aren’t your type. 

Since these films are based on a dye-infused layer applied next to the adhesive on a vehicle’s glass panes, they tend to fade quickly when exposed to the sun’s UV rays. This means that you may notice a gradual change in color over time — going from purple to brown and eventually transparent. 

Although dyed window films are pocket-friendly, they lack advanced technology for quality performance, leading to frequent bubbling issues and reduced durability. Thus, they need to be replaced now and then, especially when compared to quality options like ceramic.

 

Metalized Window Tint

 

Metalized window films are a step above traditional dyed film. When you see windows that look like a mirror, this is the film that is applied. They offer many different colors and a cool mirrored look. The film layers have different metals in them to offer the reflectance feature. Metalized film can offer a bit of heat rejection since the metals deflect heat. 

 

These metals are not high grade and tend to block radio, satellite and cellular signals. These metals make it impossible to match factory privacy glass and can look odd when placed behind the privacy glass. Really only making it an option for Sedans or Coupes without any privacy glass from the factory.

 

Carbon Window Tint

 

Carbon window films are a premium tinting option, composed of tiny carbon particles that are good at keeping your car’s interior cooler by blocking infrared light. Unlike some other tint films, this type doesn’t rely on dyes, so it maintains its color for longer without any fading-related concerns. As a result, carbon window films are an excellent value for money if you don’t want to spend much but are looking for durable protection. 

 

These films are much better at blocking harmful UV rays when compared to dyed or metalized options. Apart from this, carbon films are an excellent option for insulating your vehicle’s interior, reducing heat buildup by up to 40 percent. However, carbon particles can sometimes result in a glare or hazy effect, which might impact visibility levels. 

As expected, these films come at a higher price point due to the promise of longevity.

 

Ceramic Window Tint

 

When it comes to window films for automobiles, ceramic is undoubtedly a great option — packed with non-metallic and non-conductive properties. These films won’t get in the way of your electronic device signals, including phones’ GPS systems and radios, making them stand out from other tint options. 

Unlike traditional window films composed of metals or dyes, these tints boast microscopic ceramic particles that make them especially effective at blocking UV rays, blocking up to 99% of them. Plus, vehicles with these films report more than 50% reduction in the cabin’s internal temperature, keeping it more relaxed and comfortable on long road trips. 

Often, people confuse ceramic films with ceramic coatings, but the two are polar opposite concepts. While the latter protects your vehicle’s exterior against dirt, debris, oxidation, chemical staining, and more, ceramic films form a shield against your glass. As a cherry on top, these films are also shatterproof against any impacts your windows may face.

This technology, however, carries a higher investment.

 

Ceramic Graphene Window Tint 

 

A step above Ceramic Window Films are Ceramic infused with Graphene. This state of the art film never fades, offers superior Heat Rejection and Clarity. On top of Graphene it is infused with high end metals such as tungsten and antimony tin oxide.

Graphene, renowned for its remarkable physical attributes and optical transparency, has emerged as a game-changer in the realm of automotive glass and window films. Its single-layer, hexagonal lattice structure boasts mechanical strength, thermal and electrical conductivity, and flexibility. Yet, its often-overlooked quality—optical transparency—makes it an ideal candidate for advancing glass and window film technologies.

In the automotive industry, innovators like STEK Automotive have harnessed graphene’s potential to develop groundbreaking solutions. Their latest creation, NEX, a premium nano-ceramic window film, combines graphene with other elements to deliver crystal-clear visibility, UV and glare reduction, and effective infrared absorption. This innovation not only enhances the driving experience but also ensures seamless connectivity, as electromagnetic signals pass through the film without disruption.

Protected-2023-Tesla-Model-Y-Med-City-Detail

Factors Influencing the Cost of Window Films

The amount you need to pay for window tint isn’t set in stone; the number varies depending on the specifics of your vehicle. Vehicle type, tint material, expertise, overheads, and more — all come together to influence the final premium of your films. Let’s look at a few of these factors so you can get a rough estimate of how much to pay. 

Vehicle Type

Cars with fewer windows or less complex window designs usually cost less to tint since the number, size, and complexity of windows alter the price. For example, the Tesla Model 3 has a large back glass, which, in turn, adds to the installation time and material. Plus, flat windows reflect lower costs, as curved ones necessitate advanced skill. If your vehicle has any elements that need to be removed before the application, including quarter panels or doors, be prepared to pay more!

Here’s the amount you can expect to pay for different vehicles:

  • Passenger Cars

-Dyed Film  $300-$400

-Carbon Film $400-$500

-Ceramic Film $600-$900

-Graphene Ceramic Film $700-$1000

  • Trucks

-Dyed Film Two Fronts $100-$150, All Windows $300-$400

-Carbon FIlm Two Fronts $150-$200, All Windows $400-$500

-Ceramic Film Two Fronts $200-$300, All Windows $500-$800

-Graphene Ceramic Film Two Fronts $280-$380, All Windows $600-$900

  • SUVs and Minivans

-Dyed Film Two Fronts $100-$150, All Windows $350-$500

Carbon FIlm Two Fronts $150-$200, All Windows $500-$600

-Ceramic Film Two Fronts $200-$300, All Windows $600-$1000

-Graphene Ceramic Film Two Fronts $280-$380, All Windows $700-$1100

 

Tint Removal Costs

If your car already has a tint that needs to be removed before the application, it will add to the overall window tint for cars price. Thus, technicians usually charge more for automobiles that require them to remove the film and adhesive.

Installer Expertise

The amount you pay also depends on how experienced your installer is. The higher the skill level, the higher the price. Why this, you may be wondering. Well, an experienced company like Med City Detail knows its game regarding proper handling and installation of the tint, which can result in a high-quality overall experience. 

Plus, such firms invest in high-quality equipment and maintain controlled environments, which, in turn, minimize errors and contamination. As a result, they may charge higher premiums.

How Darkness is Calculated

The Ultimate Breakdown: Window Tint for Cars | Price and Factors That Impact It

When trying to determine how dark a window tint is going to be there is one number you want to be looking at. 

VLT, or Visible Light Transmission, is a measure of the amount of visible light that can pass through a window or window film. It is typically expressed as a percentage. For example, a window with a VLT of 35% allows 35% of visible light to pass through and blocks the remaining 65%.

In the context of window tinting, VLT is an essential consideration. Tinted windows are designed to reduce the amount of visible light entering a vehicle. The VLT percentage indicates how dark or light the tint appears and how much light it allows inside.

 

Real world examples. If you see SUVs with Factory Privacy Glass (not a window film) these windows are typically darkened to a 20% VLT from the factory. So if you wanted to match that glass you would be looking at 20% VLT window films. If you see a vehicle that has very dark or considered “Limo Tint” this is a 5% VLT. There are even window films that let 85% of light through the glass but block and absorb UV and Infrared Rays. Great for Windshields or track vehicles. 

Down the Rabbit Hole

If you have made it this far you are obviously very interested in window films. Now I will teach you everything the professionals look at when deciding the quality of window films. 

 

Here is a Window Film Performance Data Sheet for STEK Automotive’s Lineup of Films. 

The Ultimate Breakdown: Window Tint for Cars | Price and Factors That Impact It

Now lets define these data points!

Automotive window tinting involves various terms that describe the performance and characteristics of the tint film. Here’s a breakdown of these terms:

 

  1. VLT (Visible Light Transmittance): This refers to the percentage of visible light that passes through the film and the window. A higher VLT means more light passing through, while a lower VLT indicates a darker tint. Visible light is responsible for 44% of heat felt inside the vehicle. 
  2. VLR (Visible Light Reflectance): This measures how much visible light is reflected by the tint film. Higher VLR can result in a more mirrored appearance and can reduce glare.
  3. Solar Energy Transmittance: This is the measure of how much solar energy (encompassing visible, infrared, and ultraviolet light) passes through the tint film and the window. Lower solar energy transmittance means less heat entering the car.
  4. Solar Energy Reflectance: This term describes the amount of solar energy that is reflected away by the tint film. Films with higher solar energy reflectance can be more effective in reducing heat buildup inside the car.
  5. Solar Energy Absorbance: This indicates the amount of solar energy absorbed by the tint film itself. This absorbed energy can be re-radiated into the film or outward, affecting the glass surface temperature. 
  • This is an important number to keep in mind when tinting sunroofs. If the heat absorption is too high the glass can get very hot leading to cracks or shattering. It is very rare but it is something to keep in mind. 
  1. IR Rejection (950 and 1400): Infrared (IR) rejection refers to the film’s ability to block infrared rays, which are primarily responsible for heat. The numbers 950 and 1400 represent specific wavelengths (measured in nanometers) at which the film’s IR rejection is measured. Higher IR rejection at these wavelengths means better heat reduction. Infrared is responsible for 53% of the heat you feel through the glass. You want to block as much Infrared as possible. You can see that STEK NEX Window Film blocks up to 97% of this heat source!
  2. UV Rejection: This measures how effectively the tint blocks ultraviolet (UV) rays, which can cause fading of car interiors and are harmful to skin. Higher UV rejection percentages are preferable for better protection. This type of heat can feel like your skin is stinging. It is responsible for 3% of overall heat in the vehicle. Ensure that you choose window films that not only block 99% of UV but that it covers the full spectrum. UVA, UVB and UVC. If your installer doesn’t know the differences it may be up to you to figure it out! 
  1. Glare Reduction: This is the ability of the tint to reduce the brightness and glare from sunlight and headlights, enhancing driving comfort.
  1. TSER (Total Solar Energy Rejected): TSER is the total percentage of solar energy (visible, infrared, and ultraviolet) rejected by the tint film. A higher TSER value indicates better overall protection from solar heat and radiation.
  2. SEC (Solar Energy Control): This term encompasses the film’s overall ability to control solar energy through a combination of transmittance, reflectance, and absorbance.

Simple is better

As you can see, you can go down quite the rabbit hole with Window Film stats. Let’s make it simple. Window Film is not just a darkening feature to make your vehicle look cool. It has quite a bit of other things to consider. I will give you 5 main things to consider when looking into films. 

  1. VLT – How dark do you want to go. This also affects 40% of the heat felt in the vehicle. The darker you go the more heat is blocked. Find the mix of darkness and heat control that you are looking for.
  2. UV Rejection– Make sure the film blocks 99% of harmful UVA, UVB and UVC Rays.
  3. IR or Infrared Rejection: a high-quality film will block up to 97% of infrared. This accounts for 53% of the heat you feel in the vehicle. Now just because an installer offers a “Ceramic Film” that doesn’t mean that they have a 97% infrared rejection. Most are 70%.
  4. Do you care? If you just want darker windows a good color stable Carbon Window film will do. These typically offer a Lifetime Warranty and block up to 69% of Infrared and 99% of UV. A great middle ground for window films.  If you want the best of the best. Enjoy the comfort for you and your loved ones riding in the vehicle, increased HVAC efficiency in an EV or Gas Vehicle and much less time for your interior to cool down then look into high end Graphene Ceramic Window Films.
  5. Installer, Installer, Installer A good installer that takes pride in their work and uses the best installation methods. Is their shop dusty? What expectations have they set with contamination? Do they offer warranties on film and labor? Is a shuttle important to you? Ask some questions and do some research. In the Window Film Industry you absolutely get what you pay for!

 

You can see through this chart on how much each of the characteristics influence the heat that you feel in the vehicle. 

The Ultimate Breakdown: Window Tint for Cars | Price and Factors That Impact It

Conclusion

When it comes to car modifications, window tinting is a game-changer that stands out for its style and practicality. From the budget-friendly dyed tint to the premium ceramic option, each window tint comes at different price points to cater to diverse consumer segments. If you want to up the aesthetic appeal of your precious vehicle and improve the privacy game, there’s no better deal than Med City Detail. 

With experienced professionals who have been in the field for years, the company is known for providing exceptional quality and craftsmanship that’ll leave you singing praises for long. Med City Detail is committed to using only the finest quality products, as evident by their employment of STEK window installations. So, if you want your car to become a head-turner in the town for aesthetics and comfort, Med City Detail is your one-stop shop. 

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