How Long Does It Take to Tint Windows?

Window tinting is an excellent way to minimize harmful UV rays in the summer. It blocks off about 78% of the sun’s X-rays, which is one reason why car owners love it. So, how long will it take to tint your car windows?

Window tinting can take one and a half to two hours in a typical four-door vehicle. However, this can take more than two hours when dealing with larger cars with a lot of glass surface area, steep window rake, or intricate window curves. Wait at least 48 hours before you roll the windows down once you’re done. Otherwise, this can end up in messy tint issues.

Read on to learn more about the process of window tinting and how long it will take to get one.

How Long Does It Take to Tint Windows?

how long does it take to tint windows

Take Anywhere Between 1.5 to 2 Hours

Window tinting is a pretty precise procedure, at least when you know how to get it right. So, expect it to take anywhere between 1.5 to 2 hours in a typical four-door vehicle.

Depends on the Size and Type of the Vehicle

The exact time it takes also depends on the size and type of vehicle you have. You do not want to speed up the process here because you risk getting air or dirt bubbles when you finish.

Tinting an average-sized car usually takes roughly two to four hours. A full-size truck, for example, can take around four or more hours.

Plus, some people opt only to tint the front windows and so if that’s the case, this should take you 30 to 45 minutes. 

Give It Time to Dry

It will take some time to dry because a lot of moisture is involved along the way. So, expect around ten days for the windows to properly cure if the weather is dry and warm. It may take two to three weeks to dry fully if you do it in winter.

Above all, once you are done with everything, you shouldn’t immediately roll your windows down. Give it at least 48 to 72 hours before you do so.

What Is the Front of a Car Called?

Factors That Affect the Time It Will Take to Tint Windows

While it can roughly take 2 hours to tint your car windows, several things could affect this timeframe:

1. Number and Shape of Windows

The type of car you have, the shape and size of the windows, and the number of windows can all impact the timing.

It will take more than two hours to tint your vehicle if it has more than four windows or if the windows are of a complex form. A corvette with a domed rear window, for example, should take a little longer.

2. Old Windows

Moreover, old windows will undoubtedly take a longer time. So, the less glass there is, the faster it takes. Still, accessing the back of a coupe with only two doors can be tricky, taking longer than two hours.

3. Old Tints

If your car already has old tinting that needs to be removed, the process will take two hours. The technician will need to remove the old tint and the glue before applying the new tint.

4. Climate and Sun Exposure

UV rays have a lot of power. They can penetrate clouds and burn through your skin even after bouncing off of surfaces, so they will gradually wear down your window tinting over time. 

Plus, where you live has a big effect on how long your tints last.

For instance, southern states have a higher UV index than northern states. Even in winter, UV rays become more strong and thus fade your colors.

Park your car in an enclosed garage if you reside in a super sunny area. Avoiding direct sunlight will extend the lifespan of your tints.

5. Cleaners

How you clean your car will have a big impact on your tints. Avoid ammonia cleaners and stick with a vinegar-based solution to clean your tinted windows. 

Always consult your tint manufacturer to get the right type of cleaner for your tints.

Over time, sand, dust, and other particles can accumulate in your window sills and rollers and scrape your tint off as your windows roll up and down.

So, use rags and tiny brushes to clean your window sills and rollers. Make sure to go with gentle strokes to avoid scraping the windows. 

6. Quality of the Tint

You get what you pay for, so make sure to do your homework and choose the perfect window tint percentage for your car that will last long. If you buy a cheap tint, not only will you notice it, but so will others.

Imagine driving your cool car to a stoplight, only to have your tint begin to peel away from your windows. What an awful sight!

Think of your window tinting as an investment rather than a one-time buy. You would want it to add value to your car rather than being something you have to update every six months or so.

Window Tint Lifespan 

It starts with applying a laminate film in the appropriate size, color, and shade to the windows because it can degrade over time.

The material you choose here will determine the lifespan of the tints. The following are examples of common window tint materials:

  • Ceramic film 
  • Standard film 
  • High-grade polyester film
  • Metal film 

The second one is the cheapest, so don’t confuse the word standard. Usually, ceramic and metal films are the best picks.

Standard films usually last around five years before it is time to replace them. However, metal and ceramic films can last up to ten years when properly maintained. And, if you go with the standard film, replacing it will cost much more than its actual price.

Benefits of Window Tinting

how long does it take to cure window tint

1. Can Help Keep Your Car’s Upholstery from Fading

Window tints block strong sunlight that can fade your car’s upholstery over time and discolor vinyl and leather.

2. Can Block UV Rays

Tints can prevent at least 78% of the sun’s damaging UV radiation, which can cause skin cancer and accelerate aging. 

3. Prevents Solar Heat

You can strike a balance of climate and comfort by adjusting the optimum level of air conditioning inside your car while decreasing fuel waste from excessive air conditioning use.

4. Protects Against Shattered Glass

Window tints act as a barrier to protect you from outside objects hitting the windows of your car. They also protect you from flying glass fragments if you have a car accident.

Thieves will also have a hard time breaking the windows.

5. Improves Privacy 

Window tinting comes in various shades to provide maximum privacy, especially while parking your car, so you can walk away confident that no one will peek through to view your stuff.

Again, how long does it take for windows to be tinted? Tinting cars and full-sized truck windows might take 1 1/2 to two hours. Meanwhile, it will only take 30-45 minutes if you’ll have the set of front doors tinted. But, if your car has an old aftermarket film that the worker has to remove, expect this to take longer.

How to Tint Your Car Windows – Step by Step

Materials Needed

Razor Blade

This one allows you to clean the surface of any debris. A new razor blade will be handy for this project.

Utility Knife

You will need it to make clean cuts in the film.

Squeegee

This is a crucial tool for tinting rear and front windows. You can use it to clean the glass or remove water from it. Make sure to choose one that fits the size of your windows.

Hard Card

A hard card works like a squeegee, but the only difference is that it can get into tighter spaces.

Spray Bottle

The bottle will allow you to apply the cleaning solutions to any film section. The solution fully lubricates the film so that you won’t worry about any potential tears. 

Soapy Water

You will need soapy water to clean the glass before applying the tint. You can also lubricate the shade with soapy water.

Microfiber Cloth

You can use it to dry the windows. 

Duct Tape

The felt liner may get in the way when you apply the tint. So, you can use this tape to hold down the felt to avoid this problem.

Heat Gun

This is a must-have item to make the film fit all curved areas. You can also use it to smooth out surfaces.

Steps

1. Check the Tinting Regulations in Your Area

Different restrictions apply to window tinting depending on whatever state you live in. Before you buy or do anything, make sure you know the tinting guidelines and regulations in your area to see what percentages are permitted.

Failure to do so could result in fines and ultimately removing the tints altogether.

2. Select Your Window Tint

Tint films are most commonly used when tinting a car because they are the easiest and cheapest to install. They come in metal, hybrid, and carbon varieties. They differ in terms of how much light they let in. Examine a sample first to see if it’s a good fit for your car.

3. Wash the Windows

Clean the windows that you intend to tint thoroughly. Clean both inside and outside to remove all the dirt. Anything trapped beneath the film soon after you finish applying it can cause bubbles and make your tint more susceptible to wear and tear.

4. Measure and Cut the Film

Take measurements of your windows before you cut the film as this is very important. You should leave at least one inch of excess film on the window to apply it properly. Generally, it’s always better to leave some extras rather than nothing.

5. Remove Any Extras

Start by aligning the film along the bottom line of the window and applying it directly to the glass. There should be an excess of film at the top of your window. 

Roll your window down and apply the remaining film on the top once lined up on the bottom. Cut any remaining residual film using a knife, but be careful not to break the glass here.

6. Spray the Solution 

Remove the film layer now and apply the solution. 

7. Replace the Protective Film

Do so once you finish applying the solution. Make sure to wear gloves and eye protection to avoid any potential harm.

Tips to Preserve and Maintain Your Window Tint

how long does it take to tint 3 windows

Once you finish tinting, keep a few things in mind for the next three to four days. 

1. Keep Your Car Windows Rolled up

Opening and closing your windows right after you finish is never a good idea as this can cause the film to loosen around the edges.

2. Wait at Least Four Days Before You Wash Your Car 

The color will need to dry, taking up to 24 hours. You can still wipe away any residue with a soft dry cloth after the first day but wait at least four days before a full car wash.

3. Inspect the Windows for Bubbles

Water bubbles may often form shortly after you finish, and it is perfectly normal, so don’t freak out.

4. Clean the Windows

Use a soft microfiber cloth to wipe your windows with water and soap gently. To wipe small particles from your windows, choose a cleaning solution that does not contain alcohol or a grainy substance, as these have corrosive properties that can ruin your tint.

5. Invest in the Right Tint

Although a higher quality tint will be a bit more expensive, it will certainly save you money in the long term. And while two hues may look the same to you, the qualities within each tint are distinct. Usually, you should go with a 3M window film, which is one of the best in the industry. 

6. Avoid Touching the Tints

Wait about a week for the film to cure completely after applying it to your windows. 

Roll down your windows, clean them, and don’t touch them. Otherwise, you could have discoloration, peeling, blotching, and streaking.

FAQs

Can I Tint My Car Windows As Dark As I Want?

It depends on your location, as each state has its window tinting laws. Some go as high as 70%, while others have a strict 20%. This is done through something called “Visible light transmission” or VLT. 

You use the VLT to measure the proportion of light that can pass through the tinted material.

How Long Will It Take to Tint the Windows of My Car?

This depends on the number of windows and the type of car you have. Usually, it takes 45 minutes to two hours or even more. The installation will be much faster if you only want to apply the tints to the two-front-side doors. 

Is It Common to See Bubbles After You’ve Finished Tinting?

Yes, for the most part. Water bubbles are normal and should disappear as soon as the film dries. However, dirt and soapy bubbles will not go away on their own, and depending on the severity of the condition, you may need to reapply the whole tint.

How Much Does It Cost on Average to Tint Windows?

Tinting an average-sized car can cost around $100. Many professional window tinting companies charge $25 to $30 per window. For a pickup truck, the fee will change to $120. 

Expect to pay around $400 or so to tint the windows of a typical van. Prices for an SUV, a mid-size SUV, and a big SUV will be slightly higher. 

If you don’t want to tint your car fully, you can get the visor strip on the front windshield tinted for $25-$30. 

Moreover, if you are going only to tint two windows, this will cost roughly $70. Also, don’t forget to always ask about any seasonal specials and discounts!

Conclusion – How Long Does Window Tinting Take?

Tinting your windows can help your car stand out. It won’t take more than two hours to tint a four-door car fully.

The actual time will, of course, depend on your car model and how big it is, but generally speaking, speeding up the process is never a good idea as you would want to avoid getting air or dirt bubbles.

So, is it worth it? Absolutely. Once you are done tinting, your car will protect you from damaging UV rays and get more privacy while on the road. Just double-check your state laws and how dark you can tint your windows.