Apply and Clean Car Glass Tinting Film Like a Pro
Many car owners want to apply car glass tinting film to protect the inside of their vehicle from the sun’s heat and damaging UV rays. But not every car owner knows how to apply and clean car glass tinting film like a pro.
Car Glass Tinting Film Application
Before getting started, check your state laws regarding car glass tinting. For example, in Pennsylvania, vehicle window tinting requires 70% light transmittance for most types of cars.
- Clean the glass thoroughly with glass cleaner and a scrub sponge. It’s imperative the glass be completely clean because dirt and dust will cause the tinting film to bubble. Dry with a squeegee and a low-lint cloth. Wipe down the gaskets and clean as far into the gap between the gasket and the glass as possible.
- To separate the tinting film from the liner, prepare two pieces of transparent tape. Stick one piece of tape to each side of the film’s corner with half of the tape adhered to the film and the other half extending past the edge. In step 10, this will allow you to pull the clear protective liner from the car glass tinting film.
- Using a spray bottle filled with a water and soap solution, make sure that the entire surface of the window is wet.
- Extend the film over the window. Roll it out with the liner side facing outward. Use a utility tool with a new blade to cut away the excess glass tinting film. Position the film so that the bottom edge extends from a ¼ or ½ inch below the top of the inside car window seal.
- Spray the outside of the window film’s liner with the water and soap solution. Ensure that the film is totally wet with the solution.
- Take the squeegee and use the rubber edge to gently smooth the film onto the glass from the top to the bottom, working from one side of the window to the other in continues, overlapping strokes.
- Use the utility blade to cut along the vertical side of the glass. Press lightly on the blade as you cut and hold the blade at a low angle. Avoid using excessive pressure so as not to accidentally scratch or damage the glass. Try to do this in one smooth and controlled movement.
- Before trimming the top edge of the car glass tinting film, open the door of the vehicle. Carefully lift the film from the bottom of the glass. Then, roll the window down about 2 inches. Trim the excess film on the top of the window by using the edge of the glass as your guide. Run the blade all across the top of the window and down, along the mirror as well.
- Spray the inside of the vehicle’s window with the soapy solution. Clean the window thoroughly using a squeegee and low-lint cloth to dry. Remember to clean on and between gaskets.
- Now, use the two pieces of tape to remove the clear liner. Firmly hold the tape attached to the film as you pull the piece of tape attached to the liner up and away from the window. Slowly separate the two layers to expose the adhesive. As you pull the liner away, spray the newly exposed adhesive with the soapy solution.
- Generously spray the inside of the window with the soapy solution. Carefully lift the film from the outside of the glass and place the wet adhesive against the wet glass on the inside of the car.
- Use your hands to smooth out any wrinkles and position the film on the window. Leave about a ⅛ inch gap between the top of the glass and the tinting film.
- Fold up the bottom edge of the tinting film to help keep any remaining dust from adhering to the film.
- Spray solution on the outside of the film and press the tinting film firmly to the glass using the squeegee. Start at the top and work your way down.
- Next, roll up the window and dry all the water from the window below where the film has adhered with a low-lint cloth. Respray this bottom section of the glass with the soapy solution and dry it with the squeegee and cloth to ensure that it’s completely clean. Spray the bottom section of the window with the solution again.
- Then, unfold the film down onto the glass. Slip the edge of the film under the window gasket. Pull back the edge of the gasket with one hand and use the hard edge of the squeegee with the other hand to ensure the film is completely under the gasket along the bottom of the window.
- With short strokes, work from one side of the window to the other, applying pressure in a downward motion until all of the water is pushed out from under the tinted film. Push any bubbles you find to the nearest edge until the film lies flat.
- To finish, wrap the low-lint cloth around the hard edge of the squeegee and firmly dry the window using downward strokes. Wipe up any excess solution on and around the window and the interior surfaces of the car.
- Be careful. Avoid rolling down the windows for three days following car glass tinting film. This will give the film ample time to adequately adhere in place.
Tips from the Pros
- When cleaning the windows prior to film application, don’t use paper towels because they tend to introduce paper fibers to the clean window. Even tiny particles can cause unsightly bubbles under the window tinting film.
- In order to clean the space between the window and gasket, wrap the hard edge of the squeegee with a low-lint cloth. Use the edge to get down between the window and the gasket. This will help prevent trapped buildup from adhering to the tinting film.
- Auto accessory stores sell special application solutions; you can save money by making your own soapy solution. Just mix water and a small amount of liquid soap in a clean spray bottle. Professionals recommend baby shampoo or dish soap without any kind of grease-cutting agent as this may interfere with film adhesion.
- Rear windows have compound curvatures that render the application of window tinting film more difficult. In order to get a smooth finish, it’s necessary to cut the film into smaller, overlapping strips. We recommend cutting them into 8-inch strips.
How to Clean Car Glass Tinting Film
The professionals suggest cleaning tinted windows by simply spraying water or an ammonia-free glass cleaner and wiping dry with a lint-free cloth.