There are many ways that you can customize your vehicle. Detailed graphics, dramatic paint jobs, even personalized license plates give your car a touch of the unique. Another way that many people choose to modify their vehicle is through window tinting. Though this bit of customization can step over the line and become illegal, when done correctly it can be beneficial in several ways. So, how much does window tinting cost?
What is Window Tinting?
Window tinting is the process by which the windows of a vehicle—and in some cases a home—are darkened so the amount of light that passes through the window glass is reduced. When applied to vehicle windows this can offer several benefits:
- Darkened windows reduce the amount of UV rays that pass through the window glass. This protects the skin of the people inside the car from skin damage, including reducing their risk for skin cancer. In fact, the Skin Cancer Foundation recommends window tinting as an added source of sun protection for those that spend time in the car frequently.
- Tinted windows can also be a deterrent for potential thieves. This is because the darkened windows obscure the interior of the car so it is more difficult for wandering eyes to see things inside that may be appealing to steal.
- If you live in a hot climate you may enjoy the reduced heat of a car with tinted windows. This can help you to use the air conditioning less, but also keeps the car cooler when it is parked, which makes travel much more comfortable.
- Since the rays of the sun are filtered by the window tinting the inside of your car is protected from fading. This can also help keep the dashboard and steering wheel in older cars from cracking or peeling.
- The aesthetic of a car with tinted windows is often more appealing than one with standard windows.
How is Window Tinting Done?
Window tinting is accomplished through the application of a special film onto the surface of the window. This film is either dyed a dark color or metalized. Lower quality films will have less color density, which means that it will let in more light than higher quality films.
How Much Does Window Tinting Cost?
If you want to have your vehicle windows tinted you have the option of either doing it yourself or paying a professional body shop to do the tinting for you. The choice that you make will impact the overall cost of the window tinting project.
If you want to do the window tinting yourself the cost will be comprised solely of materials. You can purchase the window tinting film either pre-cut by the square foot, or by the roll which you will cut yourself. The average cost of tinting film when purchased precut is between $2.39 and $2.87 per square foot depending on the style, brand, and quality of the film. When purchased as a roll the average cost is between $1.84 and $2.33 per square foot. Unless you plan on tinting the windows of more than one car, or want to have plenty on hand in case of mistakes or for future applications, you will likely want to purchase your materials by the square foot of precut film. You can also purchase a tinting kit that will cost between $60 and $80.
Having a professional do the window tinting for you will carry a cost comprised of both the cost of materials and the cost of labor. Small passenger cars and pickup trucks have an average tinting cost of between $150 and $225. SUVs and minivans have an average cost of between $170 and $225.
Factors that May Affect the Cost of Window Tinting
- If you have old tinting on your windows and want it replaced you will likely be charged a removal fee of around $25.
- Non-reflective film is slightly more expensive than film that is not made with this in mind.
- The make and model of your car will be one of the first things that a professional tinter asks of you when you first contact him regarding a job. This is because some are more difficult than others and will carry higher costs.
- There are many types of films available. Lower quality films not only do not perform as well as higher quality films, but can also quickly deteriorate, change color, bubble, and even peel off after application. Purchasing high quality film ensures better performance, enhanced benefits, and a longer lifespan.
To make sure that you get the most out of your window tinting job you should call several shops for quotes. Do not ask just “How much does window tinting cost?”, but what is included in the price, including if the shop offers warranties.