I Had My Car Windows Tinted: Here’s How They Look & How Much It Costs

Have you ever had your car windows tinted? I have never had that done with any car that I’ve owned, but I decided to do that with the car I purchased recently. My main goal in having the two front windows tinted was to get some of the sun that streams in through the windows off of my arms. That’s the one part of my body that I think has suffered sun damage over the years.

As with most things we do to our homes and cars, there’s always the “exploring and learning” stage where you’re gathering information and making decisions. I knew from the get-go that I was not going to push the legal limits for tinted windows. The last thing I wanted was to drive around worrying/wondering if one day I’d get pulled over for having windows that were too dark. Who needs that stress?!

Car Windows Tinted to Block Sun

 

Here in Georgia, the legal limit is 32%, so any number above that is fine. The way tinting works is the lower the number, the darker the tint. For example, 25% would be darker than 32%. The sales consultant who helped me order my car recommended 35%. That’s what they always have done for the cars they sell if a customer requests the tinting done prior to them picking up their car at the dealer.

 

The place I took my car offers a “ceramic” film/tinting that is supposed to be even better at blocking out the heat from the sun. I chose to not go with that because my car is rarely ever parked outside for very long. Also, I was told that ceramic tinting has a “bluish” look. I didn’t want that, I wanted the tinting to be similar to the shade/hue of my factory-tinted back windows.

So this is how 35% tinting looks at 9:00 AM on a cloudy day. lol If interested, I’ll take photos on a sunny day to see if there’s any difference. Just let me know if you would like to see that.

Car Window Tinting, How Does It Look

 

Probably the most annoying thing about having windows tinted is you can’t roll down the windows for 3-5 days. Argggh. I never want to do anything until you tell me I can’t, then that’s all I can think about! Ha! No zipping through the Starbucks drive-thru for an iced coffee or through Chick-fil-a for a chicken sandwich, not unless you want to have to open your door to place your order and pick it up. lol

The tinting film is applied to the inside of the window. I waited the full 5 days, not wanting to risk even the slightest damage to the film. Actually, it was around 5-1/2 days before I actually rolled down the driver’s side. I still haven’t rolled down the passenger side window. Maybe I should do that just to test that it’s okay.

Car Window Tinting, Don't Roll Down Windows for 5 Days

 

I did not have the back windows tinted, this is how they come from the factory. You would never want to match to that level of tinting because it would be more than is legally allowed for front windows. Also, during my exploring/learning stage, I read that if you go too dark, it can be difficult to see out at night. That would not be good when trying to change lanes while driving at night. So that’s another very good reason to not go darker than is legally allowed.

Tinting the windows also offers a bit more privacy. If someone is just walking by, I doubt they would notice a package on the seat or floorboard without really making an effort to see inside. They would probably have to cup their hands around their face and press their face against the glass to really see inside. I never leave anything tempting in my car anyway, since that’s just asking for trouble.

Having Car Windows Tinted for Sun Blocking, Privacy

 

You can even have the windshield tinted. The place that tinted my windows recommended that. I can see how it would be tempting to have that done because once you get the driver and passenger windows tinted, the sun coming in through the windshield does seem even brighter than before. I have no plans to do that, though–for many reasons. One reason is that I have a Peach Pass on my windshield and a tinted windshield can sometimes interfere with the reading of those.

The cost for tinting the driver and passenger windows was actually less than I had expected. I went with a higher grade of tinting than the standard and the cost was $139 for both windows. It took the window tinting guys about 1-1/2 hours to complete the job. I waited in their waiting room while they did the work.

How to Have Car Windows Tinted

 

I didn’t think to take photos prior to the tinting, but hopefully, you’ll find this helpful if you’ve ever thought of having your car windows tinted. I’m really glad I had it done and I do like how it works for keeping the sun off my arms and the side of my face.

Oh, one more tip: Do some research about which tinting shop to use before having your windows tinted. The place I took my SUV is the only place the dealer from whom I purchased my car will use for tinting. Apparently, not all places do the same quality of tinting, so maybe call around to a few of your local car dealers and ask them who they use for having car windows tinted when a customer requests that.

Car Window Tinting, Privacy and Sun Blockage

 

Have you ever had car windows tinted before? How did it work? Were you happy with the result? Any tips for those who are thinking of having it done?

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Comments

  1. Yes we have, and I love it! Other than the previous SUV we had, we’ve always had our windows tinted. I rarely drive much at night but sometimes on a rainy night, it’s a bit more difficult to back my SUV in the garage, and even though I have a back camera, I like to check my side mirrors. * This time we added a strip of tint across the top of our windshield. What a difference on a sunny day! This time we’re thinking of taking our SUV back and getting the dual sun roofs tinted. I’m not a fan of a dark interior but we had no choice with this particular model. Which means with the sunscreens closed it’s pretty dark inside, so we like to keep the sunscreens open. But then it’s sometimes too bright! I think the tint would allow just the right amount of light inside. We love fresh air so the sunroof is usually open or tilted.
    *I always back in my garage, in the rare instance I may need my car battery jump started or replaced – the hood is facing out! It actually happened with our last SUV when it was only 2 years old! Speaking of the battery, find out where yours is located if you haven’t already! The one in our last GMC Acadia was under the floorboard of the back right seat! Our current Buick Enclave, it’s under the hood, go figure!

    • That is so interesting that just the strip across the top can make such a big difference! My car has something weird going across the top that’s black and dotted so I wonder if it does the same thing…not sure.

      Thanks for the warning about when you’re backing into the garage, I will be careful about that because I use my side mirrors a lot whenever I’m backing up. That’s really important to know.

      I should open my sunroof more often, I like the idea of getting more fresh air in!

  2. Good morning, Susan. I’ve thought about doing this for some time, but I have an older car and I’m not sure how much longer I will have it. It’s a terrific car – a Cadillac – is in great shape, has low miles, and I really like the car. It’s safe, reliable, and comfortable. Once when I was on the freeway, there was an object on the road in front of me. I quickly swerved to avoid it, then got back into my lane. It handled beautifully. It never occurred to me that it would be more difficult to see at night if you had the front windshield tinted – something to take into consideration.

    I hope you are getting some cooler fall weather. We don’t really have much of an autumn here in CA, but, thankfully, the weather is starting to cool off. It’s been horribly hot and dry here. (Someone really needs to do a rain dance!)

    Thank you so much for this very informative post, and I hope you have a lovely weekend.

  3. Good for you! I have had my car windows tinted with every purchase over the last 25 years and would not have it any other way. It gets crazy hot in Texas during the summer months and tinting is the only way to fly! Enjoy your new vehicle!!!

    • I bet! Thanks, Vickie! I’m enjoying it so far and eventually I will stop reaching for the gear shift in the middle of the car and the garage door opener in the roof. lol Muscle memory is hard to break!

  4. DawneMarie Anderson says

    Hi Susan!

    I have all passenger windows deeply tinted. FL car. I really like it. It’s harder to see out at night but well worth it. I use a fold up sun visor for front window if out and about. I always carry ice water in a similar yeti. Tinting works!
    My car is garaged most of the time. Limited nighttime driving.

    • I don’t like driving at night either…the lights from other cars can be so blinding at night. Those Yetis are amazing! I love those for the car!

  5. This was very informative, Susan. The windows of my Escalade are tinted more darkly in the back than up front. I never thought to have them tinted! I do, however, wear sunscreen on my neck so I don’t get anymore sun damage over on that left side!

    • Mine looks darker in these photos than they do in person, probably because it was cloudy out this morning. That’s so smart to wear sunscreen! I should wear it more often.

  6. Carolyn P. Bailie says

    Was your tinting place local or a chain?

    • I just looked on their website and they appear to only locations in the metro Atlanta area.

      • Nancy Williams says

        I live in Atlanta and would be interested to know who did the tinting for you. Just got a new vehicle and looking to have this done. Had it on my previous vehicle and loved it! Thank you!

        • Sure, I used HotSpot tinting. They are near the corner of Windy Hill and Cobb Parkway. It’s a little tricky to find…they are behind a Car Spa place. I’m very pleased with the results. Nancy, don’t let them try to talk you into going too dark. They tried that with me but I wanted my tinting to stay legal. They came recommended by the dealer as the only company they will use for tinting.

  7. If you lived in Western NY you would be thrilled when the sun shines & would have no need for tinted windows!

    • Really? Is always cloudy in Western NY? For those less intense here in the south, I can open up the sunroof for a bit of sun. 🙂

      • No not always cloudy but we do have several very gray months & our springs have been pretty rainy so by the time the sun is out we welcome it for a few months!

  8. Victoria Tyson says

    Susan, you are the Martha Stewart of the everyday woman ………everyone can relate to you and even better , you can admit mistakes or miss-steps.
    I applaud you for sharing your life and decorating decisions with us all.
    Martha always made me feel “ Less than” as a working mom of two but you are one of us…..thank you Susan for sharing it all…
    Warmly, Victoria

    • Thanks so much, Victoria! Yup, gotta share the mistakes, too! I’m definitely am no Martha Stewart. lol Just remember, Victoria–she had staff and lots of help, so she wasn’t always doing it all by herself. 🙂

  9. We are traveling to see family and I must have missed your post about a new car. What did you get? I have been trying to keep my hands covered because the sun comes in on the passenger side and I can already see all the brown spots popping up all over my hands. Where did you take your car to get the windows tinted? I might want to get my windows tinted too.

    • I just went with another SUV, I love having the space to haul home plants and stuff. I wish I had thought about my hands about 25 years ago! I wonder if that’s why they used to wear driving gloves? I took it to a local shop here in the Atlanta area called HotSpot. I’ve very pleased with the job they did, it looks flawless as far as I can tell.

  10. Dark tints are not allowed in New York State. The inability for law enforcement to see into a car can put them in danger.

  11. cheryl sinks says

    My current car has the back windows tinted, and I am looking for a new car. But I’m not sure I will tint the new car as I’m 75 years old and having a clear vision is important.

  12. The car and tint looks great, Susan. I hope you’re happy with your selection of SUV.

    I have never had tint and I don’t know if I’d like it or not. I would like to cut the sun’s glare, that’s for sure, but it makes me nervous when I can’t see another driver (who has tinted windows) to read their reactions. Are they going to stop? Do they even see me? What are they doing? I was once stuck in a line of traffic in a parking lot. There was no out. I couldn’t move in any direction except forward. A woman parked perpendicular to me started to back up. I honked and honked, but she kept coming. She had a tinted back window and I couldn’t see her – at all. I thought, well, I guess I’m going to get hit! And I was about to try to jump over the stick shift to get to the other side when she hopped out of her car to talk to me.
    Apparently she was waving to me to let me know she saw my car, but I couldn’t see her. It was frightening.

    I’ve had other experiences like that and I do wonder if drivers are driving with illegally tinted windows – which is just dumb. Being able to see and read signals from other drivers is so important, so I just don’t know. Maybe if I went with a rating of like, 63% I’d feel okay about it, lol. Don’t know how much good that would do, but it might be just enough to make a difference. Good info. I’m glad you posted it. Thanks.

    • So far I’m really loving it! You should try it Pam, I think you would love it. Definitely makes a difference with the sun/heat coming in through the window.

  13. Cyndi Raines says

    So happy for you with your purchase on your new SUV. The windows look really good. I’m very happy with our new to me vehicle and it has tinted windows and also has retractable sun shades for the back windows. Enjoy and safe travels!

  14. Nancy Williams says

    Thank you so much!! I know exactly where they are located – live only a few miles from there actually! Can’t wait to get it done.

  15. Dear Susan, This was such an important post ! Tomorrow my husband is
    actually having a 2nd cancer surgery on his arm precisely where it is exposed to sunlight as he drives & no, he is not a driver by profession. I made him read every word of this blog & every comment posted by your thoughtful readers.
    Your efforts to share are deeply appreciated. Thank you. Thank you.

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