Types of tint:
- Dyed – Cheaper and won’t last as long as the others listed. You will have to replace it down the line due to bubbling.
- Metalized – Shinier look. Great at reflecting light, but has metal in it, so it can interfere with cell signals.
- Hybrid – Combination of Dyed and Metalized. This combination is not too dark nor too reflective. If you are on a budget, I would get this one over dyed or metalized.
- Carbon – Another step up would be this one that uses carbon particles mixed into the film. It rejects more heat than metalized without cell signal interference and provides a more matte look.
Ceramic and Crystalline are the ones you will most often hear in the Tesla industry:
- Ceramic – We typically use 3M’s ceramic tint. It has almost 100% UV protection, incredible glare reduction, no signal interference, and reduces heat. This is great for Tesla’s because the less AC you run, the longer the range. You can read more about it here.
- Crystalline – 3M’s signature high-quality tint. Thinner than a post it note and lighter in color, it still provides all of the heat blocking qualities you would want in a tint. This one will be well over $1k.
- VLT: (Percentage of Visible Light Transmitted) The percentage of visible light that passes directly through filmed glass. The higher the number, the lighter the film. For example, 80% tint means that 80% of light will pass through it.
- TSER: The percentage of total solar energy rejected by filmed glass. The higher this value, the less solar heat is transmitted.
- UV and IR: Ultraviolet and Infrared. You’ll see these terms a lot. Both come primarily from the sun, and just like how you use sunscreen at the beach to protect your skin, tint also protects you. So the less UV and IR rays coming through your glass, the better.
What parts of your Tesla should you tint?
If you want the ultimate protection, we recommend all side windows and rear windshield. The rear windshield is really great to protect your kids sitting in the back.
For most modern vehicles, all windows do come factory tinted so if you put a meter on the window, it won’t be 100%. For example on this Model 3, it displays a 80% VLT without tint. Our most recommended set up for Tesla Model 3 is to do 35% for all side windows and 50% on the rear windshield. BUT, that’s only because we are in the state of Tennessee.
What is legal in my state?
Every state has it’s own requirements when it gets to tint percentages. They have clear guidelines on what you can tint the side front, side rear, and windshields. Typically, most states require that you stay above the AS1 line when you tint the front windshields. To find out what your state requirements are, you can visit the link here.
How long does tint last?
High quality tint can last for the lifetime of the vehicle. They typically come with a lifetime warranty from bubbling and purpling.
Why does tint bubble up or turn purple?
Cheap or lower quality tint will bubble up due to the heat from the sun eventually affecting the adhesive on the tint, pulling it up from the glass and causing bubbles. High quality tint like ceramic should never bubble or turn purple if installed correctly. In fact, it has a lifetime warranty. If it is “purpling” or “bubbling”, you may have cheap tint installed, and the best solution is to remove and install better tint.
How much does it cost?
This can vary depending on the type of tint you choose and your location. If you’re going to a reputable shop with high quality tint like ceramic, you’re looking at $400-1200. If you opt in for something like 3M Crystalline, expect to spend well over $1000 to tint all the windows of the vehicle. The Model 3 in particular tends to cost a lot because of the massive rear glass size and the skills required to install it properly. Tesla vehicles also have a lot of electronics so you’d definitely want to go to a shop that are familiar with them.
Questions you should ask your installer:
- Do you install the rear windshield in one piece or two pieces? This is a matter of personal preference. I like the appearance of it being in one solid piece, but if you don’t mind the seam in the middle, two pieces will be cheaper and easier to install.
- Are you aware of the defroster being extremely fragile when installing the back window? A lot of installers use abrasive materials to clean glass, especially around the defroster lines as those are the hardest to clean. BUT, if you break one line on a Tesla, the entire defroster won’t work and that can be an expensive fix.
- What steps do you take to make sure all electronics are safe? For example, we use a soap rope in the back windshield to make sure all soap and water is being absorbed in that and not soaking into any electronics.
How is tint installed?
Tint installation in a nutshell is: cleaning, heat shrinking, and then installing from the inside. The reason why it’s shrunk on the outside is because it’d be very difficult to shrink from the inside. Imagine doing that for the rear windshield on the Model 3!
Are there DIY options for tint installation?
Unfortunately, it takes time to learn how to tint and the margin of error is small. An inexperienced installer may have a lot more bubbles and debris in their install. Not only that, Tesla vehicles have a lot more electronics than an ICE vehicle so you want to make sure you don’t damage anything and cost you more money rather than saving it. We have thought about it, but unless new innovation happens with the film, we don’t plan on working on DIY options for tinting. You’d just have to come see us in Chattanooga, TN!
What are some recommended brands?
At TESBROS, we offer 3M products. We find that their warranty is great for our customers and they are a trusted brand. Other brands that are well known are Llumar, Xpel, and SunTek. I’m sure there are many more out there, but these are some of the most common and trusted out there. You can’t go wrong with these brands.
So, why should you tint?
- Protects you from harmful UV rays
- Reduces sun glare
- Vehicle appearance (stealth and clean blackout look)
- Prevents interior from fading
- Blocks solar heat (You save energy by not using AC as much, therefore conserving battery life and ultimately range.)