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Discussion Starter #1
One of my cars has its window tinted by a shop and the result is great. I am thinking about getting my Camry's window tinted as well, but don't want to pay another $400 for it. So I am wondering whether anybody has tried this before, how hard it is and where to purchase a good quality pre-cut film set? (If there is a precut set by 3M Chrystaline, that will be fantastic. But lesser brands will do just fine.) Thanks for the information.
 

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You are paying $400 in the bay for tint? Sheesh, if you're willing drive to Stockton or Lodi I can recommend quality shop for much cheaper. I wouldn't pay more than $250 for tint and that's for the back 3 windows and the front driver/passenger.

Suntek, solar guard, johnson are all good tint films as well so don't get caught up in any 3m hype even though they do make good films. Also each of those brands have different levels of tint with there respective quality level just like anything else these days to satisfy everyone's needs.

With that said tinting is not that hard, I've never done a vehicle myself personally but I've tinted the windows of my home. Frosted the glass window portion of my front doors and have done the mirror tint on the front of my home where the sun beats on the most. You can't see in at all during the day but can look out perfectly fine.

Plan for $60-$100 for some tinting tools, that's just a couple different squeegees, cheap heat gun, nice olfa knife, good spray bottle for your soapy solution. Then you got the cost of film.

I have most of these tools already, and VVivid films (they make quality vinyl films a lot of car vinyl wrappers use) just released their own line of ceramic tint films and can be purchased in small quantities vs dropping damn near $300 on a 100ft roll of tint in only one shade of film. Haven't decided yet but i may purchase some and attempt to do my Camry.
 

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Ive tinted the last 4 cars ive owned myself using lexen pre cut tint from amazon. Its very thick and high quality film. Never bubbled or went purple/faded. The big difference doing it yourself is using good film. Also you really need to know what your doing. If you havent done it before i wouldnt expect your first attempt to be successful unless your lucky. watch a ton of videos about it, mainly check out videos from "Tint Stuff" He has some very informative ones for beginners. I would also suggest at a minimum buying a heat gun because youll need it to remove the fingering of the side windows and rear.

Basically put you cant go wrong for $32 dollars. However as i said if you dont have a heat gun, a few hard cards, baby shampoo, a spray bottle and extreme patience i would just let the pros do it. It really is an art and its hit or miss. A couple of my friends watched me tint my last vehicle and were shocked how "easy" it was or i made it look apperently. They also went out and got themselves a kit and everyone got 1-2 windows to look decent and failed on the rest and had me redo it lol. One thing to remember is technique, clean clean clean windows, and the fact you need to be ready to fail and have a spare set as backup so you can get it done.

If you do go ahead with it good luck and hopefully it works out and you have a cheap tint job on your hands :D If you have any specific questions feel free to ask.
 

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You are paying $400 in the bay for tint? Sheesh, if you're willing drive to Stockton or Lodi I can recommend quality shop for much cheaper. I wouldn't pay more than $250 for tint and that's for the back 3 windows and the front driver/passenger.

Suntek, solar guard, johnson are all good tint films as well so don't get caught up in any 3m hype even though they do make good films. Also each of those brands have different levels of tint with there respective quality level just like anything else these days to satisfy everyone's needs.

With that said tinting is not that hard, I've never done a vehicle myself personally but I've tinted the windows of my home. Frosted the glass window portion of my front doors and have done the mirror tint on the front of my home where the sun beats on the most. You can't see in at all during the day but can look out perfectly fine.

Plan for $60-$100 for some tinting tools, that's just a couple different squeegees, cheap heat gun, nice olfa knife, good spray bottle for your soapy solution. Then you got the cost of film.

I have most of these tools already, and VVivid films (they make quality vinyl films a lot of car vinyl wrappers use) just released their own line of ceramic tint films and can be purchased in small quantities vs dropping damn near $300 on a 100ft roll of tint in only one shade of film. Haven't decided yet but i may purchase some and attempt to do my Camry.
Just to note tinting flat glass is MUCH easier then a vehicle, eg jeep wrangler has flat windows = easiest thing on earth to tint, VW new beatle = the worst thing on earth to tint lol. Also with proper technique you can easily get a spray bottle from the dollar store, heat gun from harbor freight for $15, a razor or pack of 5 for $5, and use the squeegy that comes with the precut film i mentioned and be good to go. That what i did on my first and it worked great even being a bit ghetto. Also note beginers seem to have the most trouble with cutting the tint so the precut option is very appealing in that regard eliminating a failure point at least.
 

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Yeah tinting anything with a curve will be challenging, but that's what the heat gun is for while shrinking it on the outside.

Take your time shrinking(however not too much time, don't apply too much heat to the glass)
Take your time trimming
Take EXTRA EXTRA time cleaning, especially in the back with the defroster.
Don't ever touch the adhesive side of the tint

Back glass and windshield are going to be the most difficult for sure, that is why my tool price range is high. There are some nice squeegees out there for the hard to reach areas. Quality ones will run you $25 +/- . I wouldn't recommend regular box cutter type blade, definitely get a good olfa knife and break away the blade when needed for a fresh sharp blade.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Everything is more expensive in the SF Bay Area, esp. on the Peninsula and South Bay. (Don't know much about City, should be worse.) Here an 1B1B apt. with 712 sqft costs 3k/mo. I looked at Stockton also. A 2B1.5B 860 sqft apt is $1450/mo. haha. The cost of tint is actually reasonable, unless the workers work in the Bay Area and lives in Stockton.

But if you have a good tint shop that you can recommend for me, please do so for sure. For the savings, I won't mind driving 2 hours. Maybe I can make a hiking day out of it. Thanks!


You are paying $400 in the bay for tint? Sheesh, if you're willing drive to Stockton or Lodi I can recommend quality shop for much cheaper. I wouldn't pay more than $250 for tint and that's for the back 3 windows and the front driver/passenger.

Suntek, solar guard, johnson are all good tint films as well so don't get caught up in any 3m hype even though they do make good films. Also each of those brands have different levels of tint with there respective quality level just like anything else these days to satisfy everyone's needs.

With that said tinting is not that hard, I've never done a vehicle myself personally but I've tinted the windows of my home. Frosted the glass window portion of my front doors and have done the mirror tint on the front of my home where the sun beats on the most. You can't see in at all during the day but can look out perfectly fine.

Plan for $60-$100 for some tinting tools, that's just a couple different squeegees, cheap heat gun, nice olfa knife, good spray bottle for your soapy solution. Then you got the cost of film.

I have most of these tools already, and VVivid films (they make quality vinyl films a lot of car vinyl wrappers use) just released their own line of ceramic tint films and can be purchased in small quantities vs dropping damn near $300 on a 100ft roll of tint in only one shade of film. Haven't decided yet but i may purchase some and attempt to do my Camry.
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
Thanks. I do have a few questions.

1. Is the Lexen film ceramic or metallic? If I buy 2 sets, would they give a good discount on the 2nd set? $33 is cheap, but $66 is not really. With a high chance of failure, I am kind of not sure.

https://www.amazon.com/LEXEN-computer-Pre-Cut-Complete-Windows/dp/B0070Y35OC/

2. How hard is it to tint Camy (4.5gen 2001 MY)? The most crucial ones are actually the side windows. Those should be easy to install, correct?

3. I have a very old decal on the back window. That is from my school 16 years ago and I like it. Do I have to take it off to tint?

4. Now the tool list.

Heat gun: the home depot WEN looks nice with a case and some accessories. I kind of like it more than HF one.

http://www.homedepot.com/p/WEN-1-500-Watt-Dual-Temperature-Heat-Gun-Kit-2020/206940714

For the Olfa knife, there are many kinds, which one works best for tinting?

Soapy water or baby shampoo, which product works the best?

What is a high quality set of squeegee, any link? Thanks.

Just to note tinting flat glass is MUCH easier then a vehicle, eg jeep wrangler has flat windows = easiest thing on earth to tint, VW new beatle = the worst thing on earth to tint lol. Also with proper technique you can easily get a spray bottle from the dollar store, heat gun from harbor freight for $15, a razor or pack of 5 for $5, and use the squeegy that comes with the precut film i mentioned and be good to go. That what i did on my first and it worked great even being a bit ghetto. Also note beginers seem to have the most trouble with cutting the tint so the precut option is very appealing in that regard eliminating a failure point at least.
 

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Your right, don't know what the hell I was thinking. Yeah i know rent in the bay is completely ridiculous and all you will receive is a tiny shack. Could live like a king with 3k a month in Stockton, Sac/Elk Grove area with the same amount of money.

But here are a couple

Rey's Window Tinting & Auto Security
2256 N Wilson Way Stockton Ca, 95205
(209)507-2705

And

California Window Tint
122 N. Cherokee Ln Lodi Ca
(209)513-2609

^^ My dad picked up a new little around town beater a while back. I sent him to this guy and he did 5% on the back and 35% on the front window for like $220 I believe. Looks good too, I believe he use 3M Color stable film.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Nice. Thanks. Will call them tomorrow. Is the film ceramic?


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I've tried DIY tint. You need a lot of space to roll out the tint and cut to the right shape. I'm never good with a razor and stuff like this I'm terrible. Tried it on my first car with pre-cut ones. It came out terrible. Quality tint is the way to go if you can do it yourself to ave $$$.

I'd rather do a timing belt job on the 1MZ then tint. Willing to learn but not enough space at the moment and no covered enclosed garage to prevent dust/wind.
 

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I tint for a living at work. Side windows on most cars r flat and we use software to cut to shape of each vehicle. Hardest part is heat shrinking the rear window before installing it. Still this is not super difficult. Fyi my work uses 3m films and crystalline is not a amateur film to work with. 1. Expensive. For a full car most places charge 6-800bucks for full vehicle. 2. The way u have to heat shrink it is more involved then standard tint. U have to heat it from top side and bottom side to get it to conform. But basic tint once u get hang of it its not bad at all. Just get some of cheap Walmart rolls and try it. Just use baby soap and water as the install solution. U can even use dish soap if need be.
 

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Also yes i do hand cut windows sometimes too and that by far is the worst. But when u can have it cut to shape its fairly straight forward. Def clean clean clean. Biggest issue with older cars is all the dirt and grime and getting them clean. Also glue if car was tinted before.
 

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I tint for a living at work. Side windows on most cars r flat and we use software to cut to shape of each vehicle. Hardest part is heat shrinking the rear window before installing it. Still this is not super difficult. Fyi my work uses 3m films and crystalline is not a amateur film to work with. 1. Expensive. For a full car most places charge 6-800bucks for full vehicle. Plus it blocks 99% of uv rays and blocks heat . Also it is thicker then normal tint. 2. The way u have to heat shrink it is more involved then standard tint. U have to heat it from top side and bottom side to get it to conform. But basic tint once u get hang of it its not bad at all. Just get some of cheap Walmart rolls and try it. Just use baby soap and water as the install solution. U can even use dish soap if need be.
 

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Maybe I should try learn how to tint...after all having 5 cars, having someone tint is pricey...
 

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Maybe I should try learn how to tint...after all having 5 cars, having someone tint is pricey...


You should. I wasnt very good when i first started and now i could do it in my sleep. Every car is different tho i still get cars that give me a hard time. For some odd reason i can do trans ams and camaros easy but them darn newer camry always give me trouble on some of them lol. Its just something you have to try and try and get better. As i tell my clients. The rule is your supposed to view tint from 6 ft away. Its very hard not to get any dirt so in most cases there will be some minor spots of dust but after the tint cures and dries out you would have to look really hard for the very few spots. Also its just like vehicle wraps your not supposed to view those up close either. They recommend 10 ft back. Because there are seams and stuff. My work does wraps too.
 

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You should. I wasnt very good when i first started and now i could do it in my sleep. Every car is different tho i still get cars that give me a hard time. For some odd reason i can do trans ams and camaros easy but them darn newer camry always give me trouble on some of them lol. Its just something you have to try and try and get better. As i tell my clients. The rule is your supposed to view tint from 6 ft away. Its very hard not to get any dirt so in most cases there will be some minor spots of dust but after the tint cures and dries out you would have to look really hard for the very few spots. Also its just like vehicle wraps your not supposed to view those up close either. They recommend 10 ft back. Because there are seams and stuff. My work does wraps too.
I think the issue for me was (and is when I last did it) is cutting the film the right way without making it look like a it was a toddler trying to cut a piece of paper straight. And when cutting it, having that few mm of tint on the edges and trying to fix that then having uneven edges... (nightmare). Having the right tools on this I can assume makes cutting the film the right way.

I think the biggest concern is the rear window since that can always be a pain. Do you remove the side pillar trim and the rear deck speaker for easier access on the window edges?

But yes, I should consider learning how to tint...it probably would save me several hundred...
 

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Discussion Starter #17
You have six cars. The savings is more than one grand. But my question is that the brand name tint film s are not sold retail. We can only buy no name films. I cannot even find ANY ceramic film at all.

Also for cutting the film, I see some video they just cut it on the car against window glass. Isn't it going to scratch the glass?


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I think the issue for me was (and is when I last did it) is cutting the film the right way without making it look like a it was a toddler trying to cut a piece of paper straight. And when cutting it, having that few mm of tint on the edges and trying to fix that then having uneven edges... (nightmare). Having the right tools on this I can assume makes cutting the film the right way.



I think the biggest concern is the rear window since that can always be a pain. Do you remove the side pillar trim and the rear deck speaker for easier access on the window edges?



But yes, I should consider learning how to tint...it probably would save me several hundred...


Most cars i do with pillars and deck in. Unless super easy to pull. But most newer cars r not easy to take apart so for the ease of not breaking customers car i do it with everything in tact. Yes i hate hand cutting. But it takes really sharp blade such as olfa knife with breakaway blades. Thats all i use
 

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Ive even done side work with cheap roll of tint from amazon and customers have been happy and hasnt turned purple years later. I even do all my cars windshields too because if i do get ticket i can just pull it off and redo it later again. So the savings of being able to do it is way worth it. I tint all my own stuff now. Ive even tinted whole lambo with crystalline at my work. Including windshield. That car had me scared. Its worth more then alot of houses lol. But after the intial shock of wow im spraying water into a 200,000 dollar car its was fine.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
If it is okay with the rules of the forum, may I ask where u are? Maybe you can do this for us? Thanks


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