There are more reasons than simple vanity for a person to have tinted windows in his/her vehicle. Many people have a need for the added protection from glare due to a sensitivity to light. It also offers greater protection to the vehicle’s occupants should the window shatter. The tinting film acts in the same manner as safety glass, keeping the window from spraying shards everywhere. Tinting also acts as a very useful theft deterrent, keeping the valuables inside the vehicle secure in a hard-to-see environment. It is, however, still viewed largely as a vanity item, making its cost known to very few. If any of the above reasons have piqued your interest in getting the window darkening, or even if it’s just vanity, here’s a look at what it takes to tint your car’s windows.

How is it Done?

Window tint comes in several different shades, which brings us to a little legal issue. Some window tint is actually illegal in certain parts of the country. Mostly this consists of the darker shades of window tint (commonly referred to as Limo Black). Be sure to check with your local Department of Transportation to see how dark the limit is in your area. As far as how it’s done, it is very similar to smoothing a blanket over a cot. First, your window is cleaned and prepped to accept the tint. Then a thin sheet of tinting film is cut to perfectly fit the window, applied using a bonding agent, and smoothed out to eliminate wrinkles or bubbles.

Will They Do All the Windows?

A basic tinting job should cover every window of the vehicle except the sunroof (if applicable) and the windshield. This means both, or all four, doors, including the triangle windows, and the rear window. The average price should reflect parts and labor on all of these windows. It should also include a minimum of a one-year warranty against bubbling, cracking, and peeling.

Can I Do it Myself?

As with almost everything else in America, you are free and clear to tackle this job yourself if you feel up to it. It is not advisable, however, unless you are incredibly experienced in performing it. It may sound very easy to cut and paste some plastic film on your vehicle’s windows. You can smooth out a bed, why not a piece of plastic, right? Well, don’t get too cocky. Before attempting this job yourself, take a look at the average prices. By the time it’s all said and done, if you try it yourself with no experience, you’ll wish you’d spent the money. It is much harder to apply the tint with no bubbles, wrinkles, or flaws than it sounds like. Leave this one to the pros.

What’s the Bottom Line?

There are several brands and styles of tint which can also affect the price, but the average tinting for a passenger car is in the range of $150 to $200. Trucks have fewer windows, so they get off slightly cheaper at an average of $125 to 175. SUVs and minivans will obviously pay the most with their plethora of windows. The average cost of tinting one of these monsters is $175 to $250. Remember, find a reputable shop that offers a decent warranty. This isn’t one of those expenses you want to have every year.

(Please remember that these repair prices can also fluctuate based on geographic location, as well as vehicle make and model; and that these numbers represent averages, not actual prices offered at any specific repair facilities.)