A parked car with tinted windows.

Windshield tints can help block UV rays, lessen sun glare, and add privacy to your ride. Whether you want to tint your windshield for these reasons or just for looks, tinted windshields have lots of benefits. There are countless tint kits available to make this a quick DIY project.

Our team has put together an in-depth guide on what exactly tinted windshields are, the types of tints available, how to find the right tint for your car and windows, and how state laws vary across the United States.

Tinted Windshields And Windows

Tinting your windshield has proven to be a useful addition with many benefits. Tint is a thin film that is installed on your front windshield, rear window, or side windows without affecting visibility. Tints vary in price, with some reaching upward of $100, but for auto enthusiasts, it can be a fun DIY project.

Tinted windshields offer many benefits including:

Sun Exposure

With a tinted windshield and windows, those hot summer days can make getting in your parked car less overwhelming from the extreme heat. Windshield tint can prevent up to 50 percent of solar heat from entering your car keeping your interior cooler in hot weather. Car window tint can also improve fuel efficiency by reducing the need for air conditioning.

Ultraviolet (UV) Rays

Tint film can block an impressive 99 percent of UV light that enters your vehicle. UV rays are linked to various poor health effects, including rapid skin aging, cataracts, and skin cancer. Harmful UV rays also damage and deteriorate your car’s interior over time with extended exposure, especially plastic and leather interiors. With tinting, you can reduce your own sun exposure, and keep your car’s upholstery in better condition.


Car windshield tints can help prevent glare caused by sunlight. Some tints can lower sun glare by up to 30 percent. If you don’t want a colored tint but still want to prevent glare, there are many tints on the market that are clear in color but still do the job of blocking UV rays and preventing sun glare.


While generally a larger investment, there are a few windshield tints that can make your windshield nearly shatterproof. In the event of a collision, a shatterproof window tint can help keep you and your passengers safe from flying glass.

Types of Windshield Tints

There are a handful of different types of windshield and window tints, all of which can be applied to your car’s windows and have different features that make each type of tint stand out from the others.

Ceramic Window Tint

Ceramic window tints use small ceramic particles to protect your vehicle’s interior from heat and UV rays without affecting your visibility as a driver. If you decide to purchase a ceramic film for your windows, it’s recommended to buy infrared rejection tints which provide about 80 percent of visible light transmission (VLT).

The VLT percentage is the amount of light that hits a surface, meaning, a tint with a VLT of 50 percent means 50 percent of visible light will pass through the tinted window. The lower the VLT, the darker the ceramic tint, and vice versa, which is why an 80 percent VLT is ideal for visibility while still working effectively as a car window tint film.

Metallic Window Tint

Using metallic particles to reflect UV light and reduce heat in your car’s interior, metalized tint has a similar design and makeup to ceramic tint. These particles are not visible to the naked eye, but it does give the tint a more reflective and shiny look when installed on your windows. This tint protects your interior from overheating and potential damage from UV rays.

Carbon Window Tint

Carbon tint is infused with carbon particles and is slightly darker in color than other window tints. The denser and darker pigmentation of carbon particles in comparison to the metallic and ceramic particles contributes to the overall window tint darkness. Carbon tint cuts out an average of 40 percent of infrared light, keeping a good amount of light and heat out of your car’s interior

Choosing A Windshield Tint

When choosing the tint to apply to your windows and windshield, you need to consider each window differently and take into account your local window tint laws, which sets tinting requirements, highlighting darkness and glare.  

In general, your front side windows will require a higher VLT, while the rear side windows can generally have a lower VLT. Your front windshield cannot have a dark tint color in any state to meet legal tinting requirements as expected by your local law enforcement, so you’ll need to choose a front windshield tint with a VLT of at least 80 percent. 

Your rear windshield can usually have a similar VLT to your back-side windows, but definitely follow your state’s laws as they vary across the country. Your state’s DMV also has information on laws regarding window tint before you take the next step of installing your new window tint.

Installing Your Windshield Tint

Installing window tint.

When you’ve chosen the tint that meets state requirements and your own criteria, it’s time to install the tint on your vehicle’s windows. Many tints include the necessary installation tools to apply your tint on your windows, though it’s important to check what’s included in your purchase before you start installing.


Professional window tint kits should include the following tools: a heat gun, squeegee, utility knife, Nylon scrubber, a lint-free cloth, and an application solution.

To prepare your car for tinting, you’ll want to remove any dust or stains from your windshield and windows with the lint-free cloth to ensure the tint goes on smoothly. 

To prepare the film, spray the application solution onto your front windshield and any windows your might be tinting. Line the tint strip on one edge of your windshield, slowly unrolling the tint while spraying the solution. Once you’ve reached the other edge of your windshield, use the utility knife to cut the strip, separating it from the rest of the roll. Lastly, take the heat gun to shrink the film strip, bringing it into the interior of the window for a better seal.


Using the spray bottle, mist your windshield’s interior and your fingers to prevent sticking. Carefully lift the corner of the roll, peeling it back without completely removing it. Spray the application solution onto the adhesive side, being careful not to touch the adhesive.

Lay the tint as cleanly and smoothly as possible since moving and adjusting the tint can leave particles under the film. Lastly, use the squeegee to remove air bubbles and creases, pushing them to the edges of the tint strip.

When the DIY project is finished, you should have one layer of film on the exterior of your windshield and one interior layer to get the best results for glare reduction and UV ray blockage.

Tinted Windshield: Bottom Line

Tinted windshields offer countless benefits including protection against intense UV light rays, reduced glare, and interior heat reduction to protect your car’s interior and keep you cooler in hot summer weather. Installation is fairly straightforward, but for any car owners not wanting to tackle this project, you can get the installation done professionally if you’re willing to spend some extra money at an auto shop.

Tinted Windshield: FAQ

*Data accurate at time of publication.