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Discussion Starter #1
Spring is short here and the weather is already turning summery. 8)

I'm thinking of window tinting to try to reduce heat and protect the battery. I have never had windows tinted before, but did a thread search and have a couple of questions:

1. Is tint always applied as a film? It's not sprayed onto the glass, right? If film is the standard method, what is the best way to prevent unsightly bubbles?

2. Should I contact the DOT to find out the legal % of tint allowed?

3. What exactly are "ceramic" tints? It sounds like they are non-reflective but provide the best heat reduction.

4. Can a tinting film be removed without damaging the glass or leaving a residue?

Thanks very much for "shedding some light" on my questions. :D
 

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Kathleen

I can't answer all your questions (coming from so far away) but I have tinting and am very happy with it. It is a product called Onyx made by Madico Inc (45 Industrial Parkway Woburn MA 01801). Apparently it has metal in it (I don't know how they do it) but it is claimed to almost eliminate UV and certainly reduces radiant heat coming into the cabin and cuts my use of the airconditioner.

Make sure you get a good installer, especially with the Insight because the side windows curve in more than one direction so that the film needs to be shrunk a bit around the curve (using a small heat gun or hair dryer) on the outside of the window before it is permanently applied on the inside.

Also make sure that the installer takes the door trim off to properly install the film. Some installers cheat and cut away the rubber door trim to fit the film in at door level.

Also make sure that the film extends right to the top of the rear hatchback glass over the dots. The film will not stick perfectly to the glass between the dots (although it should stay in place) and it looks fine - much better than leaving the dots uncovered.

Good luck - Ghillie
 

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Hi Sputnik,

Yes, Spring in in the air here in east Tennessee too :!:

Trees are budding, flowers are blooming, my first 90 MPG commute leg of the year :!: :D :D :D

Most any tint shop should know your states legal limits for tint so I won't speculate as to your specific requirements. The mirrorized tint that ghille recomends is the way to go. Much better at blocking heat. Tinting the rear hatch will have the greatest effect. But side window tint and vent shades (so you can keep the windows cracked open to keep the batteries happy) will be part of the complete solution.

When the time comes the film can be removed. But extra care is required on any rear glass that has a defogger grid. Even a hairline scratch across a grid line will kill that line. For most tints an ammonia solution and a bit of force in one corner will allow it to be carefully peeled off in one piece.

I know I've shed some light for you. But I hope I can block some heat too :!: <VBG>

HTH! :)
 

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Hi Kathleen,
My car had pretty dark tint on it when I got it. It is illegal in my state to have it this dark, but I will wait until I get t ticket on it before I have it removed and different tint put back on (expensive).
From the dark tint in the sunlight, you would be surprised how much heat is absorbed by the dark tint. It may help, but I think the dark tint is for looks only. I bought a covercraft weathershield car cover for those intense hot days and a duster so it won't scratch the paint, but I'll probably end up getting the reflective tint eventually.
I went to the local stereo place to get a band across the top of the windshield because on the way to work, the sun comes in right over the rear view mirror, and they just farm the work out. The tint guy gave me his card and said he would be able to do it much cheaper if I call him direct. He suggested the reflective tint because the darker the tint is the more heat you feel when you run your hand across it.
Go with the reflective.
robert
 

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15% mirror....no limits in Missouri!

apllied (3M) by film...spray is too expensive and so is ceramic based....

ask around....find someone with a good tint job and ask around.....word of mouth (and no visible bubbles) are your best bet....IMHO
 

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sputnik said:
1. Is tint always applied as a film? It's not sprayed onto the glass, right? If film is the standard method, what is the best way to prevent unsightly bubbles?

2. Should I contact the DOT to find out the legal % of tint allowed?

4. Can a tinting film be removed without damaging the glass or leaving a residue?
I see you're from "way down south".
If that is Georgia, I can check and see what my sticker says. My car came from Georgia and it has an approved sticker in the window. The shop near Atlanta that applied the tint did a PERFECT job. No bubbles, dirt or flaws of any sort. He also had a 6" strip applied across the top of the front window.
 

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4. Can a tinting film be removed without damaging the glass or leaving a residue?
Yes the tint can be removed without a residue, but it is a pain. The tint comes off pretty easy, but getting the residue off takes quite a bit of elbow grease. Use a razor blade on the smooth parts of the glass. Goo Gone on the black bumps with a lot of rubbing.
robert
 

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I haven't tried it but ammonia is supposed to release the film. The info that came with the car said "do NOT use window cleaners only clear water to clean the interior of the film.
 

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At the auto parts stores there are a number of cleaners that are safe for use with film tints. I was under the impression that the ammonia caused it to fog.
If it releases the film, then it might be easier to replace than I thought.
Thanks,
robert
 

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originalbadbob said:
At the auto parts stores there are a number of cleaners that are safe for use with film tints. I was under the impression that the ammonia caused it to fog.
I have purchased tint for a truck from [url
http://www.tintdude.com[/url] on eBay.
Good seller with directions tools, and 3m tint.
He has removal directions as well at http://www.tintdude.com/remove.html

USUAL DISCLAIMER:Not associated etc.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks to all for the very helpful information. You all know so much and I appreciate the advice.

We live in Alabama so the heat factor is probably similar to Georgia, but the tint shops (unless there are chains) may differ.

Sorry to be going slow w/ this, but I'm still collecting as much info as possible, before taking the plunge and making an appointment w/ a tint shop... Balancing the need to protect the battery from excessive heat w/ concern about permanently altering the gorgeous appearance of this car.

It's cold today, so that probably contributes to the procrastination. I have started cracking open both windows on warm days and am looking into the vent visor mod. As far as sequencing, it seems that window tinting should proceed any vent visor installation.

Incidently, is tint film typically applied only to the top part of a windshield or to the entire face?

Thanks again for the much-appreciated information...and hats off to the 90 MPG hypermile trips! :D
 

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The windshield tint is only applied to the top portion, just like the tint built into many factory windshields. My windshield tint comes down to the mirror mount and is contoured to follow the top of the windshield, and some states have a limit of how many inches it can extend. A lot of tinters just trim the top of the tint to fit the windshield and leave the bottom straight, which to me, looks goofy as it appears to curve downward at the ends. As far as the windshield tint really helping the UV and temperature, it is minimal if any, but I had mine done for the sun coming in over the mirror and blinding me on my morning commute. When parked in the heat of summer, you are much better off using a windshield sun shade to reflect the UV and heat. If there was an easy way to have them on all windows and back hatch I would prefer that.
I don't know why they couldn't come up with an automatic tint like eye glasses have.
robert
 

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"FormulaOne"

Find a dealer in your area that has FormulaOne, as I've mentioned on other sites, this is IMHO the best, most durable tint available anywhere. A bit pricey but looong after you forget the extra $$, you'll have a great product guaranteed forever.

From the Formula One website ( http://www.formulaone.com ):

"Leading edge technology makes this series the finest sold anywhere. First developed to protect delicate electronic circuitry in the aerospace industry, the technology behind the Premier Series uses a "100% metal alloy process" coupled with a multiple layer construction. It may sound complicated, but it simply gives you the best auto film which can be made with today's technology. Because no dye is used [bold mine] , the Premier Series has none to fade. And because it's all metal, it gives you even higher heat rejection in even lighter shades, a major functional and aesthetic advantage over any other type of window film."

Disclaimers: Not affiliated with Formula One in any way except as a satisfied customer of many years... never a fade, never a bubble, never a lifted corner, never a problem. Nine cars so far! In the immortal words of Elwood Blues, "Strong Stuff."
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Well, I visited one of the two tint shops in town on Saturday. They use only Llumar film and Eddie, the Tint Master (yup, he told me this was his title) said that both the reflective and non-reflective Alloy tints have 64% heat reduction w/ 35% light transmission. This is not exactly matching the Llumar website specs, which give 52% for reflective and 46% nonreflective. He quoted $250 to tint hatch and all side windows.

I'm not quite sure what to make of Edde TM, but will try to contact the other local tint shop ("Extreme"...oh man, what am I getting myself into?!) and then decide. Looks like Formula One film is not available nearby...website gives a dealer about 80 miles west, in a very small town. I'll call anyway...just in case Eddie or the Extreme don't come through! :)
 

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Hey Kathleen,
I'll bet most of the tint installers really don't know much about the tint at all. They are just spouting numbers but are good at installing it.
All you have to do is run your hand over a reflective tinted window and on a dark tinted window and you can feel the difference. There is also a difference from inside to outside and the reflective is much better. This was not a scientific test, but when I was at the stereo shop, I did my little comparison and the tint guy there said that the darker tints sure feel a lot hotter than the reflective ones.

After having my strip installed on the top of the windshield and talking with the tint guy (who was contracted by the stereo shop), he gave me his card so I could deal with him directly. He said if I need to change to a lighter tint, he would do the car for $225 including removing the old tint.

If you have a son or daughter in high school, or you know someone who does, they will probably know, or can find out who is the best and cheapest installing tint.

I looked at the Llumar site and the tint law sheet. My car came from GA, and it has very dark tint. I live in SC where the min light transmission is 27% and GA is 32%. So my car is more illegal in GA than in SC..., but it looks good. 8)

Looking at the specs of both for AL, it looks like the Formula 1 Pre 35 gives you the best legal heat rejection, and the Llumar PP35 is about the same. I'm leaving mine as is for as long as I can.

Good luck with it and let us know what you get and how it turns out.
robert
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Thanks again for the helpful and encouraging words.

The Extreme uses Sunguard films (please be very cautious trying to access info on this tint film thru the internet...I nearly clicked on a site called "we present sunguard window tint", before noticing that the website description was composed of jumbled syntax and probably very bad for the computer). Mr. Extreme said the Sunguard films are are warrantied against bubbling and peeling but not color change and they will eventually turn purple "in about 10 years" . I'm deleting Sunguard from the lineup, but do appreciate Extreme's honesty.

Eddie the Tint Master is still a possibility, but a follow-up call to the shop and a conversation w/ Sterling revealed that their Llumar PP (Platinum Plus) is the only film w/ an intrinsic lifetime warranty. Sterling was not sure if the nonreflective was provided by Llumar or not and he quoted $189 to Eddie's $249 for the reflective Llumar PP.

I'm really interested in the Formula One. The tint shop authorized to install Formula One is closer to 70 miles from here, but the guy has been doing it for 22 years and answered all my questions thoroughly. If the weather is as gorgeous as it is today, a little roadtrip could be just the thing! :D The shop owner says the Premier is a good choice, all metal alloy but not as mirror-reflective in appearance as Llumar (which I'd prefer). They also offer the Ultimate (all-metal, very low reflectivity) and the Pinnacle (ceramic).

Well, that's what I know for now. :D
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Wish I'd been able to follow-up sooner, but me and my Insight have been busy! (not to mention me and my molar, getting a root canal and me and my work, getting my weekends :? )

I decided on the FormulaOne film and made the 140 mile roundtrip to the tint shop which installs this film. We decided the Premier35 was the best choice. This film is metallic, but does not have an overly reflective appearance. The heat reduction is 52%. The tint guys, Ryan and Sean, did a nearly flawless installation on the side windows but the hatch drove me crazy... a wierd diagonal "pull" distortion, many reflections and strange marks which looked like smoke radiating from the edge of the tint ( later learned these are called "ghost trails" and result from overheating the edge of the film).

FormulaOne was very helpful. They drove out, diagnosed the hatch tint problem and set up a new appointment. Another 140 roundtrip (77MPG yeah!) and we ended up with FormulaOne's ceramic film, Pinnacle Series, on the hatch. They did not charge for the rework or the more expensive ceramic film. Ceramic looks very good and also has 52% heat reduction. There is still some blurriness (they minimized squeegee on it to avoid stretching the film) which hopefully will dissipate as the film dries out. There are some reflections, but overall it's a really good job and the car looks great!

I have 3 pics I'd like to post, showing an exterior view of both metal and ceramic film on the same car and also interior views through both types of film. Would someone be willing to clue me in on how to post an image? Sorry for my cyber-idiocy but I cannot find a website to first place the images.

Next step is to look at the vent visor mod. Has there ever been any difficulty w/ in channel vents peeling or scratching window tint? :shock:

Thanks in advance. :)
 

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Kathleen, try the site I use in my sig. :) There have been others suggested in the past. Anyone else got one to suggest for Kathleen :?:

In channel visors can damage tint if it causes too tight a fit as the window closes. The extra chaffing when too tight will eventually cause peeling. In most cases tint installers prevent even the remotely possiblity of this ever happening (with or without too tight a fit) by trimming back the edge of the tint from the channel. If this is your case then nevermind this paragraph :!: ;)

Thanks for the update. Looking foreward to the pics. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #19
tint pics

ahhhh, I'm still learning about getting the images in. Here goes! :D

Exterior view. Side windows have metallic Premier35 and hatch has ceramic Pinnacle35 tint film. Probably because the windows are not in-line, the tint appears the same around the car.
http://www.photohost.org/gallery/data/2 ... or-med.jpg

Interior view at the corner.
http://www.photohost.org/gallery/data/2 ... er-med.jpg

Interior view thru the hatch. Ceramic film used here. There are some reflections, but not as noticable as with the metallic film. Diagonal distortion is nearly gone.
http://www.photohost.org/gallery/data/2 ... ch-med.jpg

Hope these pics help others researching the window tint topic.
 

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Hi Kathleen,
The reflection in the hatch doesn't seem to be much different (if at all) than my really dark tint.
I have been watching this thread to see other options in case I have to change my tint to something legal.
Would it be possible to get a full side view picture in the sunlight?
Thanks,
robert
 
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