Fixing Automotive Window Film
Window tint is a thin laminate film installed on your vehicle’s glass surfaces. Typically, we perform a window tint installation to reduce the heat and glare of the sun, improve thermal insulation, and increase privacy, but in other cases, window tint film is used for automotive styling, decoration, branding, or signage.
Window tinting is a surprisingly complex subject, with many different products on offer. There are lots of different materials to choose from that influence how dark your tint will be and whether it will affect the cell phone reception inside the vehicle, for example. Your choice of product will greatly influence how long your window tint lasts before it begins to peel, crack, or bubble.
How Long Does Window Tint Last?
The simple dyed film may only last a couple of years before it begins to peel and bubble, whereas quality window film made in a vacuum chamber can last over a decade. Besides the materials you choose, the quality of the installation plays a big part in how long it will last. DIY window tint installation is always inferior to a professional installation.
Another thing that affects how long your window tint lasts is the local climate. If you get car window tinting in San Diego, for example, the summers are hot and dry but the winters are cool and wet. You’ll want to choose a window tint material that’s capable of handling both of these types of weather. If you live in a more arid area, you should seek winding tinting material that’s better capable of handling extreme heat. In any case, window tinting tends to last longer in cooler and cloudier areas than hot areas with constant direct sunlight
Can You Fix Window Tint at Home?
As you might expect, fixing problems with window tint at home can be hit or miss. Installing and repairing window tint is very difficult, takes a lot of patience, and is certainly best performed by experienced professionals. If your window tint is still under warranty, you should get it repaired or replaced by the original installer before considering trying to fix it at home.
How to Fix Window Tint Bubbles
If you still want to go ahead and try to fix window tint bubbles by yourself, it’s a matter of pricking the bubbles with a needle and smoothing the bubble with a credit card or similar tool. You must be careful to massage the tint back into place without leaving any wrinkles, which is easier said than done.
If you do cause a wrinkle, you’ll need to spray the edges with distilled water and lift the film from the window with a razor blade. Using a squeegee, press the film back into place by working from the inside to the edges. Once complete, leave the area to dry completely over the course of a few hours.
Note that a few small bubbles are to be expected on the newly-installed tint. These will go away in hot weather or reduce to an unnoticeable size. Of course, if the tint was poorly installed in the first place, causing lots of larger bubbles, you’ll need to get the window tint professionally repaired.
How to Fix Peeling Window Tint
Peeling is another issue that eventually happens on old window tint. In some cases, you can simply clean the tint with soap and water before carefully putting it back in place with a squeegee. This is usually a temporary solution, though.
The next step would be to cut out a square of the window tint using a razor blade, apply a fine mist of water, and remove the section entirely. Clean the exposed window, and then place a new section of window tint onto the window that’s slightly larger than the section you cut out.
This never looks quite as good as a window tinted with one sheet, so it might end up being better to simply replace the entire tint. You’ll need to soften up the tint with ammonia before removing it with a razor blade.
Professional Window Tint Installation and Repair
Most people simply don’t have the tools to perform window tint installation or repair themselves. Others underestimate the difficulty of installing window tint, leading to poor installations that don’t last. Apart from small issues like those outlined above, we recommend getting your window tint installed, repaired, and replaced by professionals. In the end, it will likely cost you less money and you’ll get a much better outcome.