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How to Care for Car Window Tinting

A rain-coated orange sports car parked on a city street.

Maintenance Tips to Make Your Car Window Tinting Last Longer

Car window tints are both functional and attractive. But without the right quality, installation, and care, window tints can end up bubbling, fading, and breaking down.

If you’ve recently installed a window tint or film, you want to make sure it lasts. To prevent your tints from becoming eyesores, take proper care of your windows.

You can improve the lifespan and appearance of your tinted car windows with these care tips.

Proper Window Cleaning Tips

Wait for the Window Tints to Cure

Before cleaning your windows, make sure the window tints have cured. Your car window tint installer will give you a time frame for curing. Factors such as the climate can affect curing times, so window tints can take between 7 and 30 days to cure.

Do not roll down your windows for about a week or so after your window tint installation. Since the tints haven’t fully cured during this time, rolling down windows could damage the tint.

Use the Right Products

Although window tints have a scratch-resistant coating, this coating is only meant to protect the tint from normal wear and tear. It doesn’t protect against sharp or abrasive materials.

So before cleaning your window tints, make sure you only use safe, gentle products and materials. Ask your window tint installer for recommendations on the best cleaning products for your window tints.

The following cleaning products are safe to use:

  • Clean rubber squeegees;
  • Cotton cloths;
  • Microfiber cloths;
  • A cleaner that is specifically made for window tints; and
  • Warm soapy water.

Do NOT Use

  • Cleaning products that contain ammonia or other harsh chemicals;
  • Scrapers or razor blades;
  • Steel sponges or scrubbing pads;
  • Abrasive cleaning compounds, including baking soda;
  • Vinegar; or
  • Squeegees with sharp metal edges.

How to Clean Tinted Windows

  • Lightly spray cleaner on windows.
  • Wipe with a clean, soft cotton or microfiber cloth.
  • Turn the cloth regularly to wipe with a clean surface.
  • Spray again.
  • Moving horizontally from top to bottom, stroke the glass with a soft rubber squeegee until dry.
  • Use a cloth to wipe off any cleaner residue on the borders of the windows.

Note: Car window tints are installed on the interior side of your car windows. So you can clean your car’s exterior windows as you normally would.

How to Clean Off Adhesives

To safely clean off residual glue or adhesives from tape or stickers, use a clean cotton cloth dabbed with acetone. This will quickly remove the adhesive without damaging the tint. Wipe the window clean after removing the adhesive residue.

How to Deal With Bubbling

Sometimes water or air gets trapped between the window and the tint film, causing bubbling.

Window tint bubbling can be a normal part of the tint installation process. But these bubbles should disappear within two weeks following a professional installation.

However, if the tints were poorly installed, these bubbles could last. If there was dirt or debris on the window before installation, the tint adhesive won’t stick to the window properly. Bubbles are also common when the tint adhesive is beginning to fail and the tint is breaking down.

How to Prevent Air Bubbles

The best way to deal with bubbling is to prevent them from ever happening. The following are tips to prevent bubbles from appearing on your tinted windows:

Choose a Quality Tint Product

Durable, high-quality tints last longer, so you won’t have to worry about the adhesive failing or the tint breaking down quickly.

Opt for a Professional Installation

It might be tempting to save money and install the window tint yourself. But there’s a good chance you won’t have the expertise of a professional window tint installer.

The professionals know how to properly adhere the tint to the windows so bubbles won’t become a permanent eyesore.

Clean Properly

As mentioned before, abrasive cleaning products can damage and wear down tint films. So to keep the tints from breaking down, only use safe and gentle cleaning products on the window tints.

How to Remove Air Bubbles

If you already have air bubbles in your window tints, visit the professional installer to have them removed. If they were in charge of installing your tints, then you may not have to pay to have the bubbles professionally removed.

To remove the air bubbles yourself, follow these steps:

  1. Warm the window with the bubbles—either by placing your car in the sun light, or by using a hair dryer.
  2. Fill a spray bottle with room-temperature water, and use it to mist the window enough to moisten but not soak.
  3. Use a straight pin to poke a tiny hole in each bubble.
  4. Ensure the window is still warm and damp.
  5. Use a credit or debit card, or another straight edge, to smooth out the bubbles. Smooth toward the edge that is closest to the bubble, holding the card at a 45-degree angle, moving slowly and gently.
  6. Dry the window with a soft, lint-free cloth, and inspect for damage and other bubbles.

Although this DIY approach isn’t difficult, it still risks damage to your window tints.

To increase the longevity of your tinted windows, opt for durable, high-quality car window tints and professional installation. Also, keep these maintenance tips in mind to ensure your window tints resist fading and damage. With the right care, your tinted windows will last and continue looking great.

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