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FAQ's: Automotive Window Tint

San Diego Automotive / Mobile Window Tinting FAQ's, Encinitas
1. How long does it take to have tint installed on my car?
The process generally takes 1 to 1 ½ hours depending on the difficulty of the car, cleanliness, and the number of windows. Window tinting is not a race, but with our experience we are able to offer very high-quality installations in a short period of time. I have installed tint for 20 years and we always strive for the best quality possible. Window tinting is like surgery—just because it took longer doesn’t mean it came out better!
2. Is it legal to tint my windows?
Yes. You can legally tint your windows as long as your vehicle has dual side mirrors. I don’t know of any vehicle that doesn’t have them, so you’re safe.
3. How dark can I tint my two front windows?
According to the California State law the front passenger and drivers windows must have a visible light transmission of 70%. All the other windows behind the passenger and driver can be legally tinted as dark as you want. We will guide you through the do’s and don’ts before tinting your vehicle to help you make a decision that is right for you and the look of your car.
4. What do I use to clean my tinted windows?
We recommend using a soft cloth and an alcohol- or vinegar-based cleaner. Never use an ammonia- based window cleaner which can wear away at the films’ adhesive.
5. Why do I see little bubbles or patchiness soon after installation?
This is normal. We use a lot of water to activate the adhesive and to allow us to position the film for a perfect installation. Although we squeegee out as much of the water as possible, some small amount remains between the glass and the film. As this water evaporates through the film you may see some little water pockets or foggy patches. These should go away within a few days but could last a week or so depending on the weather. Never poke, prod, or pop these bubbles; they will always go away on their own. I have never seen a window fail to dry out.
6. Can window film ever be removed?
Yes, Window tinting can be removed at any time after the installation. As a window tint professional I know all the tips and tricks on proper tint removal. Please call us if you require a removal. It is a very tough and messy job, not recommended for beginners.
7. Will the tint fade?
Nothing is stronger than the sun, but the window films we use are specifically designed not to fade. Furthermore, our films are backed by a manufacturer's lifetime warranty if they do fade.
8. Will tinted windows inhibit my visibility at night?
This all depends on the shade and quality of film you select. Dark or “limo” tint will definitely decrease your visibility at night. If this is a concern, a lighter-to-medium shade is advisable.
9. Does Window Film go on the inside or the outside?
Automotive Window film is always applied to the inside of the window glass.
10. Why do I see bubbled or purple tint on cars?

The tint is either very old or of poor quality. Most older films, even the top-quality brands, will discolor and turn purple. The bubbling is a result of a failure in the adhesive system that causes the tint to lift from the glass. If our tint ever bubbles, we will replace it at no additional cost to you, as part the manufacturer's lifetime warranty.

11. How durable is tinting?
Our window film is protected by a hard scratch-resistant coating that can withstand everyday use and even, yes, kids. The key word however is "resistant." This does not mean "scratch-proof." Even glass will scratch, so be careful when loading and unloading objects with sharp edges, boxes, sporting equipment, and also when releasing your seatbelt, this can easily make small nicks that are not covered by warranty.
12. What is a dyed-film, a hybrid film, and a fully metalized film, and what’s the difference?

A dyed film is just as it says. The polyester window film is dyed in a submersion process that is absorbed into the porous material. This is the most effective way to ensure stable color and longevity.

Metalized films are created by a process called sputtering, which gives window tint high heat rejection. This is an advanced process that uses metals such as nickel, stainless steel, and aluminum that are "sputtered" on the surface of the film by charging the metal with ions and allowing the metal atoms to penetrate and uniformly bond to the film.

Hybrid films are created when layers of stable dyed film and metalized film are laminated together. These films offer the high heat rejection of metalized films with the smooth neutral look of stable dyed films.

13. What is the difference between after-market tinting and factory tinted windows?

Some truck and sport utility vehicles come from the manufacturer with glass that has been darkened using an electrical process called "deep dipping." This "factory tinted" glass is a dark shade but does not protect the interior of your car from the sun’s heat or damaging UV rays as well as after-market window tinting. Therefore, applying even very light shades of window tinting over factory tinted glass greatly improves protection against heat and UV rays.

14. Will the tint damage my rear defroster?
No. We tint right over top of the defroster. The defroster can be used right away without affecting the tint.