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With so many tint brands to choose from and so many installers offering various packages and deals, where do you begin? Are you selecting the right type of tint? How do you know you're getting the best value for your money?

This guide has been developed by our team of automotive customization experts to help answer your tint-related questions and help you make the most informed decision regarding installation.

Trident Motorsport's Tint & PPF Team is lead by two certified master installers, each with years of experience in a wide range of automotive films and applications. From sports, luxury & exotic cars to Texas-sized trucks, our team is well equipped to handle your tint needs.

Have questions? Need advice? Click Request-A-Quote to have one of our tint & PPF experts contact you to help guide you through this process.

Contents of this Guide

Click a topic from the list below to skip ahead to a particular section.


UVA/UVB Protection
Tinted windows can block a significant amount of harmful UV rays, protecting both the vehicle's interior surfaces and its occupants from sun damage. This helps prevent fading and cracking of upholstery, dashboard, and other interior components, as well as reducing the risk of skin damage and skin cancer.

Comfort & Climate Control
Window tint helps to block and reduce the amount of heat that enters the vehicle, keeping the interior cooler and more comfortable, especially in hot weather. This can help reduce the need for excessive air conditioning usage, improving fuel efficiency.

Privacy & Security
Tinted windows provide increased privacy for the vehicle's occupants and belongings, reducing the visibility into the cabin. This can help deter potential thieves by concealing valuables left inside the car.

Reduced Glare
Window tint reduces glare from the sun and headlights, improving visibility and overall driving comfort, especially during sunrise, sunset, or nighttime driving. This can enhance safety by reducing eye strain and distractions caused by glare.

Window tint can enhance the visual appeal of a vehicle by giving it a sleek and sophisticated look. It can also complement the exterior color of the vehicle and provide a more uniform appearance.


Below are 6 common types of window tint. This list is by no means exhaustive but encompasses the types of film you are most likely to encounter, along with the benefits and drawbacks of each.

Ceramic Tint

Our Preferred Choice

Ceramic tint is a premium option featuring ceramic particles that are non-conductive and do not disrupt electronic devices. It offers excellent heat rejection, UV protection, and clarity, making it a top choice for superior performance and aesthetics.

Dyed Tint

Dyed tint is a popular option that uses a layer of dye to absorb heat and reduce glare. It is generally the most affordable type of tint but may not be as effective at blocking heat as other types.


Metalized tint contains small metallic particles that reflect heat and UV rays. This type of tint is known for its durability and can provide good heat rejection and privacy, but it may interfere with electronic signals like GPS or cell phone reception.

Hybrid Tint

Hybrid tint combines multiple technologies, such as dyed and metalized layers, to offer a balance of heat rejection, UV protection, and signal-friendly properties. It provides a good compromise between performance and cost.

Hybrid tint combines multiple technologies, such as dyed and metalized layers, to offer a balance of heat rejection, UV protection, and signal-friendly properties. It provides a good compromise between performance and cost.

Carbon Tint

Carbon tint includes carbon particles for heat rejection and UV protection. It provides a sleek appearance, high clarity, and is less likely to interfere with electronic signals compared to metalized tint.

Crystalline Tint

Crystalline tint, a product offered by 3M, is a high-end, clear film that provides superior heat rejection and UV protection without significantly darkening the windows. It is designed to maintain the original appearance of the glass while enhancing comfort and reducing glare.

Shades of tint

Window tint shade is often measured by external visual light transmission (VLT), which is the percentage of light that can pass through the film from outside of the vehicle to inside. The lower the percentage, the darker the tint and the less light that can pass through. Generally, the lower the VLT, the greater the protection from UV rays, heat and glare.

For example, a 5% shade means that only 5% of visible light can pass through the tint film, making it very dark and providing a high level of privacy and sun protection. On the other hand, a 50% shade allows 50% of visible light to pass through, offering a lighter tint that still provides some privacy and heat reduction.

Note: Don't confuse VLT with visual light reflection (VLR). VLR indicates the amount of light that is reflected away from the surface (ie. bounces off the tinted window).

As discussed in more detail below, different jurisdictions have regulations regarding the allowable darkness of window tint for vehicles, so it's important to check the specific laws in your area to ensure compliance. Additionally, the choice of window tint shade may affect visibility, heat reduction, UV protection, and overall aesthetics of the vehicle.

Top Brands

Some of the top brands in the automotive window tint market are listed below, all of which are known for their quality, durability, and innovation. Ultimately, any of these brands is an outstanding choice and the average consumer is unlikely to notice any significant difference among the quality of the films. In the absence of customer preference or unique needs, we generally recommend STEK or 3M films.


STEK quickly gained traction in the industry as a result of its cutting-edge product development. STek offers a range of tint options with advanced technologies such as nano-hybrid ceramic materials for superior heat rejection, UV protection, and optical clarity. STek tints are known for their durability, color stability, and sleek appearance, making them a popular choice among car enthusiasts and professionals looking for top-tier window tint solutions.


3M is a well-known brand that offers high-quality automotive window tint films known for their durability, heat rejection properties, and UV protection. They provide a range of tint shades to suit different preferences and are often favored for their long-lasting performance.


Llumar is another popular brand known for its premium automotive window tint films. Llumar tints are recognized for their clarity, color stability, and ability to block heat and UV rays effectively. They offer various shades and styles to cater to different needs and preferences.


SunTek is a reputable brand that produces advanced automotive window tint films with excellent heat rejection capabilities and high optical clarity. SunTek tints are known for their scratch-resistant coatings and color stability, providing both style and protection for vehicles.

Tint Prices

Tinting all windows of a vehicle, including the windshield and rear window, can cost anywhere from $500 to $900 or more, depending on the size of the vehicle, the type of tint film used, and the regional market. These prices are rough estimates and can vary significantly, so it's best to get quotes from local tinting shops for more accurate pricing.

Just remember, make sure you're comparing apples-to-apples. When comparing quotes, make sure each quote indicates the brand and type of film as well as the exact areas to be tinted to help determine the total value each tint shop is offering. Oh, and don't forget to compare the warranties offered by both the film manufacturer as well as the installer! Keep reading for warranty considerations.

NOTE: Prices below are estimated national averages, not Trident Motorsports' prices. Request A Quote for our pricing.


Driver/Passenger Windows

SUV Rear Quarter Windows

Back Window

Full Car (4 Doors, 2 Quarters, Back)

Visor (Windshield Above AS1)


Estimated Cost








With so many brands and variations of tint films, you should always review the manufacturer's warranty for specific terms, exclusions and length of coverage. Many automotive window tint manufacturers offer limited-lifetime warranties against fading, delamination, bubbling and cracking. Anything less may be a potential warning sign of a lesser-quality product.

Aside from the manufacturer's warranty, you should also pay close attention to the installer's workmanship warranty. Of course your installer should always offer to repair any defect resulting from an error on their behalf (at least for a specified period of time). However, you should also pay attention to any clauses pertaining to the repair/replacement of tint resulting from an issue with the film itself. In other words, if your film chips and replacement film is covered by the manufacturer's warranty, will the original installer charge you labor to conduct the replacement? Is this type of coverage offered for free or for an additional fee? If so, for how long is the coverage?

Comparing warranties should help you quickly narrow down the list of both the brands/types of tint and the installers.


The laws and regulations pertaining to automotive window tinting vary significantly from state-to-state. See below for highlights of tint regulations for Texas-registered vehicles based upon information provided by Texas Department for Public Safety as of the original time of publishing of this guide.

For an overview of tint laws for your local area, you may consider checking out (not affiliated or vetted by this site).

NOTE: Nothing in this guide should be perceived as legal advice. Consult your state/local authorities for the most accurate and up-to-date tint regulations.

Overview of Texas Tint Laws
(Sedans, SUV's & Vans)

Front Side Windows
Tint with at least a 25% Visual Light Transmission (VLT) and luminous reflectance of 25% or less.

Back Side Windows
No minimum VLT (if vehicle possess side mirrors with at least 200 feet of view to rear)

25% VLT tint permitted above the manufacturer’s AS-1 line (or top 5 inches), with less than 25% reflection.

Rear Window
No minimum VLT (if vehicle possess side mirrors with at least 200 feet of view to rear)

Medical Exceptions (restrictions apply - see TxDOT for details)
Under prescription of a medical doctor, may tint side windows below 25% VLT. On windshield, may apply untinted film below AS1 line that reduces light transmission by less than 5%.

Tips & F.A.Q.

The tips below are a general guide only. Your tint may require special care. Always follow your installer and manufacturer's instructions for care.

How long does window tinting last?
The lifespan of window tinting depends on factors such as the quality of the tint film, the installation process, and environmental conditions. Typically, high-quality tint can last anywhere from ten years to the life of the vehicle.

What is the difference between dyed, metallic, and ceramic tint?
Dyed tint uses layers of dye to absorb heat and light, metallic tint contains metallic particles to reflect heat and light, and ceramic tint utilizes ceramic particles for heat and UV rejection without interfering with electronic signals.

Will window tinting affect my visibility at night?
Properly installed window tinting should not significantly affect visibility at night. However, excessively dark tint or poor installation can impair visibility, particularly in low-light conditions.

Can window tinting be removed?
Yes, window tinting can be removed, but it can be a time-consuming process. Professional tint removal services use special tools and techniques to safely remove the tint without damaging the glass.

Does window tinting interfere with electronic devices like GPS or cell phones?
Metallic tint can potentially interfere with electronic signals, but modern ceramic tint is designed to be signal-friendly and should not cause any issues with GPS, cell phones, or other electronic devices.

How should I care for my tinted windows?
To maintain tinted windows, avoid using abrasive cleaners or sharp objects that could scratch the film. Clean the windows with a mild, non-ammonia-based cleaner and a soft cloth or sponge.

Can I roll down my windows immediately after tinting?
It's best to wait 3-4 days before rolling down the windows after tinting to allow the film to fully cure and adhere to the glass. Your installer will provide specific instructions for post-installation care.


There is great variation among tint materials. Before making a final purchase decision, understand the specifications, care instructions, and warranty for your brand and type of tint.

This guide is intended for general informational purposes only.  Always consult your tint manufacturer's literature as well as any documentation provided by your installer.

Live in Austin, Round Rock, Georgetown, Cedar Park, Leander, Lago Vista, Marble Falls or surrounding areas? We're happy to answer any questions and provide a quote. Request-A-Quote below to have one of our tint experts contact you.


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