How Long Does Car Window Film Last?

Tinted windows have been an in-demand visual feature for cars for decades now, and it is easy to understand why. They can reduce glare, increase your privacy, and make it easier to regulate the temperature inside your vehicle at once.

If you invest in window film, though, it does make sense to ask how long it will last so you know whether you will need to plan on replacing it.

Materials Matter

The first thing to understand is that there is not one single life expectancy for window tint. While most window films are made of some kind of plastic or vinyl and last about five years, there are others that last significantly longer.

  • Ceramic tinting
  • Metal-based window treatments
  • Polyester window overlays

Each of these types of tinting costs significantly more than a simple 24in x 78in black static cling window tint, however. In many cases, investing in a replacement five years from now will still lead to lower out the door costs than one of the premium methods that might last as long as the vehicle. 

It is also true that the quality of your installation affects the life of the tint. Bubbles can form from heat issues or incomplete static seals against the window, and sizing the tint to the window properly makes a difference there as well.

Window Tint Film Installation Tips

The first thing to remember when working with any static cling material, from tint panels to decals, and even including static-cling packaging, is that moisture is your enemy. Nothing will slow you down or frustrate you more than a wet surface when you want a static cling seal.

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Make sure your work area is clean and dry, because debris also messes with the fit. Ideally, you want to be able to place the tint without any dust, water, or other contamination.

Next, you need to prepare the windows. Clean off any stickers, as well as any adhesive residue left from old ones. That includes oil change reminders, decals with information about power windows, and anything else. It’s also a good idea to clean them with a glass cleaner, but remember to thoroughly dry them again after.

As you apply the adhesive side of the film to the window, you will need to adjust it up and down. Work with the car on to make this easier. Take your time, and remember that the key to a sharp look that lasts is a bubble-free installation, not a fast one.

Find More Window Accessories and Repair Tools

You can find great choices for window tint kits from the same trusted automotive suppliers you rely on for tools and supplies when you have a repair to do. That means you can stock up on some emergency supplies like an Alpena temporary window repair kit to make sure your car’s emergency bag has everything you could possibly need in case of a problem on the road.

Emergency window repair keeps the wind out of your hair if a window is broken from an accident or theft attempt, so if you do not have a kit on hand, it’s a good idea to order one today.