Window Tinting: How does it work?

A blue car parked in a parking lot.

What is window tinting?

Window tint is a thin layer polyethylene terephthalate (PET) film that comes in shades of grey that is applied to windows. This is to various benefits such as providing UV protection, privacy and shade from the sunlight. It is increasingly popular in cars and houses alike.

Ferrari F8 with black roof wrapped, windows are tinted in a dark smoke
Ferrari F8 with black roof wrapped, windows are tinted in a dark smoke

There are two methods of window tinting: factory-dipped glass and film.

Factory-dipped glass is when the glass comes from the factory pre-tinted. This is expensive, doesn’t always work and car dealers don’t always offer it as an option. 

We use the film method at Auto Wrap Manchester. Our film offers 99% UV protection and has three layers. One is a clear, protective layer, the second is the tint with adhesive, and the third is the backing.

What is Window Tint Film

Window film (tint) is a thin laminate film that is usually made from polyethylene terephthalate (PET). They are a thermoplastic polymer resin of the polyester family and are categorised by construction components (dyed, pigmented, metallized, ceramic or nano).

How does window tinting film work?

Window tint film allows certain types of light rays through while reflecting or absorbing others due to its polyester-based material. The different shades of the film depend on the amount of metal and dyes within the film. This then allows for different amounts of visible light that can be blocked but also the percentage of visible light that can be allowed through.

The tint film can be installed on the interior or exterior of glass surfaces due to its clarity, tensile strength, dimensional stability, and ability to accept a variety of surface-applied or embedded treatments.

How does window tinting work?

Here we have put together our top ten reasons for having your vehicle window tinted. With tinting film, we give a 10-year warranty so we want you to know your investment is going to last and why having them done is a long-term benefit for you and your vehicle.

How do we tint windows?

We apply tint using a water-based solution, heat guns, scrapers, and squeegees. Our tinters are highly trained, and can generally complete a full car tint in under a day. 

Ferrari California window tint installation

We ask that all customers when dropping their cars off for window tinting please remove any child seats. That way our window tinting technicians can fully access all areas of the windows easily. Those who are pet owners need to make sure that there are no dog/cat hairs in the vehicle which might contaminate the window tint films when they are being installed. Please ensure that there is no sand or mud inside the vehicle which could contaminate the installation process and warranty of the window tinting film.

Ferrari California Window Tinting Installation

It is advised that customers must make sure that the exterior of the vehicle is as clean as possible such as making such there are no bird droppings on the windows or bodywork which might cross-contaminate the window film installation. This also helps speed up the window tinting installation as we may have to charge extra if the vehicle needs valeting and car washing before the installation.

Ferrari California Window Tinting Installation

When the vehicle is first brought into the unit we clean the window to be free of dirt or impurities. If there is anything on the window, the tint might not stick or contaminants might appear, these contaminants can be dog hairs or specks of dust from dirt stuck on the windows so this is a vital step. Ideally, customers need to arrive with generally clean windows. This means our team can focus on prepping and priming the glass, rather than removing layers of dirt from the windows.


We fit the film on the inside of the glass, but first, we use scratch-resistant blades to cut it to size on the outside of the glass and shrink it to size with heat guns.

When we’ve completed the tint, the window will look hazy at first and bubbles will begin to gather under the surface. This is absolutely normal, as it comes from the wet/slip solution that we use to apply the tint to the glass. The water under the tint will ‘clot’ together first, before slowly evaporating. This process takes 7-10 days. 

What should I do to care for my tinted windows?

Audi RS6 with window tints and hunter green vinyl wrap
Rear and front window tint on an audio rs6

Well, first of all: don’t open them! This isn’t a permanent thing, but for 7-10 days after tint application, it is still setting. There will be bubbles and a little adjustment needed. After 10 days, all of that will go away and the tint will look like a normal window, just darker. 

Then, you can open and wash them as normal!

Audi RS6 with window tints
Rear half tint on a Tesla Model 3

As the tint is on the inside of the windows, there is no concern with using jet washes or automatic car washes on the exterior of the car – you can even go straight from your tint to the car wash.

It’s best not to clean the inside of your windows for 1-2 after we apply a window tint to ensure that it doesn’t move or warp. Because of our application method, it may still be wet and you will ruin the tint.

You can use standard glass cleaner on the inside of the windows on top of the tint.

Otherwise, there’s no real extra care needed that differs from normal windows. Keep them clean and keep an eye out for chips!

Audi RS6 with window tints

What are my window tinting options?

We have four shades of standard tint. They are named by their percentage — the lower the number, the darker the tint. The number represents what percentage of light it allows through.

Our shades are:

  • 50%
  • 35%
  • 18%
  • 5%

For most cars, we would recommend 18%. It is the most popular shade for tint for a good reason! It’s not so dark that you can’t see when you’re inside the vehicle, but it offers a good level of privacy while still appearing as a window.

5% — also known as limo black — is considerably darker and stands out on the window. However, if you want a blacked-out look for your vehicle, or you want more privacy then it’s perfect. It also works very well for minimising light to let small children sleep!

Both 50% and 35% are lighter, subtler and more based on personal preference. This offers a subtle amount of shade and privacy, while not making a huge difference to the outward appearance of a car or van.

Recently, Auto Wrap Manchester have started to offer a new product: Chameleon Tint.

Audi RS6 with window tints and hunter green vinyl wrap
Audi RS6 with window tints and hunter green vinyl wrap

This, as the name suggests, is a colour-changing tint that offers a high level of privacy and UV protection, without darkening the inside of the car. 

A chameleon tint is becoming increasingly popular for that reason. The chameleon tint is also legal to have on the front windscreen in most vehicles as it lets in more than 75% of the light.

If you have any more questions about window or light tinting, you can read our vehicle tinting page. If you have any more questions, feel free to contact our customer service team.

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