Tinting widows is not as hard as some people would have you belive. Otherwise, why would they try charge you $180.00 to tint the windows on you Cherokee?

I have done this before on two other cars I owned, and had better luck. I think the main reason this job did not come out as well was that I had no help. That is one reason I have no pictures of the job on this page. I am thinking about re-doing the side windows in the spring. If I do this I will have help and a camera to post some pictures.

I used ®Gila® brand window tint film that I got at ®Trak Auto®. Look for the SCRATCH RESISTANT type of film. It make a big difference. One one of the other cars I have done I had to re do the whole thing because the film scratched while I was applying it. Some of the film is labeled as scratch resistant, some of the stuff labeled as ®Limo Black® also says scratch resistant in much smaller type on it. The Limo Black scratch resistant is what I used on my XJ. It took two rolls to do the hatch window, rear quater windows, and the windows on the rear doors. This cost me $30.00. So you seeł you could do this a couple of time to get it perfect and still save money over having it done.
The film I used say it let through 5% of the light. This is OK on the sides, but I would go a little lighter, like maybe 20% for the rear hatch because backing up at twilight is a pain.

You will also need, Mild Soap solution in a spray bottle (one teaspoon of dish soap for a one quart bottle), razor Blade Scraper (that is a single edged razor blade in a holder for scraping paint and the like off of glass), a razor knife for cutting the film, Scissors may also be handy, a squegee, clean rags (I use old diapers),and scotch tape.

Read the directions that come rolled up in your film, they may vary slightly from mine. The MOST important thing is to start with clean windows. Dirt stuck on the window will leave a mark, and dirt near the edges will migrate to under the film. No matter how clean I thought I had the windows when I started, some of the dirt at the edges migrated up into the film. It is usually less than 1/2 an inch so it is not real noticable. But if you can get that rubber around the window spotless it would help with this.
Take a razor scraper and start by spraying the windows with the mild soap solution and scrape the whole window. Every square inch. Then clean the soap off the window. Now clean the window again. Also spray the rubber around the window with the mild soap, a lot of it. Get as much of that dirt off as possible, a green scrubbie also helps in this phase.

Now that your window is clean You need to measure and cut you film to the window size. If you get it real close to correct before you go further, you can keep from touching the rubber with the film and thus, keep the dirt from being cought under you tint film. You need to test seperate you film so you know which is the tinted part and which is the clear backing. You do this by putting a piece of scotch tape on each side of the film at a corner and pulling the apart, this pulls the backing off of the tint so you can see which is which. After you get the film cut to the right size and shape you are ready to go to the next step.

You now have your piece ready to go, with tape on both side at the corner you feel like starting with to seperate the film. This is where you need another set of hands. You can do it alone but it is MUCH easier with two.
Get as comfy as you can near the window you are going to do, lay your film where you can pick it up easily, and have your spray bottle and squegee handy. Spray the window with a lot of the mild soap solution, this is to ® float® the film on while you finalize its position and then squegee it into place. With the window wet, have your help hold the film parallel to the window. Pull the backing off of your first corner and place that corner on the window. Now as you hold the film in place, have your helper slowly peel the backing off as you both keep the sheet from wrinkling and sliding too far on the window. This last step is why I need to re do my quarter windows, as I was doing them by myself, I wrinkled the film as I moved around the seat belts. When you have it all on the window, position it where it is supposed to be.

With your film placed on the window, spray the film with the soap solution. This helps the squegee slide over the film as you flatten it out. I start in the middle and work towards the edges. As you squeeze the water from under the film be carefull not to let it move. You also need to mop up the soap solution as it comes out. You may need to re trim some of the edges as you work the water out from under the film. If your razor knife is sharp this will not be to difficult. As you squegee the water out from under and off of the film, keep drying as you go. you need to work out any water bubbles from under the film. This is how the film sticks to the glass. In the past I had found the if you left a water bubble of two under the film, it would evaporate away and the film would go down on the glass as the water left. On my XJ it did not work this way. every place I left a little water bubble turned into an air pocket in my finished film.

The directions used to say to seal the edges of the film with clear finger nail polish after it dries fully, about three days. The direction that came with my film this time did not say this but I did it anyway. They also advise you not to roll down windows you tinted for three days. This is also so the film can dry completely. When you have finished with the squegee there is still a very small amount of water trapped under the film that must evaporate. Because of this tinting you windows is not a winter project if you live where it freezes.

If you are carful you will be surprized at how good of a job you can do yourself.

Now for some details I noticed when I did my Cherokee.

The rear window defogger has very wide strips on the verticle edges. The film will not mold around these so you have to cut your film to fit inside the edges. I am going to try painting the outside edges (the part between the defogger strip and the edge of the window) with black nail polish and model paint. I will post which works best. This gap is not very noticable from outside, but when it is really bright you can sure see it from inside.
The passenger door windows came out the best because I was able to take them out of the car and do them on the kitchen table. My Haynes book describes how to do this. The only thing I need to add to that is that the removeable track was also pop rivited to the door. I just drilled out the rivet, and since I have a rivit gun, put one back in when it went back together. This also shows how dark this tint really is.

You can also see that the tint does add a small level of security as people can not see into your car.

I am very tempted to pull the rear quater windows all the way out to do them as well. But thy don't leak now and I don't want to mess that up. If you look at my reflection in the window, you can see the wrinkle that is in the film
Here is the other quarter window. It has a bigger wrinkle in it :-(.
If you look very closly at this picture, you can see some verticle lines (also some bubbles) near the bottom of the window. I made cuts in the film to remove some verticle bubbles I could not get rid of. I think these showed up because the window is slightly curved. I also sealed the slits with fingernail polish to keep the edges from lifting.

I can not see these bubbles and wrinkles from the inside of the car, except for the vertical slits I made, if I look for them I can see them. They only affect how the car looks from the outside.

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