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Old 01-30-2012, 10:51 AM   #1
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Please tell me about window tinting

I'd like to get the rear windows and rear windshield tinted on my mazda5, but I'm a little unsure of which of the options are actually worth it, and how dark I need to keep the sun out of my DCs' eyes. I'll have one ff DS in the 3rd row and 2 rf'ing in the 2nd row. I'm in Maryland which forbids "metallic or mirrored appearance" and needs at least 35% light entering. http://www.tintcenter.com/laws/MD/

TIA for any wisdom!
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Old 01-30-2012, 11:04 AM   #2
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Here the laws only apply to the front windows; you're welcome to go as dark as you want on the back (I've had illegally tinted cars for ten years and have never had a problem). IIRC, I got the next step up from limo on the back (5%?) and it cuts out a good chunk of light back there and I don't think I'll ever go lighter. I think my front windows are 20% - the percentage value is the amount of light that can pass through.

As for makes/models of tint, there's a ton but you'll find that each shop kind of has a single brand unless they're willing to special order. I'm pretty sure there's film that cuts UV rays if you're after that as well.
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Old 01-30-2012, 06:37 PM   #3
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Re: Please tell me about window tinting

Thanks! So you generally do the rear windshield as dark as the side windows? Is it much of an adjustment to driving with such dark tint?
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Old 01-30-2012, 08:13 PM   #4
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Re: Please tell me about window tinting

Yes, I do all the rear windows the same and then the front windows a shade lighter so as to not provoke issues. It's not an adjustment to me because I'm used to it, but you will find it slightly harder to see out at night.

I actually found it more distressing to have UNtinted windows for the month after I bought my current car. I felt like everyone was looking at me!
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Old 01-30-2012, 11:55 PM   #5
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Re: Please tell me about window tinting

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Originally Posted by shellebelle View Post
Yes, I do all the rear windows the same and then the front windows a shade lighter so as to not provoke issues. It's not an adjustment to me because I'm used to it, but you will find it slightly harder to see out at night.

I actually found it more distressing to have UNtinted windows for the month after I bought my current car. I felt like everyone was looking at me!
I'll NEVER EVER go back to having untinted windows, though I do live in a desert and it gets royally hot here even with them. In our first van, we had limo tinting in the back windows and it was awesome, but hard to see out of at night. In my second van, we had a step lighter than limo and it was great. In my SUV now, the dealer said they put the darkest on the back that was legal, but it's way lighter than what we had before and I feel like everyone can see in easily.

You'll want all your back windows matching, but it looks just fine to do the front windows lighter.
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Old 01-31-2012, 12:06 AM   #6
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Re: Please tell me about window tinting

Interesting thread. I'm in MD too, and DH wants the windows tinted on his CX7. It looks like on a sedan, all the windows have the 35% requirement, and the front window can only have the top 5in of it tinted at all. But on SUVs and vans, the front seat windows have the 35% requirement, but all rear windows are whatever you want.
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Old 01-31-2012, 10:43 AM   #7
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Re: Please tell me about window tinting

Thanks again, everyone.

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Originally Posted by NannyMom View Post
Interesting thread. I'm in MD too, and DH wants the windows tinted on his CX7. It looks like on a sedan, all the windows have the 35% requirement, and the front window can only have the top 5in of it tinted at all. But on SUVs and vans, the front seat windows have the 35% requirement, but all rear windows are whatever you want.
Yeah, that's kind of weird. And I wonder if the mazda5 is considered a van or a sedan/hatchback? Though I have a regular license plate number (rather then the non-divided M starting ones), so I'm guessing it's a sedan for this purpose.

Also, is this the kind of thing that's best to go to a dealer, or should I look for a well reviewed specialty tint shop?
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Old 01-31-2012, 10:52 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by legaleagle
Thanks again, everyone.

Yeah, that's kind of weird. And I wonder if the mazda5 is considered a van or a sedan/hatchback? Though I have a regular license plate number (rather then the non-divided M starting ones), so I'm guessing it's a sedan for this purpose.

Also, is this the kind of thing that's best to go to a dealer, or should I look for a well reviewed specialty tint shop?
We don't have the normal m tag on our cx7 either and that is deffinetly an suv
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Old 01-31-2012, 02:13 PM   #9
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Re: Please tell me about window tinting

We had our car tinted at a tint shop and it looked great. The only issue is that I think they take the windows out to do it and we started having trouble with our windows getting stuck down after. DH ended up having to replace a mechanism in the doors to make them work again, and the tint scratched in the process. I too would never go back to untinted windows though. I like the privacy and shade tint provides.

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Old 01-31-2012, 03:45 PM   #10
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Neither of the shops I've been to have removed my windows
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Old 02-01-2012, 06:02 PM   #11
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Re: Please tell me about window tinting

To really keep sun out of your eyes, you need a physical shade. You can just buy one that sticks on with suction cups for the back.

I always tint my cars. I hate the heat. But that's really what tint is for. To block out heat and to give you some more privacy. Tint doesn't block out that much glare.

You have to find your sweet spot in terms of darkness. My sweet spot is about 20% (so I use the number reverse of what the law says; like if MD law says it needs to allow 35% light, then I'd refer that as 65% tint). Any darker than 20% and I think it gets too hard to see in dark or overcast lighting. Above that, and it doesn't provide as much privacy as I'd like.

If they need to remove windows, they're a bad installer. In some situations, they may remove interior body panelling but that tends to be quite rare as well. Most places, particularly ones that use computer cut film, just need to peel back the weather sealing at most. Generally, since it's on the inside of the car, they don't need to do that. Windows tend to have a black border so the tint just goes over that. For front side windows that do roll down, there's that flexible stuff that rubs along the windows and they generally just pull that back and the extra tint slips down in there.

Removing a window is just a really unnecessary step.

Dealers just outsource window tinting. No need to pay their middleman mark up.

Not all tint is the same. For example, since I'm kinda paranoid about heat, I pay about $600+ to tint 5 windows on my car. It's very special tint that very few places stock or install. Normal "good" tint runs about $200-250, altho I have seen not so great tint places charge that much for their crappy installation and their crap tint. The $100 for a car jobs use low end tint (may scratch, change color, etc) and tend to be cut to window shape free hand with a razor blade so it looks a little messy or might not cover all of the window (you see tiny spots of uncovered areas on the edges).

Kinda up to you to determine how much you wanna pay and for what quality of tint you want.
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Old 02-01-2012, 11:03 PM   #12
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Re: Please tell me about window tinting

I have 20% on my car (including the front windows) and I won't ever drive another car without tint either! When others drive my car at night they notice that it's difficult to make turns because it's hard to see in the dark. If you buy a van or an SUV from a dealership the back windows are typically 20%. Thats usually enough shade for moms with children. I wouldn't go too much darker for visibility issues.
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