Exactly How Long Does It Take To Tint Car Windows!

Tinting your car windows is a must-project if you want enough UV protection, improved privacy, and a classy-looking car. And, if you decided to install the tint sheets yourself, it’s great because you’re going to save around $500.

But how long does it take to tint car windows? Will it be more time-consuming than it’s done by a professional? 

Well, tinting car windows can take from 30 minutes to 4 hours depending on the window size, the number of windows, and whether it’s a DIY project or not. Of course, professionals can do it in a shorter time because of their expertise.

Other factors like weather conditions, the complexity of window curvature, and the season of the year also matter in how long the process takes.

Let’s scroll down to know more information regarding the tinting and how you can speed up the process.

Factors Affecting The Duration of  Tinting Car Windows 

The car window tinting process can take around 30-45 minutes for each window depending on its size. Also, some other factors like your DIY skill, weather conditions of the day, and number of the windows affect the length of time needed to tint the windows.

Let’s get to know the details.

Window Size

The size of the car window plays a big role that can make the tinting duration longer or shorter. A rule of thumb is the larger size window will need more time than a smaller size one.  

  • Larger-size car window duration: 40 minutes to 2 hours.
  • Smaller size car window duration: 30 minutes to 1 hour.

Time of The Year

When you’re tinting the windows also matters how long you need to complete the task. Spring and fall are considered the perfect times to tint windows.

It’s because there will be low humidity and mild temperature at the times which ensures that the tint will adhere to the windows properly. Still, humidity and rain can be an issue in spring (mainly in the Southern parts of the country).

So, what’s wrong with the Summer and Winter seasons?

Tinting in these seasons needs special considerations because high humidity can make it too difficult to install the tint. But the hot air in Summer can make the tint cure faster (which is great).

In winter, the cold weather can make the tint cure excessively faster which can then hamper the tint installation process. In such cases, if you don’t have an interior facility to tint the windows, things will be even harder for you.

Therefore, compared to these situations, Spring and Fall are considered the best times of the year to tint car windows.

Removing Previous Tint/Adhesive

Rather than installing tint for the first time on your car windows, tinting windows that are already tinted will take longer time. Since you’re switching to a different tint range, you need to first remove the old tint.

If the old tint film is scratched or damaged, it may take even longer. And, it’s not only about removing the old tint. You need to clean the glass after removing the old tint and make sure that all adhesive residue is completely removed.

Once you properly clean and dry the glass, only then you can begin applying the new tint.

Shape Complexity of The Windows

You may need to reshape the window tint according to the curvature of the car windows. The process of reshaping the tint is called shrinking. For the process, you need to use a torch or heat gun for heating up the tint.

So, as you can guess, the more carving the glass has, the more time you need to spend on shrinking the tint.

Hand-Cut or Machine-Cut

You’ll find both uncut tint sheets and pre-cut ones. If you install pre-cut tint sheets, you can save time because they’re readily available and easily applicable to your car.

But pre-cut sheets (aka machine cut) do not always accurately fit as the tint sheets that are just cut for your car.

Hand-cut sheets, on the other hand, are easy-to-install and fit your car more precisely according to the window measurements. Although it seems more time-consuming, the overall result will be better than machine-cut sheets.  

Numbers Of The Window

If you are planning to tint, you also have to decide whether to tint 2 windows or all. As the number grows, the duration of tinting the window will raise too. That means the 2 car windows tint work will take more time than a single one.

  • Tinting 1 car window duration: 15 – 20 minutes.
  • Tinting 2 car windows duration: 30 – 40 minutes.
  • Tinting 3 car windows duration: 45 minutes – 1 hour.
  • Tinting 4 car windows duration: 1 – 2 hours.

DIY or Professional Installation

A DIY project will take longer than a professional one. It’s because professionals have the right tools, expertise, and experience, that let them cut the tint precisely and apply the tints quickly.

Experts with skills and efficiency will take not more than 2 hours to get it done professionally (you won’t come back and find slight errors to fix later).

In fact, there are some auto mechanics shops where they can tint windows in 1 hour while others can do it in 3 hours.

In contrast, the DIYers with beginner or intermediate-level skills can tint the car by utilizing 4 hours or more. Also, there will be a chance of damage if you haven’t done it before.

Here are 3 DIY car window tinting dangers:

  • Poor visibility: One common problem of DIY tinting car windows is that you can make the windows too dark.

If the films aren’t installed properly and you make the windows too dark, it will impair your ability to see out of the windows. It can be too dangerous for you mainly when you drive at night.

  • Poor overall tint application: Tints tend to bubble, wrinkle, and peel off prematurely if not applied correctly. These issues can also affect your vision while driving the car and of course, they will run the look of your windows.
  • Using improper tools: If you’re not 100% sure about what you’re using, you can lead to having bigger problems with the tinting. Air bubbles are common issues when improper tools are used to smooth out the tint and fit it to the windows.

The chance of it is less when a professional installs the tints. Even if you want to do it yourself, make sure you use the right tools throughout the process.

How Long Does It Take for The Window Tinting to Cure?

Once the tinting process is done, it will take up to 3 (more or less) days for the tint to settle onto your windows. This duration is called curing time. And, curing time can differ in factors like the type of tint and the climatic condition.

During the curing phase, you must be careful about things that can ruin the tint on your windows. Don’t roll down on the windows and don’t take the car to wash. Simply put, just leave your car for a couple of days so the tint sets on the windows properly.

Here are the factors discussed that affect the curing time of the tints.

Type of The Tint

While purchasing tint sheets for your car windows, you need to choose from ceramic and polyester tinting sheets. Ceramic tint takes longer to cure compared to polyester; it takes around 10 weeks to cure.

However, ceramic tints also last longer because they’re more reflective and stronger than polyester ones. For this, naturally, ceramic tints are costlier than polyester tints.

Climate Condition

The weather and climatic conditions where you live will also affect the curing time of the car window tints. Remember some facts related to the weather:

  • The curing time will be longer in moist, cloudy, and cold weather.
  • Warm and dry weather fastens the curing time.
  • Rainy weather prevents the tint from curing.
  • Humidity in warm weather also makes the curing time longer.

However, you do it any time of the year if you do the project in a climate-controlled garage.

How to Speed Up Window Tint Drying on Your Car

It’s important to decrease moisture and cold to speed up window tint drying and maximize the warmth and dryness of the area. For this, you can try the tips below.

  • Avoid rain and car washes throughout the curing process. Moisture can get trapped in the tint and create more bubbles.
  • To remove extra moisture from the tints, you can use a handled squeegee.
  • Tint your car outdoors in the Summer and indoors in the Winter.
  • Give the tints enough time to cure or the complete installation process will go in vain.
  • Park the car in direct sunlight whenever you can. If the sun isn’t shining, park your car indoors at that time.
  • Bubbles in the tints will evaporate naturally, so don’t press them as you do in the bubble shooter game on your phone.

Another post-window tinting consideration is, regarding the maintenance of the tinted windows, don’t use ammonia-based window cleaner. Use a gentle cleaner and a soft cloth or paper towel to clean the window. The towel or cloth must be dry otherwise it may leave streaks.

How Long Does It Take To Tint Car Windows Infographic

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How Much Does It Cost to Tint Car Windows?

It will need $100 to $650 in total for adding simple (non-reflective) tint on the car window via an expert. Due to high material costs, adding metallic or reflecting tint will take $150 to $850. DIYers will get it done by spending less than $70 to $200 based on the tint type.

2. What percent does tint look best for car window?

The ideal percentage of tint is around 35% or 50% which shines and looks best for car windows. It helps make the window look darker in shade and won’t cause trouble to see inside. Plus, you’ll get a good visual.

3. Is window tint applied to the inside or outside?

Experts insert the tint on the inside of the car window so that it stays firm without getting the sun rays directly. People often get confused as the professional mechanic attaches the window firm on the outside and thinks it’s a tint, which is not true.

Overall Thoughts

Now that you know how long does it take to tint car windows, you can easily set aside some free time to get the job done.

Go grab all the tools to tint the window and pay attention to preparing everything before the process. That way it will take a lot less time.

Hope you like this guide. Best Of Luck On Your Task!

Leave a Comment

Written By

Photo of author

William Baldwin

This Is William Baldwin, The Founder & Managing Editor of this website. Me and my team share automotive tips, tricks, and news

Fact Checked And Mechanically Reviewed By


Talha Atta

Talha Atta, a Mechanical Engineer and experienced technical content writer and editor at Autoglobes.com with a passion for the automotive industry.