Does Spray Window Tint Work? (Pros and Cons)

Spray window tint is an aerosol spray that is used to tint car windows, headlights, and taillights. It’s sold as an alternative to the conventional adhesive plastic film you see on most modern vehicles.

One of the many questions that people ask is whether spray window tint works. The short answer is yes. It works to provide a protective and dark layer over your windows, headlights, and taillights. The most important thing to know about it is that it must be sprayed correctly.

In most cases, however, a high-quality window film is preferred to a spray-on tint. This is because the latter comes with several disadvantages and can easily go wrong when used at home. In this article, we’ll dive deeper into what option works best for you.

Pros and Cons of Window Tint Spray

Most window tint sprays are available in the form of an aerosol can. They are quicker to apply on windows and tend to work better on curved glass. All you need to do is spray a consistent and even coat over your windows, headlights, or taillights to achieve a satisfactory finish.

I recommend the VHT Nite-Shades Lens Cover Tint as the best window spray tint for your car. According to real-life tests, it does an incredible job of providing a near-perfect finish on the window. It also works on tail lights to create a custom styling for off-road users. The enamel acrylic paint is able to provide the privacy you need for your car and keep the interior cool on a hot sunny day. Continue reading to learn how to use it.

Pros

Below are some of the reasons why people choose spray-on window tints over adhesive films.

  • Convenient: A spray-on tint is very convenient compared to a window film kit. It’s quick to apply and does not require any special skills.
  • Inexpensive: Sprays have a lower upfront cost and are often cheaper than window films.
  • No adhesive failure: They are not prone to the peels and bubbles that occur in window films due to adhesive failure.
  • Permanent: Once applied, the spray does not come off easily. It keeps the windows, headlights, or taillights tinted for a very long time.
  • Versatile: You can apply spray window tint on different types of curved surfaces easily and quickly without having to cut out pieces.
  • No chipping: You’re guaranteed that it will not chip off in future.

Cons

What makes it a bad idea sometimes to use these types of tints over a plastic window film is that it’s not always easy to achieve an even and satisfactory finish. Below are other disadvantages that come up when considering a spray tint.

  • Permanent: Once applied to a window or plastic lens, spray tint cannot be removed satisfactorily. If successful, the removal process can cause damage to very thin lenses.
  • Less protection: It does not protect the interior of the car against heat or UV radiation the same way an adhesive window film does.
  • Less options: Unlike adhesive films, it’s difficult to find spray-on tints in different colors such as blue, gold, green, or grey.
  • Difficult to repair: It’s not easy to repair a coating that gets scratched or damaged due to its permanent nature.
  • Legal challenges: There’s the risk of spraying your windows too dark. This can get you in trouble with the authorities depending on how much light the tint is supposed to allow inside your car.
  • Overspray: When using your spray, overspray can land on unintended parts such as your door panels and upholstery. This can be hard to remove.
  • Low-quality finish: Most tint solutions tend to produce a low-quality finish that isn’t appealing to the eye. There’s a high chance that the windows, headlights, and taillights will end up looking unprofessional.
  • Cellular network interference: Some products have metallic substances in them that interfere with GPS receivers and cellular devices. Drivers have complained getting bad stereo reception after using a window tint spray.

How do you apply spray tint?

What you’ll need:

  • Window cleaner/soap and water
  • Newspapers
  • Masking tape
  • Spray tint

Steps to follow when using window tint spray on your car.

1.    Clean the window

Clean the glass to remove all the grease, dirt, and debris. Use a dedicated glass cleaner such as Chemical Guys Streak Free or a simple mixture of dishwashing soap and water.  

2.    Cover surrounding parts

Use the newspaper and masking tape to cover the parts surrounding the window. This protects them from getting stained as you work on the glass. Cover the upholstery, the trim panels, dashboard, and electrical accessories with a lot of newspaper.

3.    Apply spray tint

Lower your window just slightly to expose the top edge. Shake the spray tint can thoroughly to mix it consistently. Hold it about 6 inches (15 cm) away and spray the tint over the edge and the other areas of the glass.

Spray it evenly to achieve a consistent finish. Don’t spray too much as the more you put on the window, the darker it gets. Once it dries, raise the window up and spray the bottom edge.

Ensure that there’s enough newspaper and masking tape on the door panel to prevent the tint from dripping or over spraying. Apply three coats of spray tint – two light coats followed by a thick final coat.

4.    Admire your work

Remove all the tape and newspaper once the tint is dry. Confirm that all the areas are covered with tint. If the tint is not enough, add more until you achieve the desired level of protection. Remember to stay within the tint limits put in place by the law.

Window Tint Spray Vs Film

Window tint spray is the cheaper option when compared to a window tint film. Unfortunately, it leaves many people wishing they had spent money on the latter due to the low-quality finish it achieves.

It’s not uncommon for customers to get results that are less than desirable. Furthermore, it makes a car look really cheap. Removing it is also a nightmare for car owners, especially when sprayed on headlights and taillights. It can involve hours and hours of a lot of scrubbing.

For this reason, most automotive shops and detailers advise going for a high-quality window film instead of a spray window tint. Below are some of the reasons why a window film is better than a spray-on.

Pros of installing a window tint film

  • More options: There are a variety of films available on the market. They span from cheaper regular dye tints to more expensive ceramic tints. Each provides a different level of UV and heat protection.
  • Easy to replace: It’s very easy to replace a plastic tint film. All you need to do is heat up the adhesive to help peel it off from your windows. Check out this detailed guide on how to remove tint from your car windows using 4 easy solutions.
  • Higher quality finish: High quality tint films provide a professional look that you won’t get from window tint sprays. The car looks decent and presentable.
  • Better protection: Films also provide better protection against UV and heat. They work better to keep the interior cool and protect your upholstery from deterioration.

Cons of window tint film

  • Not easy to install: It takes a lot longer to install a tint film on a car window. The process typically involves cleaning the inside part of the window, removing old tint if there’s any that came from the factory, measuring and cutting new film, and sticking it on the glass with precision. In some cars, you may need to remove the door panel to gain access to the window. This makes the process even longer.
  • Susceptible to defects: Over time, the adhesive that allows the film to stick to the glass loses its stickiness. This causes the tint to develop bubbles, peel, and chip. It happens often in very hot environments.
  • Fades over time: Some dark tints discolor over time and turn into a funky color. This reduces their effectiveness and ruins the aesthetic appeal of the car.
  • Not permanent: Most window tint films last a really long time. However, very few will last the lifetime of the car. They have to be replaced at some point.

It’s good to note that most of these problems are only common where an individual did a subpar job in the installation process. High-quality window films that are installed professionally and correctly rarely ever develop any defects.

For this reason, it’s best to reach out to a professional when getting your window films done. The process is rather complex but when done right, the film lasts relatively long and can be replaced quickly in the future.

Final Thoughts

Admittedly, there are several reasons why many people would consider a spray window tint over the film. The spray tint works relatively well to protect the car from UV radiation as well as provide the privacy you need. It is quick and convenient and a great solution for someone working on a budget.

However, it’s not aesthetically pleasing to the eye and requires a lot of work to remove. Many people end up regretting using it due to the terrible finish it provides. Spray-on window tint is even more dangerous when used wrongly on headlights and taillights as it poses a safety risk.

For better results, opt for a high-quality window tint film that will last long. If you’re on a budget, there are transparent vinyls available on the market that help to give headlights and taillights that sporty look. They safely colorize your lights without compromising their functionality.

FAQs

How long does spray tint take to dry?

Spray tint takes about 20 minutes to dry. It’s best to let it sit for about an hour before handling it or applying another coat. Wipe off the excess tint and once done, leave the final coat to cure for about 24 hours.

How long does spray tint last?

Spray tint will last about a year before it starts to fade. You’ll need to do a light sand and prep before respraying it. The heat and UV from the sun is what causes damage and color fading. Spray a clear coat on top of the tint for extra protection.

Can you see through spray tint?

Yes, you can see through spray tint. This is especially when it’s applied evenly. When not done correctly, you may be able to see some areas on your window that are darker than others. You’ll also notice that the window is sprayed. It’s best to go for a window film for good results.

Are you allowed to tint headlights?

Tinting your headlights is allowed in most states for show vehicles or custom cars. As the owner of a daily driver, you must ensure that the vehicle is registered as such. Check the laws on the limits placed on tinting. Your car may not pass a car inspection exercise in some states. For example, it is illegal to tint headlights and taillights in California. The car must be DOT approved for you to modify your taillights.

Can spray tint be removed?

You can remove spray tint using brake cleaner, nail polish, aircraft remover, throttle body and air intake cleaner, acetone, or nail varnish. Pour some of the solvent on a clean thick towel and rub off the tint a square inch at a time.

Be careful not to let any of it touch your car’s paint as it will ruin it. When removing spray tint from headlights, it may leave a hazy or opaque finish that must be removed using a headlight restoration kit. Don’t let the cleaning solvent sit for too long.

How much does it cost to get your headlights tinted?

It costs between $95 and $175 to tint each lens on a car. The cost depends on the shape of the lights that need to be covered and the type of vehicle. In some cars, it takes longer to tint the headlights, making it more expensive.

How much is a tail light tint?

It costs between $65 and $150 to tin each of your taillight lenses. Like the headlights, the cost is based on the type of car and the shape of the taillights. Most drivers pay an average of $85 and $95 for each lens.

How long do tinted tail lights last?

Tinted taillights will last up to 5-10 years. The tint provides protection against scratches, road debris, chips, and dents. It also reduces the risk of your lights becoming filthy, toneless, or yellow due to exposure to UV rays and dirt.