How Long Does It Take For a Car Window Tint to Cure?

All a car owner needs to know before tinting the vehicle’s windows

Written by Camilla Moln. Updated on How Long Does It Take For a Car Window Tint to Cure

Tinting your car’s windows is one of the most popular types of customization on the market these days, so no wonder that people want to be aware of all the details and specifics that come with this process. And indeed, applying a tint to your car’s windows does have certain peculiarities that you should be informed of in advance.

One of such things is car window tint cure time. Quite many car owners start wondering how much time they should wait for the tint to adhere and cure properly after it has been applied. And this is an important thing to be aware of since if the tint doesn’t have enough time to cure, it will simply not be able to last long!

In addition, some other issues may take place as well. So in this article, we are going to tell you more about the cure time for a car tint for windows.

You will learn the average curing time frames for the tint, as well as its drying time. In addition, we will explain to you what factors may affect this time frame.

You will also find out what could happen if your car tint is not fully or properly cured. Like this, when you decide to apply tint to your vehicle’s windows, you will be aware of all the nuances that come with this process.

How Long Does Car Window Tint Take to Cure?

In general, the curing time can vary from several days up to several weeks. To answer this question more precisely, you need to take a few factors into consideration. If you want to know how long it usually takes for car window tint to dry, be sure to consider the following:

  1. the brand of the tint
  2. the quality of the tint
  3. the season it is applied
  4. the climate/temperature it is applied in
  5. the material

There are so many brands of car window tint on the market these days that curing time can vary pretty much. In addition, the time needed for complete curing also depends on the quality of the product, its percentage, and other factors.

For example, it matters a lot in what climate the tint is applied to, as well as what temperature there is in a garage or shop where the car is being tinted!

This is the reason why experienced car owners would recommend you tint your car’s windows during the summer months or in a temperature-controlled garage/shop. This period is considered the best since it allows the tint to cure pretty fast. A car window tint cure time in summer takes from two to three days only!

How long does it take for a window tint to cure in winter, you may be wondering?

In comparison to the summer curing time, if you decide to tint your car’s windows in winter, the car window cure time in winter will be extended and can last for several weeks.

Should you decide to apply the tint yourself in your own garage, three to five days is how much time will be needed for the material to cure completely. Of course, if you are tinting your car in winter, consider spending more time until the material cures fully.

You also need to take a couple of other nuances into consideration when trying to calculate the approximate tint curing time for your car. There are two variables within the window tinting process that can dramatically affect drying time.

  • Firstly, the more surface area the more material is needed to cover the window. It means more adhesive that needs time to dry
  • Secondly, if the window tint is being dried via the sun or UV light alongside just air, the darker the tint the harder it is for light to reach the adhesive. It will result in a longer curing period

When you are aware of these nuances and specifics of the tint application process, you will not be surprised if you notice that the tint is curing longer than you expected.

However, there are several things that might happen while your car window tint is curing, and those things should not be neglected!

How Long Does Car Window Tint Take to Cure
serezniy via VistaCreate

Things to Consider When Applying Car Window Tint

Of course, it is good to know how much time your window tint might need to cure. Like this, you will know approximately what period of time is normal for it, and you will not be stressed if curing takes a day or two longer than you initially expected.

However, there are several important things that might happen during the curing process, that should alarm you if you notice them. These things are:

  1. water pockets
  2. streaks
  3. scratches

During the curing process, you might notice a haziness or cloudiness to the tinted film. This is a common situation and it is typically caused by water. See, when the tint has been applied, a squeegee can only remove so much water.

Afterward, the remaining water will form some kind of pockets underneath the surface of the film. There is nothing you have to do for this manually.

As you probably know, window tint is a porous film, which means that it will allow the water pockets to evaporate naturally. As for the amount of time needed for the water to evaporate completely, it depends.

Usually, the amount of time needed for evaporation depends on the climate the windows are subjected to. In any case, the evaporation process shouldn’t take very long at all.

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Another issue that you can face includes scratches. Yes, car window film will sometimes appear to have scratches or streaks after the application as well. This is due to the vehicle’s weather stripping.

The weather stripping can trap dirt or dust particles quite often, and when windows are rolled up or down, it will be causing streaks to cling to the window tint. Also, the scratches can be caused by the plastic of the weather stripping itself.

Finally, there are a couple of other things to think about and keep in mind when it comes to window tint. The most important thing is that, before even purchasing window tint, you need to make sure what percentages are legal for the different windows on a vehicle according to each state’s window tint laws!

And one last important note is this one: if you plan to use the vehicle before you are confident that the tint is completely cured, it is best not to roll down your windows. Otherwise, you might damage the tint, which will lead to the need of removing it and application the new one.

Things to Consider When Applying Car Window Tint
nenadovicphoto via VistaCreate

Things You Should Do After Your Car’s Windows Have Been Tinted

During the first days after application, car window tint is very fragile and vulnerable. This is why it is so easy to accidentally damage it during this period of time. So you should remember that, if you want your car windows to look perfect after tinting, what you do in the first few days after installation is crucial.

Below, you can check out the four most important things that can be done in order to make sure that your new window tint is doing well.

Things You Should Do After Your Car’s Windows Have Been Tinted
MediaWhalestock via VistaCreate

Be Patient with Window tint Bubbles

You have probably seen those annoying and awfully looking air bubbles that can become trapped in cheap window film! They don’t just look bad, they can also ruin a window tint forever.

However, window tint bubbles you notice right after an install are much more likely to be caused by moisture. Those bubbles should evaporate within a few days on their own, as the tint cures.

As for how long bubbles stay in window tint, times will vary depending on the climate. But in general, you should give it four days at least.

Be Patient with Window tint Bubbles
NewAfrica via VistaCreate

Avoid Washing Your Car Until the Tint Is Not Fully Cured

Another question that car owners commonly ask after having their windows tinted is, “When can you wash your car after tinting windows?” Well, the good news here is that the tinted window film is applied to the inside of the car.

It means that a new window tint won’t be under threat if you drive through dirt or mud.

However, you should not wash your vehicle for some time. Washing those freshly tinted windows afterward may add enough moisture to impede the drying process. So the best thing that can be done is that you hold off until you are sure the tint has cured completely.

Avoid Washing Your Car Until the Tint Is Not Fully Cured

Give the Tint Enough Time to Dry

This will require a little patience from you, but after tinting your car’s windows, you surely want to do everything you can to let tinted window film dry before doing anything that could damage it. If you live in a sunny area like San Diego, for example, sunshine can help a lot. But in general, keep in mind that window tint cure times are shorter in summer, taking from two to four days.

However, the window tint cure time during winter and/or rainy months can extend the wait, and you might have to wait for as long as a month! That is going to be less common for a window tint installation in states with a warm and sunny climate, however.

But if you find that’s the case, there are things you can do to speed up window tint drying.

For example, you can park your car in direct sunlight on clear days so that the sun speeds up the curing process. But if you can, park inside on cool or rainy days, as well as overnight.

Give the Tint Enough Time to Dry
GranevSergey via VistaCreate

Don’t Roll Down the Windows After Tinting

After you tint your car’s windows, it doesn’t mean that you should treat them with extreme caution, of course! Once enough time has passed, you may go ahead and proceed with routine use of your car and its windows. Just make sure you treat them carefully enough, making sure your tinted window film will remain in a good shape.

However, here is a tip for those who have just tinted their cars. We would still recommend you leave the car’s windows rolled up, folks. Like this, you will protect the freshly applied tint and prevent it from getting damaged through the constant rolling up and down of the window glass.

Like this, now you know how much time it is needed for a car window tint film to cure completely after being installed. As you know now, this tint film cure time may vary, depending on several factors, such as the quality of the product, the season it was applied, and others.

With all this in mind, you will be able to pick the time for tinting your car’s windows correctly, which will result in a better application and adhesion of the film.

Don't Roll Down the Windows After Tinting
serezniy via VistaCreate

Frequently Asked Questions

⭐What is window film?

Window film is a polyester film, usually made of Polyethylene Teraphthalate (“PET”). Most films are applied to the interior surface of a glass window in a home, commercial building, marine craft or automobile.

⭐Does the tint go on the outside or inside?

On the inside. First, the film is laid on the outside of the car’s windows and cut out to fit. Those pieces are then placed on a large piece of glass and trimmed before being installed on the inside of the windows.

⭐How long will it take to install window tint on my vehicle?

Installation time ranges from 1 to 3 hours depending on how many windows are being tinted and what type of vehicle you have.

Written by
Camilla is an experienced Consultant with more than 20 years of preparing professional articles for numerous online resources. She has done a tremendous job and has learned a lot during her career. Camilla will advise you on the latest trends and give amazing tips on how to decorate a house.
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