Window Tinting...What You Must Know Before You Decide To Tint Your Windows
Dear Car Owner,
You already know that window tinting:
||Enhances your vehicle’s appearance while reducing in-coming heat;|
||Virtually eliminates exposure to ultraviolet rays (and the fading and deterioration they cause);|
||Improves security, making it harder for thieves to look in at night;|
||Increases privacy, especially for women; and|
||Helps hold shards of broken glass in the event of an accident|
But, choosing a window tinting company isn’t easy. Why? Because you’ve been bombarded with misleading advertising, confusing claims and simply a lot of bad information. From super-low prices and high-pressure sales to unqualified technicians installing poor quality material–how do you ever find a qualified, competent, professional window tinting company?
You’ll start by reading this report. In this fact filled guide, you’ll discover how to avoid several rip-offs, the common mistakes many people make, and the questions you should ask when choosing a company to tint your vehicle. Plus, I'll reveal the simple but important steps to follow to ensure you'll receive high quality and long lasting tint on your vehicle.
I wrote this guide to help you better understand window tinting. After reviewing this information, you can make an informed, intelligent and wise decision.
And if you have any questions about window tinting, you’re invited to call me at (636) 928-3866. I’ve dedicated my business to educating clients just like you. I’ll be happy to help you in every way.
Jeff Pawlik, Owner
Caribbean Car Wash and Spa
The Basics: Understanding What The Percentages Mean
The percentages indicate the amount of light that is let through. The lower the percentage, the darker the tint. For example, a 20% will be darker and let through less light than a 35%.
The most common percentages (shades) used on automobiles are:
• 50% - the lightest
• 35% - medium
• 20% - dark
• 5% - extra dark - also known as "limo tint"
Premium And Standard Grade Tinting:
What's The Difference?
Premium Grade Tinting: Superior heat and UV rejection of up to 99%. These are metalized (i.e., metal particles are added) scratch-resistant films and are available in multiple colors and shades. At Caribbean Express, we use only CPFilm’s Llumar® films. Headquartered in Virginia, CPFilms, Inc. is the world’s largest manufacturer of films. We stock and apply only their premium grade, which comes with a lifetime “as long as you own it” factory warranty that is honored by every Llumar dealer nationwide.
Caribbean Express’ Premium Grade Tinting is available in:
• Charcoal - 35% - 20% - 15% - 5% Rich, true color. Matches nearly all manufacturers’ factory tinted glass commonly as seen on extended cab pickups, SUV’s and mini-vans.
Platinum Plus: 35% - 20 % Very popular. Similar to some factory reflective glass on many late model SUV's (like Lexus, Mercedes, Infiniti). Hides seams, dot matrix patterns on edge and imperfections in glass extremely well. Note, however, that due to the varying types of factory installed solar glass, one type of tint may be a closer match than another.
Standard grade: These tints use only dyes and no metallic particles. They are less expensive, but quickly fade, peel, and/or turn purple. Warranties are seldom more than 3 years and manufacturers (importers, mainly) tend to come and go. We do not offer (or recommend) such films at Caribbean Express.
What’s Legal in Missouri?
|As summarized in publication SHP-510 B published by the Missouri State Highway Patrol in March, 2002:
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the state of Missouri, as follows:
Section A. Section 307.173, RSMo Supp. 1999, is repealed and one new section enacted in lieu thereof, to be known as section 307.173, to read as follows:
307.173. 1. [Except as provided in subsections 2 and 6 of this section, no person shall operate any motor vehicle registered in this state on any public highway or street of this state with any manufactured vision-reducing material applied to any portion of the motor vehicle's windshield, sidewings, or windows located immediately to the left and right of the driver which reduces visibility from within or without the motor vehicle. This section shall not prohibit labels, stickers, decalcomania, or informational signs on motor vehicles or the application of tinted or solar screening material to recreational vehicles as defined in section 700.010, RSMo, provided that such material does not interfere with the driver's normal view of the road. This section shall not prohibit factory installed tinted glass, the equivalent replacement thereof or tinting material applied to the upper portion of the motor vehicle's windshield which is normally tinted by the manufacturer of motor vehicle safety glass.] Except as provided in subsections 2 and 6 of this section, no person shall operate a motor vehicle registered in this state on a public highway or street of this state with manufactured vision-reducing material applied to the vehicle's windshield, sidewings or windows located immediately to the left and right of the driver which reduces visibility inside or outside of the vehicle, if the sun screening material has a light transmission of thirty-five percent or less, plus or minus three percent, and a luminous reflectance of thirty-five percent or more, plus or minus three percent. Except as provided in subsections 2 and 6 of this section, no person shall install on a motor vehicle registered in this state manufactured vision-reducing material applied to the vehicle's windshield, sidewings or windows located immediately to the left and right of the driver which reduces visibility inside or outside of the vehicle, if the sun screening material has a light transmission of thirty-five percent or less, plus or minus three percent, and a luminous reflectance of thirty-five percent or more, plus or minus three percent.
2. [A permit to operate a motor vehicle with a front sidewing vent or window that has a sun screening device, in conjunction with safety glazing material, that has a light transmission of thirty-five percent or more plus or minus three percent and a luminous reflectance of thirty-five percent or less plus or minus three percent may be issued by the department of public safety to a person having a physical disorder requiring the use of such vision-reducing material. If, according to the permittee's physician, the physical disorder requires the use of a sun screening device which permits less light transmission and luminous reflectance than allowed under the requirements of this subsection, the limits of this subsection may be altered for that permittee in accordance with the physician's prescription.] The department of public safety may issue a permit to operate a motor vehicle with a windshield, sidewing or window that has a sun screening device permitting less light transmission and more luminous reflectance than allowed pursuant to subsection 1 of this section. A person is eligible for such a permit if, according to the person's physician, the person has a physical disorder which requires the use of such a sun screening device. The permit shall alter the limits of subsection 1 of this section pursuant to the physician's prescription. The director of the department of public safety shall promulgate rules and regulations for the issuance of [the permit] such permits. [The permit] Such permits shall allow operation of the vehicle by immediate family members who are husband, wife and sons or daughters, and who reside in the household.
3. A motor vehicle in violation of this section shall not be approved during any motor vehicle safety inspection required pursuant to sections 307.350 to 307.390.
4. No rule or portion of a rule promulgated [under the authority of] pursuant to this chapter shall become effective unless it has been promulgated pursuant to the provisions of [section 536.024] chapter 536, RSMo.
5. Any person who violates the provisions of this section is guilty of a class C misdemeanor.
6. Any vehicle licensed with a historical license plate shall be exempt from the requirements of this section
Common Window Tinting Rip-offs And How You Can Avoid Them
Ripoff # 1: Unbelievably low price.
To some degree, all of us are attracted by a low price because we want to work within a budget. Professional window tinters use a commercial grade, scratch resistant, UV reflective window film. There are several good brands available on the market today. Unfortunately, there’s also a lot of poor, inferior quality product available to tinting retailers at a much cheaper price. A lot of the less than honest tinters use the poor quality film to save money and increase their profit. Poor quality film tends to de-laminate and change color, scratches very easily and usually doesn’t come with any type of warranty against that. The best way to protect yourself against this type of rip-off is ask to see a written copy of the warranty, and find out what it covers.
Ripoff # 2: Bait and switch.
Some window tinters like to use price as the bait for their false and misleading advertising. They offer a cheap price, (also know as "the bait". It's often somewhere around $99 per car. Once you’re in their store however, they tell you the price quoted was only for two or three windows, not the entire car! Then, they’ll pressure you into paying more than you originally thought you’d have to -- also known as "the switch". It’s almost as if you were buying a car and found you were being charged extra for the tires and the steering wheel. Professional quality window tinting is inexpensive when you consider all the benefits, but it’s not as cheap as some unethical tinters would like you to believe. Protect yourself by getting a quote in writing.
Ripoff # 3: Unsupported claims like "Our window tinting is the best."
You’ll read this in almost every ad. You’ll hear this from almost every window tinting company. Remember this: The window tinting company that's right for you is the one that will give you the most value for your money. Protect yourself by asking to see some of their work. Ask for testimonials from past clients. Ethical shops will have many to show you. What their past customers say about them is far more important (and believable) than what they say about themselves.
Ripoff # 4: “Here today, gone tomorrow” tinting companies:
Unfortunately, there are more than one in this area. It’s not uncommon that this industry tends to attract its share of undesirables, i.e., tinters that are interested in doing nothing more than applying the cheapest material on your car at the maximum price you’ll pay—often with a "too good to be true" lifetime guarantee. Months later when they go out of business, they leave you stuck when you have a problem… and the chances are very high you will have a problem.
One good way to avoid these rip-off artists is by placing a call to the local Chamber of Commerce; in St. Peters, the number is 636-447-3336. Ask if the particular shop is a "member in good standing." Most honest and ethical tint shops choose to become members. Most "fly by nights" however, usually won't spend the money.
Next, pay a visit to their place of business. Have a look around. Find out how many years they've been in business. Do they have a good selection of tinting to choose from? What's their track record? How do they handle problems? Is the store neat and clean? Are the salespeople properly attired and are they helpful? Does the store appear professional and appear like it'll be around in a year or so? If not, it may not be.
Common Myths About Automotive
Window Tinting That Could Cost You $$$
Myth #1: You can do it yourself.
Maybe. Maybe not. If you have a steady hand, a good eye, a large amount
of patience, a relatively dust free environment, a variety of razor sharp cutting knives, a heat gun, a large glass cutting table and a liberal amount of film to practice with until you get it right, the answer is yes. Understand this: tinting automobile windows is very unforgiving. Once a piece of window film is cut to fit, and the adhesive is activated, you’ll get just one chance to apply it to the window properly. And since most windows have a slight contour to them, the film often needs to be heated and then shrunk to lie flat against the glass. Make just one mistake, and you’ll be starting from scratch with a new piece of film.
Myth #2: The only reason to have your windows tinted is to keep your car cooler in the summertime.
No. Most people have their windows tinted for a variety of reasons. Although a good quality tint will reduce a large amount of heat from ever entering the car, the increased protection from the suns' UV rays and reduced fading of your interior are another benefit. Some owners like the increased security and feeling of privacy tinting gives them. And others, well they just like the sleek, sporty look.
Myth #3: Tinting is illegal in Missouri.
No. Tinting is not illegal in Missouri, only tinting on certain windows is illegal. The Missouri Motor Vehicle Code precludes any aftermarket tinting further down than 4 inches from the top of the windshield. Driver’s and passenger’s side windows are limited to 35%, but the law does not limit tinting to the rear or rear side windows. For more information and a copy of the Missouri Motor Vehicle Code pertaining to automotive window tinting, please refer to our previous summary of the code.
Myth #4: All tinters and tint companies are the same.
No. The best material in the world won’t make up for a poor installation by an inexperienced installer. Most people have found they’ve gotten the best results hiring a company that has been around for more than a year or two. Companies with good reputations in the marketplace are happy to show you their warranty as well as their work. Most employ experienced tinting technicians, ones that have tinted literally hundreds if not thousands of vehicles, prior to tinting yours.
Myth #5: The film you can buy at your local auto parts or discount store is just as good as the material most professional tinting shops use.
Maybe. It really depends what you buy. If it’s a commercial grade, automotive scratch resistant film, offering good UV resistance and has an excellent adhesive with a good warranty, the answer is yes. Most however, are not. Low quality films tend to turn purple and de-laminate soon after installation.
Myth #6: The company that gives you the lowest price is the one you should hire.
No. I’ve never seen so many problems arise from the lowest bid companies that I suggest you NEVER hire the company that quotes the cheapest price. The two most common problems are:
1) The price may not be for a high quality grade of automotive tint. The company may have given you a low price to lure you in, and then slap an inexpensive, low quality grade of tinting film on your car…without you knowing. If your tinting turns purple within a year or two, you'll know your tinter used a low quality film to tint your vehicle.
2) The price you see advertised may not be the price you pay. Many people have learned that the low price they saw advertised lasted only until they arrived at the tinters’ place of business. They were pressured into paying a lot more to get "what they thought they were getting in the first place." Some tinters break the law by using a wide variety of these bait and switch tactics.
Myth #7: A warranty is not important for a good job.
No. I’ve never seen a reputable company afraid to stand behind its work, but I’ve seen several less than honest companies that won’t. Be very wary of any tint company that won’t include a written money-back guarantee on the performance of the film itself, as well as their installation. Review it carefully before you decide who will tint your car. Steer clear of those who don’t have one to show you. They probably won’t be around to help you when you need it.
Watch For These 5 Little Known Mistakes When Choosing
A Company To Tint Your Vehicle
MISTAKE #1: Choosing a company based on a low price alone.
Low price can be a problem in three ways:
1) Low price can be the bait that attracts your initial phone call. But when you arrive at the place of business, you are pressured into paying much more.
2) The price you were quoted might not be for the entire vehicle but instead, just two or three windows. Rarely does the consumer know this and when told, asks for a complete job which costs much more.
3) Low price can mean the company is using an inexpensive, poor quality film. The problem here is that you won’t see the problems right away – problems like de-laminating, poor adhesion to the glass, and changing color all result from using poor quality material, and won't show up until several weeks later.
MISTAKE #2: Choosing a company based on a single telephone call.
Instead, pay a visit to the tinter’s place of business and ask them for a recommendation and a written quotation. Have them show you some of their work. Then you’ll know exactly what your choices are – and won’t be the victim of high-pressure tactics when you arrive to have your windows tinted.
MISTAKE #3: Choosing a tinting company that doesn’t offer a "risk-free" money back guarantee.
In my view, every tinting company should be fully accountable for its work. If you aren’t pleased in every way, you shouldn’t have to pay for it. Period. Not all companies offer a guarantee. Or, if they do, it may be confused with a "limited warranty," something like: "we’ll cover the material," which often means you’ll get stuck paying for the labor. Ask the company you are considering if a written, money-back guarantee is included. Ask to see a copy of it. Study it carefully; find out what’s covered. Then decide if it’s right for you.
MISTAKE #4: Choosing a tinting company without getting comments or testimonials from their past clients.
Any tinter or tint company can say anything about his past jobs. Sadly, some of what they say may not be true. Make sure you ask for references or read comments from current and past customers. By doing so, you’ll get a much better feel for the integrity and honesty of the company. Ethical companies will be delighted to show them to you.
MISTAKE #5: Choosing a tinting company with little or no history in the automotive service business.
You might expect this comment from me, since we have been serving clients for 10 years at this location—which I own, by the way, not rent. But there are several good reasons: the most important reason is that any tinting is only as good as the company that backs it up. I’ve seen many tinting companies come and go in the past, some in business less than a year or two. They’ve stuck customers with their worthless "lifetime warranties," making us all look bad. I’ve also seen my share of downright shoddy work done right here in the St. Charles area, usually resulting from poor quality materials and/or an inexperienced technician doing the work.
The Importance Of Value And Price
Price is what you pay. Value is what you get. When you select a company to tint the windows on your vehicle, you’ll choose from a wide variety of materials, shades, warranties, guarantees, methods, experience and prices. Here’s what you’ll want to look for:
1) A company that uses a quality grade of automotive film, preferably one that’s scratch resistant. You’ll get superior strength, excellent UV protection along with long lasting performance and good looks.
2) A company that uses computer-cut patterns for the best, most consistent fit with your vehicle. Do you really want your windows tinted by some guy whose biggest investment in his business is a razor blade?
3) A company that warranties its work (not just the material, but their workmanship as well) against peeling, fading, de-laminating, bubbles or changing color – preferably for as long as you own the vehicle, and in writing.
4) A company that has a the right colors and shades available to choose from, so you’ll get exactly the look you want, instead of what they want to sell you.
Not surprisingly, having your vehicle tinted by a professional and ethical company may initially cost a little more.
If you just want your "windows darkened at a cheap price,” then making your decision based on the cheapest price you can find might be appropriate for you. On the other hand, if you want to have your vehicle tinted by ethical professionals using only materials that will:
• truly enhance the look of your vehicle
• will keep it cooler in the summer,
• will keep the interior from fading
• and comes complete with a risk free guarantee so if you're not happy with it you can get your money back…
…then you’re invited to call me at Caribbean Express. And if you decide to let Caribbean Express tint your vehicle, you’re further protected with my...
100% NO RISK GUARANTEE
As the owner of Caribbean Express Car Wash & Spa, I want you to be pleased - in fact absolutely delighted with my work. So every tinting job comes with my exclusive ironclad, risk-free guarantee in writing. What does this mean? Simply this:
I'll warranty your tinting against peeling, fading changing color or bubbling -- for as long as you own your vehicle. In the unlikely event you ever experience a problem, all you need to do is return to Caribbean Express, and the problem will be repaired or the tinting replaced to your complete satisfaction FREE, no charge.
Rather than take my word for it, you'll also receive a 90 day "risk free" trial period. Decide for yourself if you like my work. If you aren't absolutely delighted with the quality of the tint or its installation, I'll cheerfully remove your tinting and refund every penny you paid. There is no risk for you.
Most companies don't guarantee their work, but at Caribbean Express Car Wash & Spa, nothing is more important than your satisfaction with our work. We stand behind every job 100% and have for over 10 years. If you ever have any concerns about our work, please call us right away at (636) 928-3866.
3 Steps To Premium Quality Window Tinting Guaranteed To Last You A Lifetime:
Once you’ve decided to have your vehicle tinted, list your objectives.
If you just want "darkened windows at a cheap price," many companies in the phone book can help you. Or, do you want premium, long lasting, scratch resistant tinting like we use, installed by experienced professionals, and at a fair price?
Do you want to work with an honest, reputable company? – Or are you willing to risk working with the company that offers you the "cheapest price" – knowing full well they may not be in business tomorrow?
Ask questions. The way to learn about a company is to ask specific questions and listen carefully to the answers. Here are 10 tough questions to ask before you allow any company to tint your vehicle:
1) “How many years has your company been servicing automobiles in this area? Do you own your own building or just rent?”
2) “Are you insured and can you show me proof of your coverage?”
3) “How many different shades of automotive tinting do you offer?”
4) “Do you use a commercial grade, scratch resistant film? Was it manufactured by a reputable manufacturer? Was it manufactured in the USA?”
5) “What tint is legal here in Missouri? Can you show me a copy of the law?”
6) “How long can I expect my tint to last?”
7) “Does your tint film come with a manufacturer’s written warranty? What exactly does it cover? Is it honored in all 50 states? May I see a copy of it?”
8) “Do you have a written, risk-free guarantee so I won’t have to pay you if I’m not absolutely delighted with your work? May I see a copy of it?”
9) “Do you have a list of testimonials and/or comments from your past clients I can review?”
10) “Is your company a member of the Chamber of Commerce?”
Once you’re satisfied that you’re working with an honest and competent professional, ask for a specific quotation over the phone or better yet – pay a visit to the place of business, take a look around and get their quote in writing. A written quotation gives you the assurance that you’ll know exactly what you'll be getting and what the cost will be – with no surprises.
By following these three easy steps, you’ll gain all the information you need to make an informed, intelligent decision. If all you'd like is quick, cheap window tinting and have no concern for anything else… please don't call me. Although my prices are very competitive, there are many other companies in the phone book that will be happy to help you. Or you could even attempt to do it yourself.
If it’s important to you that your tinting is installed by honest, ethical professionals, looks "factory installed," comes with a written "no excuses" warranty, and gives you 3 full months to try it for yourself -- all at a very competitive price... then I invite you to call me.
I’ll be happy to answer your questions and provide you a cost estimate over the telephone. To reach me, call (636) 928-3866. Or stop by Caribbean Express Car Wash & Spa, check out our tint demo vehicle. Review testimonials from past clients. Get a free, written quotation for your vehicle without cost or obligation of any kind.
Thanks again for reviewing my special report: "A Consumer Guide To Automotive Window Tinting." I hope you found this information helpful.
I’ve dedicated my business to consumer education and service. I’ll be pleased to help you in every way, and look forward to your call. Thanks!
Jeff Pawlik, Owner
Caribbean Express Car Wash & Spa