Tinting your car windows gives you more privacy while driving, and it also helps to protect against the sun's harsh, potentially cancerous rays. Luckily, in New Zealand, you are allowed to tint your windows up to a maximum darkness level of 35 percent visual light transmittance. Regardless of the level of darkness you choose, however, you need to take care of your window film to make sure it doesn't peel, disintegrate or otherwise become damaged.
Here are some tips to help you protect the film on your car's windows:
1. Add your window film in the spring, summer or fall.
Outside temperatures have a direct effect on the window tinting process, and in particular, cold temps can make it hard for certain films to adhere properly to your car's windows. If you want to ensure your window films start as strong as possible, avoid having the work done during winter or other cold times of the year.
If you have to get your car windows tinted during the winter, find a window tinter who is confident about working in the cold and who stocks a film that is designed to adhere well in cold temps. Also, remember to schedule extra time for the process -- it takes longer to cure the film when it's cold outside.
2. Park in the sun.
After you get your car back from the window tinters, try to park it in a warm sunny spot. In most cases, immediately after tinting, there is some water between the film and the glass of your car's windows. Keep in mind that the technicians who apply the tinted film wash your windows before applying it, and as a result, some water inevitably remains behind because it's impossible for squeegees to remove it all.
Luckily, the film is slightly porous, and it allows the trapped water to evaporate. You can speed up that process by parking your car in a sunny spot for a few days. However, if your window looks hazy after tinting, it's because there's still some water left to evaporate, and if that water is allowed to stay on your windows it can create bubbles that eventually may threaten to ruin the adhesive.
3. Don't roll your windows down right away.
In most cases, you should not roll your car windows down until the film has fully cured. If you roll them down early, the film can get caught on the edges of the window frame, and the film can come unstuck.
Talk with your window tinter to see exactly how long you should wait before rolling down your windows -- it varies based on the type and brand of film used as well as the season.
4. Be careful with your safety belts.
At the end of a long drive or commute, it can be tempting to fling your seatbelt off, but unfortunately, if you do this, the buckle may bang against your passenger or driver side windows. This can cause dents in the film. A few dents doesn't create any issues, but if you cause an excessive amount of dents, the automotive film can lose some of its integrity and eventually start to flake off.
5. Don't clean with ammonia.
After tinting your windows, talk with car window tinting professionals about which type of cleaning products they recommend. If you opt not to buy their products, try hard to avoid glass cleaners with ammonia.
Unfortunately, ammonia acts as an abrasive on window film, and it can start to make it disintegrate. Instead, clean your car's newly tinted windows with vinegar and water or with a mixture of water and a few drops of dish soap.