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Window Tints: How can you tell if they are legit?

kgb

Member
Sep 22, 2009
605
9
Houston, TX
I've been on this forum for a while, and I have been impressed by the depth and breadth of knowledge of the participants. In addition, I noticed that the background of the majority of the posters seems to be in the sciences, so I feel this is as good as any place to pose this question.

I recently had my Model S windows tinted. I walked in to the shop and told the salesman that I needed tint (I already knew that I wanted ceramic). Before I could express a preference, he took me to their demonstration area and showed me their lines. He showed me cheap brand X 70% which had little heat rejection. Then cheap brand X 30% which had improved heat rejection. Then intermediate brand Y 30% which had better heat rejection. Then most expensive "ceramic" brand Z 30% which had the best heat rejection. At that time I told him I wanted the ceramic. Then I got to thinking, how do I know if I am paying for ceramic, yet getting cheap brand X? The salesman is the "expert," so I asked him. He said, there was no way to know, just that I my car would be a lot cooler.

I didn't like that answer, so I did an initial search on the internet for "how can I tell if I have ceramic tint," but with no avail. Then I noticed that when I look out the tinted windows with polarized glasses, I get a rainbow effect. So then I did a search that included polarized lenses, and posters on other forums stated that this was a way to verify that you indeed have ceramic film, however the posters who said that did not seem to be well educated or knowledgeable, nor did they use references. That's why I want to use the well educated brains on this forum to help with this question for me and all future internet searches. How can you verify that the tint installer didn't do the switcheroo?
 

Kaivball

Member
Jan 6, 2013
664
-1
Kalifornia
Step one: start with a reputable window tint company.

Step two: repeat step one.

Seriously, pick a dealer that's been around for awhile, that people have used for years and that has great to excellent feedback.

Company's that want to stay in business don't cheat their customers
 
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Reactions: jrad6515

kgb

Member
Sep 22, 2009
605
9
Houston, TX
But how would you ever know? No customer would ever complain about being cheated, because apparently there does not seem to be a way to verify. Customers would complain about crappy service, but never about the tint.

Although I do appreciate the effort @Kaivball, all I am asking is if someone knows of a SCIENTIFIC way to verify that the tint you have is, in fact, the ceramic variety, versus the non-ceramic variety.
 

pete8314

Vendor
Jun 4, 2012
2,358
658
DFW, ex UK
The 3M stuff comes with a bunch of little 3M logos all over it that have to be removed with a little rubbing alcohol. My installer offered to leave them on there until I picked it up (to prove he used the primo film). As it turns out, I said no, but still found a few of the logos. I do not have the 3M film on the screen, it's another brand who's name escapes me, but it has the same 'rainbow effect' you describe. Having said that, so does my wife's Q5 that has factory tints, and I doubt they used a ceramic film?
 

andrewket

Well-Known Member
Dec 20, 2012
5,704
1,525
Not trying to hijack the thread here, but - do you find the rainbow effect disturbing? I wear polarized sunglasses and will be tinting my MS soon.
 

NigelM

Recovering Member
Apr 3, 2011
13,386
555
Northern Virginia
I didn't like that answer, so I did an initial search on the internet for "how can I tell if I have ceramic tint," but with no avail......How can you verify that the tint installer didn't do the switcheroo?

If it's a reputable installer you can simply ask to watch at least part of the install; "Hey, I'm really curious how you guys actually do this. Mind if I watch one window?...." The quality brands such as 3M and Llumar are marked up so you can see what they're using.

- - - Updated - - -

Not trying to hijack the thread here, but - do you find the rainbow effect disturbing? I wear polarized sunglasses and will be tinting my MS soon.

I have 3M Color Stable @20% and don't notice any rainbow effect with polarized glasses. I notice a slight purple appearance out the hatch window when I look in the rearview mirror; it's not disturbing to me.
 

Yoby99

New Member
Jun 16, 2018
1
0
Salt lake city, ut
If you're that paranoid, buy the tint yourself.


That don't work. I'm trying to do it myself and buy it myself but all the shops local to me that sell it to put it on say that the manufacturer won't let them sell it without them certified installers installing it. I can find it on the internet and eBay. But even thet they don't sell you a factory packaged roll. They just cut if off a bigger roll. So therefore I still wouldn't know what I'm getting. Hence, why I'm on here trying to find out how to tell if its ceramic.
 

vwvannut

New Member
Jul 20, 2018
1
0
Yorba Linda
I've been trying to do the same thing. I purchased some Huper Optik from ebay but have no idea whether it's real or not and have not way to tell. You'll never know.
 

tommyesq73

New Member
Jan 31, 2019
2
1
so cal
Only real way I think is to take a heat lamp on the exterior of the window and have a heat meter on the interior...If its really ceramic then th reading on the heat meter should be significantly less than the heat lamp.
 

Leeclanual

Member
Dec 15, 2018
348
192
USA
When they give you a written receipt with tint make and percentage listed... if not provided it ain’t legal generally. All installers will tint darker than legal limit... but they aren’t willing to provide incriminating evidence pointing at them...
 

CJ1220

New Member
Mar 24, 2019
2
0
Colorado
I've been on this forum for a while, and I have been impressed by the depth and breadth of knowledge of the participants. In addition, I noticed that the background of the majority of the posters seems to be in the sciences, so I feel this is as good as any place to pose this question.

I recently had my Model S windows tinted. I walked in to the shop and told the salesman that I needed tint (I already knew that I wanted ceramic). Before I could express a preference, he took me to their demonstration area and showed me their lines. He showed me cheap brand X 70% which had little heat rejection. Then cheap brand X 30% which had improved heat rejection. Then intermediate brand Y 30% which had better heat rejection. Then most expensive "ceramic" brand Z 30% which had the best heat rejection. At that time I told him I wanted the ceramic. Then I got to thinking, how do I know if I am paying for ceramic, yet getting cheap brand X? The salesman is the "expert," so I asked him. He said, there was no way to know, just that I my car would be a lot cooler.

I didn't like that answer, so I did an initial search on the internet for "how can I tell if I have ceramic tint," but with no avail. Then I noticed that when I look out the tinted windows with polarized glasses, I get a rainbow effect. So then I did a search that included polarized lenses, and posters on other forums stated that this was a way to verify that you indeed have ceramic film, however the posters who said that did not seem to be well educated or knowledgeable, nor did they use references. That's why I want to use the well educated brains on this forum to help with this question for me and all future internet searches. How can you verify that the tint installer didn't do the switcheroo?
 

CJ1220

New Member
Mar 24, 2019
2
0
Colorado
I've had this same concern. I recently had my vehicle's windows get a CTX film and I literally feel absolutely no difference in the before/after tint. My car is still really hot inside and when the sun is shining directly into my windows, I notice no difference at all. In re: the comment about polarized sun glasses and the rainbow pattern that shows up... possibly indicating a CTX product is on your window, I too have this happen and it's completely annoying. Rainbows are the last thing I want to see when driving unless it's a real one... I keep waiting for a unicorn to appear next.... it's B.S.
 

Anjumhameed

Member
Mar 12, 2017
37
4
London
windows tint are regulated from state to state, you have to check if there is any law or fine penalty for tinted windows, otherwise you could tint your shades.
 

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