Tinted windows offer tons of benefits including privacy, a cooler interior, less fuel used on cooling the car, and an increased value of the vehicle. When the sun’s UV rays enter your car, it can damage the interior. 

It’s hard to deny the benefits of having tinted windows, but what if you drive a leased vehicle?

Can you tint windows on a leased car? Below, we will break down some factors to consider if you’re thinking about tinting the windows of your leased car including dealership-specific policies and where to go to get your windows tinted. 

Can you tint windows on a leased car? 

To determine whether you can add upgrades like tinted windows to your leased car, contact your dealer or manufacturer. If you have your windows tinted by the dealership, you shouldn’t run into any issues. But if you choose to use a third-party installer you need to make sure the job is done properly. Poorly installed window tint could result in you having to remove the tint and pay fees to the dealer. 

Most likely, the dealership will want to inspect the window tint job to determine if it is acceptable or not. If done properly, adding tinted windows to your vehicle could be considered an upgrade and it would increase the price of the vehicle. If that’s the case, the dealership should accept it back with no problem. 

But if the window tint job is done incorrectly, it could lead to you having to pay the dealership additional fees to have it removed. Here are a few more things to consider when deciding on whether or not to tint the windows of your leased vehicle. 

Where to get your windows tinted

Your best bet when tinting the windows of your vehicle (especially if it’s a leased vehicle) is to go through your dealership. The dealership will professionally tint the windows and you won’t have to worry about any issues regarding the window tint since the dealership has done the job themselves.

One downside to going through the dealership for your window tint is that they may not offer the most competitive price, since dealerships tend to charge a bit higher for parts and labor.

Although it may require more time for research, you shouldn’t necessarily avoid going to a third-party source for your window tint.

It’s important to look for a window tinting service that knows what they’re doing because if your windows are tinted improperly, you may run into issues when returning it to the dealership at the end of your lease. Rest assured that there are plenty of reputable third-party window tint companies out there that can help you and will do a remarkable job. 

What About DIY Window Tinting?

If you consider yourself to be a handy person or if you’ve got experience with detailing cars, you may be perfectly capable of tinting your windows yourself!

With the right tools and materials, you can easily master the skill of window tinting but we only recommend doing it yourself if you really feel confident in your ability. Here some tips if you would like to tint your windows yourself.

1.Prepare the windows properly

Cleaning your windows very well is a big factor that will influence the result of the window tint. It is important that you spend time preparing the windows properly if you want a professional-looking result.

If you’ve ever seen a tint job that has bubbles or pockets then that was probably due to dust particles and dirt being left behind before tinting. 

2.Pay attention to the edges

You may have to disassemble your vehicle’s door panel in order to properly install the tint on the top and bottom edges of the window.

If the tint isn’t properly applied around the edges, then it could crumple or peel when the windows are rolled up and down. If you are not comfortable with working on cars then we do not recommend attempting to tint your windows yourself.

3.The details matter

Even the smallest mistake can cause big problems when it comes to tinting windows yourself. Tinting windows requires the use of sharp tools and you can easily damage the rubber seal of the window in the process.

If this happens, moisture could get in and cause further damage. So we really do not recommend trying this unless you are entirely confident in yourself and have experience working with cars. 

What happens when I return my leased car with the windows tinted?

Some people wonder whether the dealership will require them to remove the window tint before returning the vehicle and this question ultimately depends on the situation and the dealership.

The final inspection will help the dealership determine whether or not they approve of the tint job. If the tint is poorly done or if there is damage, you may have to pay to have it removed and pay the dealership. This is another reason why it is very important to have the windows professionally tinted.  

Most dealerships will require a pre-return inspection around 90 days before you have to return your leased vehicle.

This inspection typically serves as an opportunity for you to become aware of any issues with the vehicle, giving you time to correct them and avoid further charges.

The pre-return inspection is a great opportunity for you to ask about the window tint and see if it is acceptable or if you should have it removed prior to returning. 

How is Window Tint Removed?

Removing window tint is typically much simpler than the initial installation. If you were able to install the window tint yourself, then you shouldn’t have any issues removing it. However, if you don’t feel comfortable removing it yourself, it may be a good idea to have this done professionally to avoid damaging the glass.

Removing window tint involves using hot air to heat the film and loosen the glue. When done correctly, window tint can usually be removed in one big piece. Any glue residue left over will need to be cleaned off and you’ll have to take extra care to avoid scratching or damaging the glass. 

Will my dealership have a policy regarding window tint?

There is a good chance that your dealership could have a set policy in regards to tinting windows on a leased vehicle. Check with your dealership and look into the conditions of your lease to see if there are any specific policies.

Some dealerships such as Porsche, Nissan, and Mercedes-Benz have specific policies regarding this manner. While some manufacturers may prohibit it entirely, others may allow it under certain conditions. 

Every dealership will have its own policy and will evaluate window tint on a case-by-case basis. Below we’ve listed some policies regarding specific dealerships and window tint.

  • Audi considers chipped or cracked glass and improperly tinted windows as excess wear that will result in a charge.
  • BMW also counts improperly installed window tint or the removal of it as glass damage and will charge accordingly. 
  • At Ford, there is no specific mention of window tint but they do state that any glass damage could be subject to charges at the end of a lease. 
  • Hyundai dealerships have a set policy regarding window tint and charge $100 to remove window tint that has peeling, bubbling, or other issues. 
  • At Kia, you can use their online web tool to assess any glass damage, including window tint.
  • Mercedes-Benz might be okay with window tint as long as it does not have any scratches, bubbles, or discoloring, but you’ll need to check with your specific dealership to be sure. 
  • Toyota counts non-factory tinted glass as it does windshield cracks, considering them to be excessive wear that is subject to additional fees. 

Final thoughts

Ultimately, it will be up to your dealership whether or not it is okay to tint the window glass on your leased vehicle.

We recommend checking with your dealership to see if adding tint is acceptable and only going through a credible source to have the windows tinted. Who you choose to have tint your windows is ultimately up to you, most importantly, you should just make sure it’s done right. 

Your dealership can do the job, eliminating the risk of facing charges at the end of the lease, but it will likely cost a bit more to have them tint your windows than a third-party service. If you choose to go through a third-party service to have your windows tinted it is extremely important to make sure that they are credible and know what they’re doing. 

Some people even choose to take the “DIY” route and tint their windows themselves. Although this is definitely doable, we only recommend doing so if you feel extremely confident in yourself and have plenty of experience working on cars. 

When it comes to tinted windows causing issues on a lease, this typically stems from the tint job being done incorrectly and there being damage to the glass. It is surprisingly easy for windows to become damaged during the tinting process and this can definitely result in charges at the end of your lease. 

If your dealership does not accept the window tint, you may have to pay to have it removed and pay additional fees to your dealership.    

Author

Welcome to my car seat blog! As a mom of 3, I put together with other hard-working moms a highly informative one-stop car seat resource, full with many reviews and buyer guides. I hope you find it invaluable. Thank you for trusting me & my team! - Keren