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Tint Windows on Leased Cars : All You Need to Know

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  • Natasha Young
  • 6 minutes

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Leasing a car is the best option when trying different models and being economical about it. With the right amount of research, you could find the right loan with a lower down payment. But leasing a car might come with certain doubts. For example, if you prefer privacy, you may consider getting your car windows tinted. But can you tint windows on a leased car? Read to know more. 

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Tint windows on a leased car 

The possibility of you having tinted windows on your leased car depends on your state, the dealership, and the manufacturer. You should check your lease contract or call your dealer for specific information about window tinting and other upgrades. 

Most of the time, getting professional window tinting is seen as an upgrade that raises the car’s value. So, if you return a car with good window tint, most dealers won’t have trouble returning it. But if you return the car with bad window tint that left bubbles or rough edges, you will be charged to fix it. 

Is modifying your leased car illegal? 

No, modification on a leased car is not illegal. But it’s certainly not advised. Since a lease is a short-term agreement and the car has to be returned to the dealership at some point, it’s usually not a good idea to modify your car. Some contracts even have fees if you want to change the car.  

Unfortunately, most people think tinting their windows is great because it adds to the car’s resale value. This can be different for different dealerships, so ask about the rules of your lease agreement. Do it before you make an appointment at the service center to have your car serviced. Also, if you plan to buy out your lease, you can make any changes to your car. 

Are tinted windows in your state legal? 

Well, it depends. For example, in New Jersey, like in many other states, the front windshield and driver’s side front window must have no tints, while rear windows and the rear windshield can have those to any degree. 

In several jurisdictions, the percentage of light that can get through a window before being blocked by a plastic film is typically limited to 30%. Therefore, the glass must allow the passage of at least 70% of the remaining light. Always double-check with the dealer and your state’s department of motor vehicles to ensure you comply with tint laws. 

Here are some states in the US that prohibit tint on the back and rear windows: 

  • Arizona  
  • California  
  • Connecticut (rear window only)  
  • Delaware  
  • Iowa  
  • Maine  
  • Michigan (all windows permitted)  
  • Missouri 
  • Nevada  
  • New Jersey (illegal on front windows) 
  • New York (rear window only) 
  • North Dakota  
  • Ohio  
  • Texas  
  • Utah  
  • Vermont  

The dealership and manufacturer will set your leased vehicle’s window tinting policy. And the agreements are mostly non-negotiable. However, the dealerships will examine the quality of the tints when you return your car. If they find it “professional enough” the tinting is considered an upgrade. Otherwise, you will have to face a penalty. 

tint windows on leased cars

Image by Crea Park from Pixabay 

Can you get your leased car window tinted from the dealership? 

Window tinting is a service offered by many dealerships in the US. Check in with the dealership to see whether they offer the upgrading service you need. If you have your dealer install your window tint, you may rest easy knowing that it will pass inspection with no loopholes. It can be expensive, but it will save you from the penalty. 

You are free to choose a third party to tint the windows of your leased automobile. But you should ensure that anybody you hire is qualified to do the needful professionally. Many professional auto detailers can do an excellent job with window tinting. Take your time, research, search around, read some reviews, and get a few quotes before deciding. 

If the job isn’t done properly and the dealership charges you to remove the tint from the windows. Even the lowest alternative might end up costing you more. So, remember, better safe than sorry. 

Will you be asked to remove the tint before returning the leased car? 

It all comes down to the final inspection. As a rule, it’s a requirement for tenants to schedule an inspection 90 days before the end of their lease. This inspection aims to help you fix any issues with the car before the lease is up and save you money.  

You should inquire as to whether or not the window tint is acceptable during the inspection. Or maybe charged by the dealer or asked to remove non-compliant window tint if it is of lower quality or has caused damage to the glass. And you will be facing a penalty accordingly. 

How your car’s manufacturer might feel about tints on windows 

Some manufacturers provide window tints with minimal, hazy guidelines. Leasing a vehicle from one of these manufacturers means you won’t have to worry about extra fees for normal wear and tear or window tinting.  

  • Honda  
  • Mercedes-Benz 
  • Porsche 
  • Ford 
  • GM 
  • MINI
  • Nissan (only subject to a fee if it’s visibly chipped or torn or starting to come loose from the window) 

Here are the other manufacturers who don’t consider window tints as an upgrade: 

  • Ally 
  • Audi 
  • BMW 
  • Chrysler 
  • Hyundai  
  • Infinity 
  • Kia  
  • Lexus 
  • Mazda (there are some exceptions)  
  • Subaru 
  • Tesla 
  • Toyota 
  • Volkswagen  
  • Volvo 

Having your car’s windows professionally tinted is an investment that pays for itself. Therefore, most auto dealerships will say yes if you inquire if you may tint a leased car and you return it with no damage. However, expect to be charged to have the window tint removed if you return the car with any sort of damage to it, such as bubbles or uneven margins. 

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Is there any penalty for window tints on leased cars? 

Yes, certainly. Professionals use sharp blades during tint placement and removal. If the blade is made of unsuitable material or if too much pressure is applied, it can scratch and gouge the glass. If the final inspection reveals that there is damage to the glass or the quality of the window tint is poor, you will be charged for removing or repairing the window tint. To avoid damage fees, consult your dealer before making any modifications. 

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