High-quality window film is distributed by reputable companies throughout the country. The film produced by these established companies is tested via proprietary methods that ensure the film scores high points for durability, protection, longevity and more. Going to your local car parts store and buying enough tint to do the job yourself is risky and a waste of time, money and may end up costing double to have a professional strip and retint the car. The window film available to the public is poorly manufactured and will quickly fade, bubble-up, and change colors. And not the color one desires when wanting their car tinted (think dark purple or rusty bronze).
Even if you're confident that you have quality film, installing it properly is the next hurdle - a large hurdle at that. Take a look at your car. Does it look like a flat piece of glass like a window on your house? Or is it curved? Do you have a heat gun? Do you have the tools that will push out any air bubbles? What about the cleaning solutions needed that won't upset the tint but still clean the dirt from the windows, preventing a sloppy finish you get at most $100 tint shops.
All curved glass needs to be heatshrinked. The film has to be strategically melted before installation to fit the curvature of the glass. Otherwise, the film will have a lot of slack, creating "fingers" in the film. Squeegeeing over these fingers will cause the film to crease. This is why heatshrinking is key to professionals when tinting your car.
A clean installation is just as important. Without prepping the car for installation by intensely cleaning the window and surrounding areas, you will find cross-contamination between the glass and tint. This is from particles of dust and "trash" in the air and around the window that manifests itself as bumps and bubbles in the film making it obvious to you (and others) when peering through the glass.
Stripping and retinting. You may think that you can save money on a strip and retint by stripping the old tint off yourself but if you don't know what you're getting into, you'll end up wasting what? You guessed it. Time and money. People will often rip the tint off, leaving a thin layer of film and adhesive. If you don't properly finish the process, you've made it more difficult for a professional to finish the job. Pro tinters have tools and techniques that help remove the film in one piece. It's unlikely you'll get a discount for peeling the tint off and then taking it to a shop to finish the job. The installer will need to clean off the glue and fix any other issues that may have come up from self-removal.
Other concerns are damaging electrical components in your door panels and/or rear deck. Yikes. That just sounds expensive. Using too much water in the removal process can get into wire harnesses and computer boards causing expensive damages. Not to mention, using the wrong chemicals can stain or ruin your door panels.
On the rear window, we use a highly technical process for removal. Not knowing the correct process of removal can again, lead to expensive damages.
Some cars have features like Blind Spot Monitoring and other tech accessories that are plugged into wiring harnesses that can be damaged by leaking water if not covered properly. One of the most common problems we see is when people try to remove the film on the rear window. They'll use a scraper or razor blade to scrape the tint and adhesive off. Doing this will disable your defrost system every time. The repair for that is buying a new back window and paying for it to be removed and reinstalled. DIYers will also scrape all the way down until they can't reach the tint at the bottom, leaving a jagged strip of tint across the bottom and likely a scratched up rear deck. Again, a window tint professional is very unlikely to give a discount for the effort because it's now harder to remove the rest of the film in one piece.
At this point, you've spent the money on the film, tools, etc. and potentially had to buy a new circuit board or rear window if it's really bad. You probably also underestimated the reason tint professionals charge what they do. It's a skill to install tint and it's not something that can be learned overnight or on YouTube. For quality installation, bring your car into Cutting Edge Window Tinting. If you're not in our area, do research online to make sure you're choosing the best window tinter in your area. And, as always, good luck!