Tint My Ride May/June 2023June 9th, 2023 by Nathan Hobbs
The Doors …
By Joe Doyle
Let’s talk about tinting door windows. There has to be a first time for every vehicle, and the number of makes and models on the road is quite large. When I pull in a car I’ve never done, I check out the side and lower weatherstrips (w/s) to see if they might be an issue.
For example, the lower weatherstrip on a Ford F-150 is so far down that it doesn’t come into play on the installation. There are some side w/s like this, but not many. I then look for obstacles, such as the door panel that rises up high on the front of the panel by the mirror. Maybe the door frame itself encroaches down from the top rear edge of the door. These are things that might hinder a clean install and may be reason enough to remove the panel or just the lower w/s, which brings us to the question: “Should I try to tint the glass and work around these issues, or would it be better to remove the panel and or lower w/s?” My opinion? You won’t know until you try.
If it looks like you might be able to tint without removing anything, try this first, and if it’s not a clean success, then you have only lost a little time and one piece of film. When I decide to remove something, I start by looking to see if the lower w/s can be removed without taking off the panel, which can be done on a surprising number of cars.
A Case-by-Case Basis
Many w/s are connected to the door panel and are best dealt with by removing the panel. The Dodge Charger is a good example. My choice on any particular vehicle is based on hands-on experience, and I compare the results from not removing the w/s or panel, fighting tight edges, fingers and dirt, to the time and effort that goes into removing these parts.
When you choose to remove the panel, the tint install is so much easier and cleaner, but beware. There are some door panels that you will regret trying to remove, such as certain Volkswagens.
I have a method for squeegeeing door windows that I use on every job. The bulk of the water is first removed with a smoothie, then I switch to an orange Lidco squeegee to get the rest. I do not push it completely to the edge of the film which is under the left and right weatherstrips but stop about one-half of an inch away from the edge.
I remove that water with a squeegee that I have cut diagonally in half, pushing the water up or down, not sideways. When you push the water and squeegee sideways, pulling the squeegee back from under the w/s will sometimes pull the film off the glass and create problems. Use a 4-inch Ronan cutter to make the squeegee. I also use this cutter when making custom-sized smoothies.
I used to use a heat gun to fix a finger on the left or right side of a door tint. These days, I very rarely use it. I have found a quicker, better way that I have been using for years now. Simply take the angled orange squeegee and a 2- by 2-inch piece of a cotton towel wrapped around the squeegee and push out the finger, leaving it wedged in place. It will fix the finger in a few minutes. The towel piece absorbs any water around the area.
“A ‘finger’ refers to a small area on the edge of the window film that will not immediately lay flat on the glass and needs special attention to get it to do so. Waiting for the area to dry a bit can work, but applying heat makes the removal process faster. It’s called a finger because its shape resembles a human finger.”
Joe Doyle is the owner of Tint My Ride in Florissant, Mo.
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