The Ultimate Tesla Model 3 Tint Guide: Cost, Pictures, Best Films & Other Frequent Questions

By Zac Ludicrous •  Updated: 02/16/21 •  17 min read

Feeling the heat on your face while driving — or just want some privacy when rolling up your windows?

No tint, no privacy.

After reading 17 threads back to back related to Tesla Model 3 tint,

I compiled the most valuable insights from the Tesla community in this guide, including best prices, films to use, where to find experienced installers and costly mistakes to avoid.

Tesla Model 3 Tint Cost Range

For a regular, all-around window + windshield tint job (exc. glass roof):

Try to find the best prices but don’t get tempted by the cheapest shop or film you can find either.

It’s also inexpensive to find pre-cut kits for individual parts (like headlights or tail light tint films).

WARNING: Glass Roof & Windshield Tint Risks

If you want to cover the glass roof — which I don’t recommend as there are chances of glass cracks due to the higher heat retention,

The price may increase by 50 to 100%.

Some folks decide not to even cover the windshield, which it’s the safest bet but takes away part of the heat reduction benefits.

If you do tint your windshield, though,

It’s crucial that your selected shop has experience with Teslas.

Special attention needs to be paid to prevent any liquid to seep into the electronics during the installation.

What’s The Best Tesla Model 3 Tint Percentage For You?

First, consider the law.

If you live in the U.S., the table below shows the different visible light transmission (VLT) percentages states permit.

The lower the percentage, the darker the tint.

Tint laws
Credit to RVinyl.

Darker tints give you the most sun protection and privacy, but…

Your vision can be impaired at night or in low light conditions, and you may notice major reflections during the day.

I prefer the privacy and looks a darker tint provides regardless of their cons.

Basically, I like windows so dark that I could put a sunshade in the windshield — and have sex inside without a passerby noticing.

Here’s a simulator for you to play around with.

(A tint simulator… not a sex simulator. C’mon! What were you thinking?)

My preference is 20% front windows, 5% rear windows, and 50% windshield.

Given the laws, however, most people go for a 35-50% all-around + 70% windshield tint job.

Tesla Model 3 tint (XPEL) on White
White Tesla Model 3 tint with XPEL ceramic 35% window + 70% windshield. Credit to 3scompany.

Tint percentage isn’t the be-all and end-all, though.

Some films, like Spectra Photosync, provide great heat rejection protection even at lighter tints —

As measured by the film’s TSER (Total Solar Energy Rejection) and IRR (Infra-Red Rejection), technical details we’ll discuss later.

Where to Find the Best Shops

Although I’m not associated to any particular company, I’ll discuss the most popular film of each of the following brands in the next section.

(You can find authorized installers in your area by clicking on each.)

Call several installers to get a sense of where the prices are at in your area.

Also, consider looking for each installer’s profile in Yelp or Google Reviews to verify whether they’ve done tint jobs in Teslas before.

If you’re in the Bay Area, OC Detailing is a shop many owners are very happy with. They work with XPEL — and have done wrap, PPF, and tint jobs on many Teslas.

Triple check that they know how to protect the electronics under the dashboard when tinting the windshield.

And be careful ordering films online and going to a shop.

(Some professionals don’t install products they don’t sell. Selling material is how they may maximize gains to stay in business.)

Different Tint Types For Tesla Model 3 (And Which One Is Better)

  1. Dyed Tint

It is a standard, entry-level tint film with a color dye that is mainly used for privacy purposes. It appears attractive but when it comes to heat reduction, this type of tint is of little to no use.

Does a good job of preventing your interior from being damaged by direct sunlight, however. 

Sun exposure causes it to fade and turn purple or other colors over time. This is the most inexpensive option offered by many tint businesses.

  1. Metalized Tint

Metalized materials are the second level of automotive window tint. 

To block the sunshine, the film is impregnated with microscopic metal particles rather than dyes. 

A metalized tint not only adds a beautiful sheen or luster to the glass, but also strengthens it, reducing the chance of it shattering.

It doesn’t fade and effectively protects heat and UV rays, however, it may create radio frequency interferences when you use GPS, radio, etc.

  1. Hybrid Tint (Combination of Dyed and Metalized Tint)

A hybrid tint is a fantastic option if you want the best of both tints mentioned so far.

A grey dye and titanium metallic flakes are commonly used in this type of window tint. 

It’s neither too dark nor too reflecting, making it ideal for blocking UV rays and lowering sun exposure indoors while also providing a mid-level tint film that doesn’t impair night driving.

It is less costly than a metalized tint and does not interfere with radio transmissions.

All things being equal, this tint type, though not the absolute best, tends to offer the best bang for your buck.

  1. Carbon Tint

To obscure the light, use multiple layers of polymer and carbon. It has a matte texture that blocks roughly 40% of infrared radiation, which is the primary cause of rising cabin temperatures. 

It also protects interior components like plastic trimmings, leather seats, and dashboards from fading and aging caused by UV exposure.

Another advantage of the carbon tint film is that it does not fade as quickly as the other types. As a result, it has a longer lifespan and can endure many years. Of course, there is a price premium to pay for this.

  1. Ceramic Tint

The best and most highly developed tint is currently on the market. Allows for the highest optical clarity and visibility while blocking the most heat and UV radiation (the lighter tints can block almost as much as the heavier tints). 

In addition, it is the most costly. It also appears to be the lightest of the films, which might be a benefit (if you want high heat protection without going too dark) or a disadvantage (if you want to go too dark).

  1. Crystalline Tint

Many automobile owners want the cooling and defensive benefits of window tinting without the darkening effects. 

By using a crystalline window tint, you may achieve this. It’s made to prevent UV and infrared rays, keeping the inside of your car cool and reducing the risk of extended wear and tear.

Window Tint Film Brands & How They Compare

Although the most important aspect of a well-done tint job is the installer,

The best films should offer above-average outside appearance, heat rejection and glare reduction —

While providing good visibility from the inside and guaranteeing decades of use with no fading or bubbles.

Here’s what you need to know about the top 5 films Tesla owners use.

Best Tint for Model 3 Overall: XPEL XR Plus

Tesla Model 3 Tint (XPEL) applied on windows.
XPEL tint applied on windows. No percentage specified. My guess is 20%.Credit to FISHEV / Tesla forums.

An improved version of XPEL’s popular XR lineup, XR Plus focuses on those who want to reduce heat as much as possible.

The film looks excellent, reduces glare significantly, and won’t interfere with your much needed connectivity.

If you’re looking for an all-around tint to make your driving more comfortable (and protect your interior), this is your best choice.

Your film is guaranteed for the life of the vehicle —

No fading, bubbling, peeling, or cracking — or your shop will remove and reapply a new film.

Navigate through XPEL’s dealer locator and you’ll notice the superb experience. Other dealer locators aren’t nearly as smooth.

Moreover, some film brands, like Spectra Photosync, don’t even offer a dealer locator, leaving your wondering where to get the film installed.

At medium tints, the film’s sun protection metrics are near the top on all categories.

Comparison between tint film brands @45-50%

It’s clear XPEL XR Plus provides above-average protection — proven numerically and through the comments of Tesla owners.

Either XR or XR Plus should be at the top of your list of considerations.

The brand also has “HP” (hybrid) and “CS” (color stable) tint lineups but these are barely mentioned among Tesla owners.

Pros:

✅ Easy-to-use dealer locator
✅ Installers worldwide
✅ Exceptional sun & heat protection, even at lighter tints
✅ Lifetime, transferrable warranty
✅ Brand with long standing record of quality

Cons:

❌ Newer product. Yet to be tested long-term in real life.

Premium Pick: Spectra Photosync

Tesla Model 3 Tint (35% Spectra Photosync) applied on windows.
70% windshield + 35% all-around on White Tesla Model 3 tint job. Credit to Premier Mobile.

Dealer locator not found.

If you want a lighter tint with exceptional solar protection, this is the product to install.

In the Tesla community, it’s regarded as the best film for solar UV & heat protection at low clarity levels — and the data proves it.

Comparison between film brands 2. 65-70%
SAC stands for Solar Adaptive Coating, a nano-technology built into Spectra Photosync films that improves heat rejection properties as the sun intensifies.

For reference, a 35% all-around + 75% windshield tint job resulted in a 20+ degree difference, lowering in-car temperature from 103 °F (39.4 °C) to 82 °F (27.8 °C).

Had the windshield done last week and the sides/rear done 2 months ago.
Windshield: Photosync 75
Sides/Rear: Photosync 35

Heat difference from the day before/of the windshield tint to the day after (same parking spot/orientation, same high temp) was about 20 degrees (103F to 82F interior).

I expect the differential to match or exceed the Florida side-by-side tests reported at Tesla Motors Club (30 degrees) once my Arizona road trips start.

Credit to TaoJones from Tesla forums.

THAT’s significant.

I find the blue tone of the tint much less appealing personally — but you can tell it offers amazing visibility from the inside.

Tesla Model 3 Tint (Photosync) as seen from the inside.
Hard to even tell it has a 35% VLT tint applied…

Tesla owners say this film has a conservative look —

Even their darkest film (35%) isn’t really that dark, which might explain its clearer interior visibility.

Tesla Model 3 Tint (Spectra) seen from the outside.
Yup… you can see right through.

The film is typically priced at a premium (as much as $1,500 or more) in high-cost-of-living areas.

Like others, the brand offers a lifetime warranty against fading, peeling, bubbling, purpling, and degradation in performance.

Unfortunately, I found no dealer locators to link to.

But being a product professionals claim it’s in a class of its own —

The final job — 70% windshield and back + 30% side windows — can be seen at 1:47.

I’d suggest you Google “spectra photosync + {your area}”, or simply call 3M or XPEL installers to ask if they work with Spectra film.

If you live in a hot area with strict tint laws like California,

Or if you simply want the ultimate in sun protection with a clearly visible tint, Spectra Photosync is definitely the way to go.

Pros:

✅ Best sun & heat protection at light or medium tints
✅ Lifetime warranty
✅ Touted as the best in the Tesla community

Cons:

❌ Expensive
❌ N0 dealer locator found

Tesla Model 3 Tint (3M) applied on windows.
3M Crystalline 20% back + 70% front on red Tesla Model 3 tint job. Credit to 00TvT00.

This is the tint many vehicles on the road have.

It’s what RPMTesla, a popular brand in the Tesla community, uses.

And although many people have used this film with no issues at all,

It has a few notable problems.

(1) The film may show a blue decoloration over the years, especially in hot areas.

Many shops don’t even work with 3M anymore due to the warranty fillings customers have claimed regarding this issue.

(2) When “tape tested” against Hüper Optik, for instance, 3M’s tint just peels right off like hair being removed with wax.

See the destruction at 0:20. Ouch, 3M!

Although decent quality, 3M film is generally sold in bulk to tint shops for a low price — so shops can improve their margins.

If your shop is charging you a premium to install 3M tint, forget it.

Call another shop or sway them to work with another film brand.

Unless you’re getting a significantly cheaper price ($200 to $300 at least), you’re better off with any other film on this article.

Pros:

✅ Good sun & heat protection overall
✅ Widely available
✅ Easier to find/negotiate deals
✅ Established brand

Cons:

❌ May fade and turn blue over time
❌ Fails “tape test” against other brands

Notable Mention: Hüper Optik

Tesla Model 3 Tint (Huper Optik).
Hüper Optik Ceramic on red Model 3. No tint percentage specified. Credit to zapbranighan.

Proving it better adheres to glass, Hüper Optik offers an above-average experience in every important aspect.

Customers say it “rejects more heat than I thought possible” — although it may not be as strong as Spectra Photosync.

Many shops work with it, but it certainly isn’t as widely available as Llumar or 3M.

Happy users have had “two years with Hüper Optik and it’s still flawless in appearance.”

And the film will hold a glass in place if it shatters during an accident.

One con professionals point to is its thicker film, which is more prone to bubbles — both during installation and over years of use.

Despite this, many shops have turned to Hüper Optik after many 3M warranty fillings, as bro199 disclosed in the following post:

A reputable tinter in my area that used to do Crystalline tint jobs informed me the following when I asked about having a car tinted with 3M Crystalline:

“We no longer carry crystalline due to the fact the color peels out of the topcoat. We have had numerous Warranty filings with EPD over this for 2 years and they refused to take care of it. Go on YouTube and watch the Huper Optik vs Crystalline tape test.

Proving that Hüper Optik offers a better customer experience than competitors.

Notable Mention: Llumar FormulaOne Pinnacle

Tesla Model 3 Tint (Llumar FormulaOne Pinnacle) applied on windows.
Pinnacle’s 35% rear and back windows + 55% front windows tint job. Credit to Kleenerth3.

Outside North America? Click here instead »

Llumar offers different tint films — but the general consensus in the Tesla community is this:

FormulaOne Pinnacle is the sweet spot in terms of price and performance — and it includes a lifetime, transferrable warranty.

As seen above, at 35%, you’re getting more than enough privacy with its darker tint…

But metrics suggest this film has the weakest (although still decent) sun protection of all.

Comparison between tint film brands @ 35%

Accessibility shouldn’t be an issue as most shops work with Llumar Pinnacle films.

But just like I said regarding 3M, unless you’re getting a good deal, you’ll be better off with another of our top picks.

Frequent Buyer Concerns:

If you want to save $500+, installing a film by yourself is possible.

There are one or two affordable pre-cut Tesla Model 3 tint kits available in Amazon — but these are different brands from the ones we discussed.

Finding pre-cut and by-the-foot film from our top 5 brands through eBay is more likely.

Here are some products and searches you may want to check out:

You can find authorized installers in your area by clicking on each brand below:

Then, assess whether they have experience with Teslas (and what owners’ experiences have been) by searching them on Yelp or Google.

You can also find some San Francisco recommendations on this thread.

Some Tesla owners decide not to tint their windshield.

However, if you live in a hot area, you’re going to WANT to have your windshield tinted.

An XPEL XR Plus or Spectra Photosync @70% should reduce heat significantly without being illegal in some states.

Make sure your shop pays special attention to prevent any liquid to seep into the electronics during the installation.

Some window tint films are absorptive rather than reflective —

That is, they prevent heat from penetrating the cabin by absorbing and retaining it.

Following this reasoning, people suggest the chances of glass cracking increases due to heat buildup.

That said, ceramic tint films (like XPEL XR or Hüper Optik Ceramic) shouldn’t absorb heat nor stress the glass in any significant way.

Discuss your concerns with your local shop to determine what’s the best type of film for you.

Do keep in mind that tinting any glass in your car can void factory warranties should any cracks happen.

Yes. Especially if you get the films with high Total Solar Energy Rejection (TSER) & Infra-Red Rejection (IRR).

As noted above, Spectra Photosync users reported a decrease of 20 °F in temperature — from 103 °F (39.4 °C) to 82 °F (27.8 °C) — under the same climate conditions.

I would expect a similar result with any of the films recommended above.

Results may vary but this data point suggests it does have an impact.

Alternative Products to Consider:

Head Light Eyelids & Tail Light Tint »

Tesla Model 3 tint on headlights and tail lights

Complete the darker, meaner look by adding this subtle Tesla Model 3 tint kit.

It won’t matter the angle people are looking from, they’ll notice your car looks different and more aggressive than theirs.

Complete Privacy Protection While Parked

Charging in lonely areas? Camping in your Tesla? Netflix Tesla party?

Fully cover all of your windows and enjoy the night by keeping stalkers at bay with Tesmat’s Privacy Screen.

✅ Quick setup
✅ Sleep peacefully with all windows and windshield covered
✅ Block sun in the morning
✅ Keep stalkers at bay
❌ Holding clips may break*

*The brand improved the clips recently, though — and offers free replacements for customers who have issues.

Paint Protection Film: XPEL Ultimate Plus

Shiny Red Tesla Model 3 with XPEL Ultimate Plus PPF. Credit to Darien Detail.

Right after delivery, Model 3 owners flock to shops to get window tint done — but protecting your paint is arguably even more important.

Take a look at the primary benefits of using PPF in your Model 3 — and click the link below to learn more about the subject.

✅ Glossy finish keeps car looking new
✅ Superior self-healing properties than more affordable alternatives
✅ 10-year warranty
✅ Available in pre-cut & by-the-foot form
✅ Remarkable word of mouth
❌ Expensive

Learn more about Paint Protection Film »

So What’s the Best Model 3 Tint After All?

Most reputable shops will have one or many of the film brands described above.

Hopefully, looking at the different brands helped you make up your mind.

In the end, XPEL offers all the goodies in one package with their XR Plus film.

Although newer and not as tested as the regular XR, all the heat protection metrics are above average — and their lifetime warranty is pretty compelling.

Find a reputable installer through their database, ask for quotes, and request an appointment to start enjoying a comfy and private interior experience as soon as possible.

Zac Ludicrous

Mechanical engineer by profession. TSLA shareholder before the hype. EV enthusiast all day long. Zac enjoys learning about the future of battery technology, autonomy, and EVs. He considers Tesla Model 3 the most important vehicle of the 21st century -- and is in a quest to improve the ownership experience of every Model 3 owner he possibly can.

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