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Can You Tint a Leased Car?

in Car Buying Tips
Blue Porsche on a street

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Leasing a vehicle is a great way to get a new model every few years with the benefit of having routine covered maintenance and a lower down payment. Car dealerships and ownership groups effectively let customers drive their vehicles for some time but generally with stricter leasing regulations than they would be than someone buying a car for cash or with a trade-in vehicle because of its higher risk.

With these stricter guidelines in place, drivers aren’t able to customize their rides as much. So for those that like visual personalization, can you tint a leased car?

As a general rule, the dealership will most likely want to evaluate the window tint work to see whether it is suitable for the vehicle and meets its standards. Adding tinted windows to your car may be regarded as an upgrade if done correctly, and it would raise the vehicle’s resale price. If that’s the case, the dealership would gladly welcome it back. If the tinting is done poorly, it may lower the value, and the dealership will likely charge you on the return.


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Ultimately, the answer is that it depends. Tinted car windows vary significantly across the U.S. and in New Jersey; for example, the state prohibits window tinting of any kind on the driver and passenger side front window but allows it on the back windows and rear windshield.

Many states have window tinting limited to around 30%, which means the plastic film can only block 30% of the light passing through the glass. The remaining 70% of light must be transmitted through the glass. It’s important to check with both the dealership and the local DMV to see the regulations for tints in the state.

Some other states that have very little or alloy tinting to any degree on vehicle windows:

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

The dealership and manufacturer solely determine your leased car’s window tinting policy. For detailed information on window tinting and other enhancements, consult your lease contract or contact your dealer. To determine if the window tint is suitable, most dealerships depend on preliminary and final inspections.

There are a few manufacturers that have limited, very loose guidelines when it comes to window tints. These brands allow window tinting on leased vehicles and do not charge for wear and tear.

  • Ford
  • GM
  • Honda
  • MINI
  • Mercedes-Benz
  • Porsche
  • Nissan (only chargeable if it’s peeling off the window or has noticeable chips or tears)

However, plenty of major manufacturers charge for tinted window modifications, most commonly as “excessive wear and tear.” Some may have varying charges, so it will be good to check with the manufacturer when you lease the vehicle from the dealership. These brands are:

  • Ally
  • Audi
  • BMW
  • Chrysler
  • Hyundai (there’s a self-assessment tool to determine the amount of damage)
  • Infinity
  • Kia (there’s a self-assessment tool to determine the amount of damage)
  • Lexus
  • Mazda (some window tints are acceptable, it will depend on the color and percentage)
  • Subaru
  • Tesla
  • Toyota
  • Volkswagen
  • Volvo

A professional window tint treatment is typically thought of as an enhancement that raises the vehicle’s worth. As a result, if you ask if you can tint a leased car, most dealers would likely accept it if you return a vehicle with a decent quality window tint. If you return the car with a messed-up window tint, such as a DIY job that created bubbles or irregular edges, expect to be charged to have it removed.


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Can You Tint a Leased Car at a Dealership Itself?

The manufacturers listed above that don’t charge wear and tear for tinted windows may also include window tinting in their detailing packages. This will lead to higher-quality jobs than doing it yourself or going to a private detailer that doesn’t specialize in tinting. If the dealer installs your window tint, you should be confident that no issues will surface during the final inspection. Keep in mind that dealerships want to make a profit on whatever service they provide, so they might not give you the greatest rate on the market, but the price includes your peace of mind.

Can You Tint a Leased Car at a Third-Party Detailer?

Nothing is stopping you from finding a third-party vendor to tint your leased car’s windows, but you’ll want to be sure the individual or firm can provide a professional job with long-lasting effects. Many professional detailing firms will perform an excellent job on your window tinting, but you’ll want to get a few quotes, read some reviews, and make an educated selection. If the cheapest option isn’t done correctly and the dealership charges you for window tint removal, the most affordable choice may end up costing you more.

Can You Tint a Leased Car Without Any Penalty?

This is entirely dependent on the results of the final examination. If the evaluation decides that the window tint does not match, is of inferior quality, or that the glass is damaged, you will be required to remove it or charged by the dealer. In some situations, both penalties will be applied.

A pre-return examination is usually performed 90 days prior to the lease return date. This inspection is designed to notify you of all vehicle issues so that you may avoid paying exorbitant fees at the conclusion of your lease. Ask the return inspector if the window tint is appropriate or if you need to remove it during your pre-return inspection.


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Is it Possible to Get a Bill for Tinted Windows at the End of the Lease?

Yes. During tint placement and removal, sharp blades are employed. It can scratch and gouge the glass if the blade is constructed of unsuitable material if too much pressure is used. You will be charged for the removal or repair of the window tint if the final inspection finds that you have damaged the glass or that the quality of the window tint is poor. When in doubt, ask your dealer before you make any modifications to avoid damage fees.

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