Can You Tint a Leased Car?

in Financing and Leasing
Blue Porsche on a street

Source: Pixabay

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 likely want to evaluate the window tint work to see whether it suits 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 essential to check with 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. Most dealerships depend on preliminary and final inspections to determine if the window tint is suitable. Consult your lease contract or dealer for detailed information on window tinting and other enhancements.

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, many major manufacturers charge for tinted window modifications, 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. If the dealer installs your window tint, you should be confident that no issues will surface during the final inspection. This will lead to higher-quality jobs than doing it yourself or going to a private detailer that doesn’t specialize in tinting. Remember 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 cost 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 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 before the lease return date. This inspection is designed to notify you of all vehicle issues so that you may avoid paying exorbitant fees after 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 or if too much pressure is used. You will be charged for removing or repairing 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.

Frequently Asked Questions

A: It depends since every state has its own laws regarding tinted car windows. For example, New Jersey’s legislation prohibits you from tinting the windows of the driver and passenger sides, but it’s perfectly legal to tint the rear windshield and rear windows. Your local auto tinting shop should know your state’s car tinting laws, but you’re still responsible if they get it wrong.

Q: Can you tint a leased vehicle?

A: The window tinting policy surrounding a leased vehicle will depend on the specific dealer and manufacturer. Before you think about tinting your leased car, check your contact or call the dealership about upgrades, including window tints. Generally, a professionally-applied tint is considered an upgrade that increases the vehicle’s value.

Q: Can you ask a dealer to tint your leased vehicle?

A: Many dealerships will be happy to tint your vehicle’s windows, as many offer it as part of their detailing services. If the dealership applies the tint, you’re rest assured that it won’t cause an issue during the inspection.

Q: Can I DIY tint a leased vehicle?

A: Yes, but only if you know what you’re doing. A botched DIY tint installation will likely end up in expensive penalties.

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