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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello fellow impala members,

Let me start off by saying that this is the first time I am going to have my windows tinted so I am both excited and cautious at the moment. I've been asking around local tint shops about what kind of tints/films (no idea how to differentiate between the two, sorry) they carried and price estimates, and have been given several options.

Now, because I am new at this, my only knowledge about window tints comes from online research.*
What I have been offered:

Madico Charcool $250 4 doors
3M Fx Premium $200 4 doors (also offered crystalline, but did not give me a price)
Solar Gard Galaxie $300 4 doors + back windshield
Llumar ATC $275 4 doors
Llumar CTX $395 4 doors

My #1 priority in looking for a tint is fading over time. I intend to keep my car long term so I am looking for a film that will not fade. I have read online that carbon and ceramic films do not fade, but dye films do. I guess I am unsure as to whether any of the films mentioned above are dye or carbon/ceramic.

If anyone can share any thoughts on the offers or one what kind of films they have used, it would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks! :D
 

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I can't really help answer as to what brand of tint is best, but I can tell you to pick a shop based on quality of work, lifetime warranty and price. As to how dark to go, I would say 20% minimum... I went 5% and love it, but being that dark isn't for everyone. For the first week the windows are tinted, do not clean the windows or put them down... Doing so may interfere with the tint adhering to the glass.
 

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First thing to know it is tint not tints...

In Illinois the darkest you can go legally is 35% on front sides, back sides and rear window
Illinois 2016/2017 Tint Laws

Out of those choices I'd probably go for the Llumar CTX
 

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Legalities aside, I would go for 20%. I did 35% on my 2012 Impala and wish I would have went darker. In PA, ANY tint is illegal, so I'm just as illegal with 35% as I would be with 5%. :)

Like @WickedGoat mentioned above, make sure you use a reputable shop that has been around for a while. A lot of these tint shops are here one day and gone the next, so their "lifetime warranty" is useless. Now, if you get a more expensive tint, they usually offer nationwide lifetime warranties, so even if the shop you used closes it's doors and you have issues with the tint 5 years later, any other authorized dealer of the tint will honor the warranty.

I used 3M tint - 3M ColorStable 35%. It definitely costs more up front than the cheaper tints, but it has great scratch resistance and will not fade. It also has the nationwide lifetime warranty.

I know that there are some other more expensive tints that are "self healing", which is kind of cool. So even if you did scratch it, it would "heal" itself! Can't remember the brand offhand though.

My point is that I would spend more up front and get a quality tint with a nationwide lifetime warranty. So many people just use the cheapest place they can find. If you plan on keeping the car long-term, the difference between $200 and $500 is meaningless over the life of the car. And it's nice knowing that you'll *never* have to pay another dime for tint.

Just my two cents! :)

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Also remember if your windows are tinted already from factory then the tint you put on just adds to that. For example if your windows are 70% from factory and you add 35% tint to it then it would actually be about 25%
 

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I go 35% on the two front windows, and 20% on all the rears. A couple of reasons I do this. The biggest reason is because I like to be able to see out at night, and 20% is just too dark to see through clearly at night. Also, 35% is legal on the two front windows, so you don't have to worry about having to remove it, should you get caught being darker than legal. With the rest of the windows being 20%, you can't even see that the front windows are lighter. My current Impala looks like it has 35% all the way around, and that's a little light, but still gets the UV protection, and that's the number one reason for tinting.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
**update**

Thanks all for the replies, it's all been very useful information.

Update: i asked the 3m fx premium guy if he carried color stable, and turns out he does! The only problem is that he said he doesn't like it because it's annoying to work with and install. This is why he pushed fx premium so much because he said its easier to install and work with.
Sounds kind of odd to me for someone to say that to me, should this be a concerning factor?

Thanks!

PS: I scratched out Charcool, he works from his house which doesn't really sit well with me. And im trying to get some more info on Solar Gar Galaxie
 

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the level of tint depends on what you're looking for. are you looking for something darker than factory but enough that the cops would leave you alone (idk how your police treat tint in your area), or are you looking to make it difficult to see in the car.

my 2010 impala has 18% on the rear doors/windows with 35% on the front doors per what michigan law allowed at the time i lived there. the wifes 2011 cruze has 20% all the way around (we ignored indiana's 35% legal limit and have never had an issue with either of our cars). with that being said during the day you can see into my car a whole lot easier than the cruze (outside lighting makes a big difference on this as brighter days its easier to see in, darker days it's harder to see into the car through the front windshield).

this year i'm getting the front doors redone and will go with the 20% on the front doors this time around for the impala as the difference during the time night driving is negligible (you can't see well from either car at night in a dimly lit area, city driving with lots of lighting it isn't too bad). either car i find myself putting down the front windows to back up at night plus looking around for potential things to avoid before i get into the car.

when we had both of ours done at reputable places i didn't ask about the quality of tint the offer, i just got whatever they sold me (stupid i know but i didn't think about it much). the only reason i am getting the fronts on mine redone is my wife was helping me clean the car and used windex on the front window before i could catch her....now it's getting fish eyes in the tint badly and my ocd is going bonkers looking at it daily now.

a side note, if i get pulled over i just roll down both front windows and have yet to be asked about the tint. i feel like if you make it easier on the cops they just leave you alone for tint (and i've seen waaayyyy darker than mine around town frequently for years lol).

just my two cents though...
 

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the only reason i am getting the fronts on mine redone is my wife was helping me clean the car and used windex on the front window before i could catch her....now it's getting fish eyes in the tint badly and my ocd is going bonkers looking at it daily now.
Good point - that is another benefit of the 3M ColorStable tint - it's "Windex safe". That is something that I know 3m specifically mentions. I'm not sure if other brands of tint are also windex-safe or not, but 3M is (at least the ColorStable type - not sure about other 3M tints).

Sent from my HP SlateBook 10 x2 PC using Tapatalk
 

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Good point - that is another benefit of the 3M ColorStable tint - it's "Windex safe". That is something that I know 3m specifically mentions. I'm not sure if other brands of tint are also windex-safe or not, but 3M is (at least the ColorStable type - not sure about other 3M tints).

Sent from my HP SlateBook 10 x2 PC using Tapatalk
yeah on both cars they said specifically don't use ammonia based cleaners on the tint. which is fine as i've found 50/50 isopropyl alcohol and water mix does a decent job cleaning windows and getting rid of the haze.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
the level of tint depends on what you're looking for. are you looking for something darker than factory but enough that the cops would leave you alone (idk how your police treat tint in your area), or are you looking to make it difficult to see in the car.
I'm primarily looking for something that's as dark as 35% allows. I've narrowed it down to either

Solar Gard Galaxie vs. Llumar ATC vs. Llumar CTX

Honestly at this point, I'm looking to see which one the 3 lasts longer (about 8 years is my target in the chicagoland area) and which one has a more black look to it (since everything else such as warranty and shop rep has checked out).
I know both llumar films are charcoal and the galaxie film is lack, but is there really a noticeable difference? I just would rather have a black look then a dark Grey look

Thanks!
 
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