PSA - Do not tint windshield

PSA - Do not tint windshield

Hi all,

I took delivery of my Model 3 about two weeks ago. As a previous owner of a Model S, I have to say that I am pleasantly surprised by the finished product. Not only do I have an easier time getting in and out, it’s also a fun car to drive with some really cool features. Unfortunately not all is well in the land of Tesla.

For those who live in a hot and sunny climate and are used to tinting all their windows, including the windshield, don’t. My Model 3 has been at the SC for over a week because the computer fried after liquid penetrated the area between the windshield and dashboard. The problem began after the initial cleaning of the windshield. Although paper towels were laid out on the dash and over the screen, just spraying the windshield and wiping it clean was enough to cause the screen to begin something called phantom touch (google it). This caused the AC to turn on randomly, frustrating the installer and myself as the AC just kept turning on no matter what I did. I eventually I just turned the fan all the way down and figured I’ll deal with the problem afterward as I previously read that phantom touch is a known issue on the Model 3. Anyway, by the time the tint installation was complete, the screen no longer worked. Luckily the car remained drivable but without the use of the screen, all the controls and gauges were not available. I tried to reset the screen, but it was evident that there was some other issue going on here. I drove the Model 3 to the local SC for them to diagnose the problem. So far they replaced the screen and now they are replacing the computer. Hopefully that will fix it, but I’m definitely concerned about this given that just cleaning the windshield can potentially render your car unusable. Crazy.

Now, before people get crazy over tinting the front windshield, I’ve been doing this for years and tinted the windshield of my Model S without a problem using the same installer. In the great State of Florida, it is legal to tint the front windshield due to medical necessity. I’ve been doing it since I was diagnosed with a cancerous lesion on my nose which was successfully excised and replaced with skin from the back of my ear. As I was directed by my doctor to do all I can to avoid direct sunlight, I tint my windshield. I have read on the TMC forums that this is a known issue and some dealers are informing owners on delivery about this so they don’t do it. My delivery specialist never mentioned it and since a users manual was not included in the glove box or on the “About” screen, I don’t know if it’s something I should have known. I did watch some introductional videos on the website but they are very basic and don’t mention anything regarding tinting restrictions.

Hopefully this post helps those planning on doing this to avoid it, but if you have/had any similar issues, I would like to hear about them.

mars73 | June 26, 2018

A minor point of information here, this is "tinting" primarily for infrared heating, not to reduce visible light. UV is on the other end of the visible spectrum and it is unhealthy and should be avoided (we think). UV is easy to block with many plastics.

Infrared is different but can be reduced with modern films that reduce IR heating in the passenger cabin. There seems to be a negative effect with film application in terms of night time headlight glare somewhat related to the angle of the windshield. If you drive a lot at night you might not be happy with the extra glare. I am not sure I would apply IR film again because of this glare and now that the cabin temp can be moderated by the recent SW load.

Medically, reduced UV exposure is particularly indicated related to certain skin diseases, skin cancer, cataracts. However for otherwise modest exposure, eliminating UV has the effect of reducing vitamin D production, not a good thing. We have evolved to life outdoors and with lots of vitamin D in our systems. Our present indoor life has reduced our vitamin D levels. It is probably good to get a little direct sunlight regularly. Many modern skin lotions include UV blockers, read the label.

Agent_86 | June 26, 2018

Has anyone done 3M crystalline 90@ on the windshield for heat and can comment on the glare or other side-effects

evanc4 | June 27, 2018

I just got my windshield tinted and everything seems great. 3M Crystalline from Protective Film Solutions in Orange County.

Mtangri | September 22, 2018

Thx for all the comments folks. Decided to avoid issues with liquid and possible "phantom touches" or fried computers and purchased heatshield from Amazon for 40 bucks, Tesla's version costs 75, moderately unwieldy but worth the inconvenience

howard | September 22, 2018

I had Huper Optik Ceramic applied to all the windows, back glass, roof and yes windshield. The Huper Optik authorized installer has done a bunch of previous cars and trucks for me. He has also done a bunch of Tesla's including model 3s. The water intrusion is due to bad installers. There are ways to insure that there is no water intrusion. They carefully put a custom absorbent rope/sock down in the crack below the windshield apply tape just above it adhered to plastic on top of cloth on the dash. The full tint makes a huge difference. If I buy another one for my wife I will do the same. It just makes to big difference in heat rejection, comfort and power consumption (AC is set 5 degrees higher and I feel cooler) not to for me.

billlake2000 | September 22, 2018

Howard, usually just comes down to whether they know what they're doing.

zicrovjames | October 13, 2018

Applying TINT on windows of cars and houses is necessary as far as protection is concerned this article is right on the point that a car's windshield should never be tinted for certain reasons. Tinting in itself is an art that can be learned through regular practice and an institute called TINT college has the necessary means to teach this art and also provide certification for it.

shaft444 | November 6, 2018

hello. my model 3 will be delivered tomorrow. Any places that someone could recommend that I tint my car in south Florida Fort lauderdale miami area ? thanks

Tesla2018 | November 6, 2018

I had mine done at AutoNuvo in Ft Lauderdale (954)459.5522 and they did a perfect job. I won free tinting from them at a fundraiser at a Ferrari dealer. They do a lot of really expensive cars and were doing a new Rolls convertible when I was there. The person who did it has a model 3 so they have experience with them.