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Tint Your Headlights

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Ok, there may be a question of legality where you live or wildlife tends to jump in front of cars and you need every lumen available from your headlights.  If that's the case this mod is not for you.  If, however, you've tinted your windows and want to finish the look read on! 

This actually started as a project aimed at tinting the chrome trim on the Avalon's dashboard.  There are certain times of day when the glare can be blinding.  During my research on tints and wraps, I discovered this precut tint and thought I'd give it a shot.  The result, I think, is well worth it.  Oh, the dash trim tint?  Still a work in progress.

What You'll Need

1. Tint. 
There are many options both in product and color ranging from clear to orange, yellow, pink......  The tint shown on this page is "Smoke."  Since I'd never done this before I chose a precut product from RVinyl. Another way to do this (and probably save some money) is to purchase some vinyl sheets.  You just have to trim them after application yourself (see the video link below).

2. Simple Tools including a squirt bottle squirt bottle  and a squeegee .  squeegee

3. A heat gun heatgun You don't need a Bosch, I just thought it looked cool.  I used a (less than $10) gun from Harbor Freight.  No heat gun?  No problem, a hair dryer will work fine.

4. A needle for popping any large air bubbles you end up with that simply won't be urged on by your squeegee. 

5. Latex/Nitrile or any disposable glove to prevent leaving fingerprints on the sticky side of the vinyl.

6. Trimming tool Blade for trimming vinyl if you're using sheets.  This probably won't be necessary if a pre-cut product is used but next time you're at Harbor Freight you might want to pick up a couple anyway.  They've very handy to have around.

7. A stool
to sit on while working.  Your back will thank you.

8. A helper
would be really nice especially as you're getting started.  Trying to hold one edge while heating, spraying and molding will have you wishing for a third hand, at least until you get the hang of it.

9. Music! 
I'm pretty sure there's a rule against working in the garage without music.  Just sayin'

How To Do It

1. There are many YouTube videos
that offer an assortment of tips and tricks. I'd suggest you watch at least one, probably more because you'll learn a little more each time.  RVinyl also offers an instruction page that'll be very helpful and includes a formula for a soap and water mixture you'll put in the squirt bottle.  The mixture prevents the film from sticking before you want it stuck.  Trust me, this is a good thing.

2. There's little I can add to all the above but can tell you there's nothing like experience.  I was about to give up the effort while applying film to the first headlight.  Yes, it was precut and should fit but hey, there's no way this is going to work I thought.  You know how those videos tell you the film stretches?  Believe them.  After an initial fight I figured out a couple of things I was doing wrong (don't be afraid to use the heat gun) and on it went.  The second headlight took half the time and came out absolutely perfect.

3. I learned something that isn't included in any of the instructions (or maybe I missed it).  It's best to start on one end of the headlight and work in quarters.  I.E. line up and stick the front quarter first.  Then move to the second quarter and heat the film.  Stretch and mold it as necessary then use your squeegee to stick it down.  Move to the next quarter, heat, stretch, mold and so on.  Trying to stick just one edge then heat and stretch the entire piece of film simply doesn't work.  In case you hadn't noticed, the Avalon features a large, complicated headlight cover with lots of curves.

So, check it out!  If you like the look set aside a couple of hours (the first one takes a lot longer than the second if you've never done this).

Full Frontal  Quarter View  Closeup 
  Note, this is "Smoke" tint.  You probably don't want to go any darker for a car used on the street.