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Can You Tint a Leased Car?

Can You Tint a Leased Car?

Sometimes, people are charged money for changes they make to a leased car. Can you tint a leased car?

Tinting a leased car is usually a bad idea, and the dealership will charge you a fee for the “damage” you did to the windows. However, this doesn’t always happen. If you talk to the dealership first and make sure the tint is of good quality, they might not charge you.

The rules for tinting a leased car changes from dealership to dealership, so make sure you talk to someone before tinting your windows.

Can You Tint a Leased Car?

A lot of the time, you will have to pay more money when you turn in a leased car that you tinted. Modifying or improving a car you won’t keep forever is usually a bad idea. 

If you modify a leased car, you are wasting money on improvements that you won’t benefit from in the long run. You may also be charged money when you turn in a leased car that you modified. 

The more you modify a leased car, the more they will charge you when you turn it in. You are legally required to return a leased car in the same condition that you got it in. If there is any damage to your car when you return it, you will have to pay for it. 

You will also have to pay for many modifications you make to your leased car or truck. They will probably not see your modifications as improvements and will charge you for returning your car in anything other than the original factory condition. 

Even Small Modifications Can Cost You Money

Even tinting your windows is a bad idea if you want to minimize the charge you get when you return your leased car. Even such a small modification may be considered “excessive wear” and cost you money. They are legally allowed to and likely will charge you money if you modify your leased car in almost any way. 

Other small modifications, such as adding a straight-piped exhaust, will cost you money. Again, they usually won’t see these modifications as improvements. They are legally allowed to and therefore will charge you money when you return the car. 

There’s a chance that you won’t lose money or will even save money if you return a leased car with improvements. If whoever tints your windows does a great job, and it looks right for your car, it might increase the car’s value when you turn it in.

However, don’t bet on saving money when you return a leased car with improvements. It is much more likely that you will be charged a fee when you return your car. 

Consult the Dealership First

Talk to whoever you leased the car from and ask them if tinting the windows is ok. They might tell you that you will be charged extra, that it doesn’t make a difference, or that it will increase the car’s value. 

Consult the Dealership First
The dealership may or may not think the tint was an improvement. They might consider it a step down and make you pay to reverse the tint, or they might like it and keep it. They will always make you pay to reverse it if they don't like it. 

Sometimes, it depends on the quality of the tint you paid for. If it wasn’t done well or won’t last long, you will be charged extra. However, you might save money or not lose money if you get a high-quality tint that will last a long time. 

If there is any damage to or modification of your vehicle, the dealership will notice. They will thoroughly inspect the car, so they will notice any changes. If the dealership doesn’t like the tint, they will remove the tint and deep clean the windows at your expense. 

What If You Have Already Had Your Windows Tinted?

If you have already had your windows tinted and the dealership says they don’t approve of it, the best idea might be removing the tint yourself. This might cost less than whatever the dealership charges you. 

You can also remove the tint yourself, but you have to do a good job. If you remove the tint yourself, look at your windows carefully and make sure the tint is completely gone. 

Some Manufacturers Are More Lenient

Sometimes, your car isn’t owned by the dealership, but by the manufacturer. In that case, some manufacturers are more lenient on modifications than others. A finance company might also own your car. 

The following companies might not charge you for tinting the windows:

  • Mazda
  • Mercedes
  • Nissan
  • Porsche
  • MINI

At least those five companies don’t have anything in their policy that says that tinting the windows will result in a fee when you return the vehicle. However, the contract might indirectly say that you have to pay for tinting your windows. 

Therefore, you should always talk to whoever owns your leased car first. There is no other reliable way to know whether you will lose money getting your windows tinted.  

Porsche lets you tint the windows as long as the dealership does it. If anyone else does it, you have to pay to remove the tint. Some other companies might have a similar policy. 

Some Manufacturers Don’t Want the Windows Tinted

Some manufacturers clearly don’t want the windows tinted and will charge you extra if you tint them. These manufacturers include:

  • GM
  • Toyota
  • Lexus
  • Tesla
  • Ford
  • Audi
  • BMW

All of those companies have clear guidelines saying that you should not tint the windows and will have to pay a fee if you do. Hyundai and Volkswagen “let the inspection results determine” if the tinted windows count as damage you have to pay for. Some companies have unclear policies. 

Other Minor Modifications for Leased Cars

Usually, changing the color of a leased car isn't a good idea and will result in fees. The dealership or manufacturer wants you to return the car in as close to the original condition as possible. 

For small and easily removable modifications, such as window stickers, you should reverse the changes yourself. If you take your window stickers off before you return the car, no one will know or care that you used them.  

Key Takeaways to Tinting a Leased Car

If you tint your windows, your car dealership will probably charge you money when you return the car. They will consider it “excessive wear” and not an improvement. 

Any kind of modification to a leased car is usually a bad idea. The dealership expects you to return your car in the same condition you got it in and not modify it at all. 

Sometimes, your dealership won’t care that you tinted the windows. At best, it will even increase your car’s value. Talk to the dealership and ask about tinting the windows or modifying the car in any other way first. 

If the manufacturer rather than the dealership owns your car, it depends on the manufacturer. Some dealerships clearly don’t want the windows tinted, others have ambiguous policies. 

Zach Reed

Hi, I'm the founder of! Having owned a wide variety of vehicles in my life, I was astounded at how hard it can be to find answers to common automotive questions. Rather than sit idly, I decided to create this website to help others!