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Creases & Distortions Normal in Windshield Tint?

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Hey everyone - wondering if creases are inevitable in a windshield tint? It's on a '16 Mazda CX-9 with 47k miles. Went to the best detailing/tint/paint protection shop in town and got XPEL Prime XR (ceramic), and chose this place because I've heard the owner is as a perfectionist, at least with detailing. He says because of the massive size of tint on windshields that it's inevitable to end up with creases and distortion because the film folds/creases as they try to get it into the car without getting it dirty. He's an XPEL paint protection magician so I want to trust him, but it seems like technique (IE rolling) could avoid this?


The creases almost look like they were from over-heating while shrinking because they're surrounded by heavy orange-peel-like dots and spider-webbing, though he denies that. They're small and hard to photograph, but in a windshield at eye level it drives me crazy to keep catching these weird distortions while driving. Any thoughts appreciated. Aside from how to proceed with the tinter (he's basically said this is the best he can do) I'm most curious how you guys get clean windshield installs, and if this is acceptable in your eyes. I'm admittedly OCD so it wouldn't be the first time something seemingly small drove me crazy. 


This is still after they stripped and redid the first windshield job, because there were four 3-4" long creases on the windshield at the bottom corner of the drivers side, and after a couple of weeks a weird haze/distortion about 16" x 3" appeared on the passengers side of the windshield.


The rest of the job was fairly  clean. Side window edges are pretty close to edge of glass (maybe 1/16" in an area) and though I mentioned marks on the side windows near the side mirrors, I didn't raise hell over them or a cluster of specks on the drivers window. I wasn't wanting to ask them to redo 2/3 of the job.


What do you think? This is my first windshield and it's been a while since I've had tint done. My wife's Llumar budget-level dye tint on her Toyota doesn't have these marks on any of her windows, and that car had 90k miles when it was tinted.





Edited by mrmax
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15 hours ago, Old timer said:

Technically we call those a zipper mark. Most likely the installer tried to Frankenstein it in. Should have back roll it. And to think I obsess over a speck of dust.

Thanks old timer. So you think it's acceptable at this point for me to ask for him to strip it and refund the windshield? If you think this is unacceptable maybe I'm not as OCD as I thought.

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Serious question, if your windshield isn't freshly cleaned would anyone else gravitate to these marks out would they not notice them?


If they are in you direct vision or you simply can't get over it then do something.  If you want it tinted though take it AS IS to another shop and show them your issues so they can decide if they want to work for you.


You may be surprised by what another shop will say.

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Could be a few different reasons.  I tried XPEL prime in the past, I wasn't very fond of it. The "zippers" could be from the film not sliding adequately on the windshield even with enough slip solution, that's just the design of the adhesive on their film.  The hazing was another reason I didn't like it.  I did a full windshield on a TeslaX and also got distortion and a bit of hazing. Take into consideration that the TeslaX windshield is the biggest window on any automotive vehicle, but in my opinion the amount of distortion I saw on the XPEL film was not to my satisfaction. At the end of the day, I would encourage you to address the issue with the shop and take into consideration the price vs the quality of installation.  Maybe a small refund could be a solution rather than a full redo.  If the shop is credible, they should be able to have a satisfactory solution. 

You mentioned Llumar on your wife's vehicle, that's my choice for windshield film now a days. 

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On 7/26/2020 at 10:41 AM, Ryker said:

Serious question, if your windshield isn't freshly cleaned would anyone else gravitate to these marks out would they not notice them?


Thanks for your time and thoughts, guys. Ryker - RE: freshly cleaned windshield - I've thought through that and tested it. The issue is less the 1/2" lines/marks - it's the distortion around them and the nearby dotted areas. My eyes can deal with the small lines because it looks like any other piece of dust or hair on the outside of a normal windshield, but the distorted areas feel like you're looking through a historic leaded glass windshield (with the light distortions) and they screw with my eyes. It's different/worse than a dirty windshield.


We're going to test it for a couple more days and see what we think. I'll take it to another shop and ask their opinion, and in the end we've left it cordial with the installer (said I'd keep him updated after he said this is the best they can do) so if it's still an issue I'll bring it back to him and see what he thinks after seeing it in person. If this is the best he can do maybe he can strip it and offer a refund or credit or something. He's a reputable shop - I hate to be a pain but also don't want to feel like I paid for a windshield that's gonna drive me crazy. We keep our cars for a long time.


Jerry - thanks for the thoughts, it's possible XPEL is the issue. Thanks for the recommendation on Llumar. If we go that route I'll need to find a shop that offers it, as the shop we used a few years back uses 3M now. Another shop I know of uses SunTek.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks guys for your help on this - went by the shop today and the owner offered a refund without any hard feelings. I'm going to take the current tint job by one or two more shops to make sure they see the distortions and creases and know that they can meet my expectations before pulling the trigger on a redo.


On 7/26/2020 at 2:02 PM, Jerry Hernandez said:

You mentioned Llumar on your wife's vehicle, that's my choice for windshield film now a days. 


I talked to a Llumar shop that suggested Formula One Pinncale, told him about the issues I've had and he said he's not had that issue with that film. What do you all think of that film? Jerry is this what you use? Not sure if Stratos is better or if it justifies being double the price.


My other option is a 3M shop I used years ago. Their IR ceramic is more expensive than Formula One Pinncale, and Crystalline is even more expensive than IR. I'll be honest I don't know the difference between 3M IR Ceramic and Crystalline. Any suggestions welcome, I'm willing to pay more for a film with the highest clarity and no distortions.

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Hello. I use the Air80 from Llumar. The Pinnacle series is for the Formula 1 dealers from Llumar, that stuff is pricey and not much better performance than Air 80.  Personally the 3M is a lot about paying for a name brand.  I've always focused on Value for the Money and the Air80 IMO is a terrific fit for the way I run my shop. Air80 has a 42%TSER 99%UV and 89 or 91% IR. Just did this Camaro all around and the guy loved it.



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