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What is the Difference Between Static-Cling Tint and Self-Adhesive Tint

Updated on July 5, 2012
Chrysler Crossfire Pre-cut Tint in Static-Cling Blackout
Chrysler Crossfire Pre-cut Tint in Static-Cling Blackout | Source

Smoked Tinting Films for Headlights and Taillights

In the aftermarket car modding community many people have taken to tinting their headlights and taillights as a way of enhancing the look of their vehicles and to give their lights added protection from the elements and harmful UV rays. Although spray on products such as VHT and spray paints can achieve the end of tinting lights they do so in a completely permanent fashion. In addition to the permanence of spray tint such methods also are unable to protect the lights from damage by rock hits, etc. For all of these reasons, many tuners and tint ships recommend using films instead of paints.

Tint films come in two major types:

  1. Static-cling Films
  2. Self-adhesive Films

In the following hub we will explore the differences between the two to help you make the best choice when making your purchase.


Static-Cling Tint

Static-cling tint works on the same basis as does sandwich wrap: it clings to the surface of the head or taillight via a weak force which can be easily interrupted by pulling at the film. For this reason, static-cling film is great for use on areas where you want to have the flexibility to remove it at will.

Some companies such as Rvinyl only offer a blackout tint (a very dark tint which transfers 20% or less light) in order to assure that customers will be easily able to remove the tint at night and during inclement weather. The great thing about the static-cling film is that it can be removed and reapplied as many times as desired because it has no glue or other adhesive.

The advantages of static-cling film can be summed up as follows:

  • Removable
  • Re-appliable

The disadvantages of static-cling film are:

  • Cannot be used in inclement weather (it will come off)
  • Cannot be used at high speeds (it will come off)
  • It can be easily removed by passers-by

Dark Smoke Self-Adhesive Tint
Dark Smoke Self-Adhesive Tint

Self-adhesive Tint

Self-adhesive tint film is probably the most common place tint on the market and can be had from such companies as Lamin-x, Xpel, Rvinyl and Headlight Armor just to name a few. Although there are varying thicknesses of the film all have one side which is adhesive and applies to the surface and one side without. As opposed to static-cling film which is sold by only a handful of companies and is available in only two colors, self-adhesive film is available in several different shades including clear protection.

In brief, the benefits of self-adhesive film are:

  • Semi-permanent
  • Will withstand the elements and high-speeds
  • Can afford excellent protection against chipping, flaking, oxidation and rock-hits
  • Available in numerous colors and thicknesses

The disadvantages are few but are:

  • Cannot be easily removed
  • Cannot be re-applied


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