Whether or not you can tint the windows on your leased car usually depends on the manufacturer’s policies and the terms of your lease.
Some manufacturers explicitly allow tinted windows. Others don’t explicitly prohibit it, but may charge you for excessive wear or require you to remove the tinting when you return the car.
Below, we explain the lease-end requirements for the major auto manufacturers.
Can You Tint the Windows on a Leased Car?
Leasing a car allows you to drive it without taking out a personal loan or financing the vehicle. However, while the car is yours for the length of the lease, you may not have the privilege of making modifications to the vehicle.
Some lease agreements allow for upgrades that might increase the value of the vehicle, but tinted windows don’t always fit under that category, and making the modification can cause you to violate your lease contract.
The dealer may charge you extra to have the tint removed when you turn in the car at the end of the lease or request that you remove the tint yourself — without damaging the windows — to avoid fees or penalties.
Many car manufacturers and dealerships categorize tinted windows as “excessive wear” on the vehicle and will charge a fee if they see signs of this type of damage.
Unless your dealer has already approved window tinting (or other modifications), you’ll need to bring the leased vehicle back to the dealer in the same condition as when you picked it up from the lot, minus the extra miles added.
The easiest way to check if the dealer allows window tinting is to ask whether it offers tinting as part of a detailing or maintenance package.
Some dealerships may offer window tinting services for an extra charge, in which case you can have the tinting done professionally and with the dealer’s approval.
End-Of-Lease Requirements by Manufacturer
Before you turn in your vehicle, the dealership will do a thorough inspection to make sure you’ve maintained the car through the term of your lease.
Most dealers will schedule the inspection up to 120 days before the end of your lease, and the inspection report will have a list of any necessary repairs or excess wear charges.
You can get the repairs done before you return the car, or simply pay the full amount listed on the inspection report.
Some dealers do not explicitly require a lease-end inspection, but it is recommended, especially if you think your car may have signs of excessive wear and use that will result in extra charges.
In the course of our research, we found that it is usually the manufacturers — not the individual dealerships — that set lease-end requirements.
Many have their requirements listed directly on the company website, but not all companies specify exact policies for window tinting. For clarification, you can always check with the dealership.
Below, we’ve summarized the requirements for most major auto manufacturers:
- Audi: “Improperly tinted windows” fall under the category of excess wear and use. An inspection will confirm if the tinting is acceptable, and fees apply for any tinting deemed to be excess wear.
- BMW: If there is any excess wear and use present, you will receive an estimated cost for repair shortly after your vehicle inspection. This may include tinted windows, depending on your lease agreement, the make and model of your vehicle, and the dealership.
- Ford: Excess wear and use charges apply for glass damage. Before you return the vehicle, your dealer can determine if you need to remove the window tint or repair any glass damaged by removing the tint.
- GM: Tinted glass qualifies as excessive wear and will incur fees.
- Honda: The end-of-lease inspection will determine if there will be extra charges for tinted windows.
- Hyundai: Window tinting may fall under the “Wear and Use” category. The vehicle inspector will determine any charges.
- Kia: You should make necessary repairs, including restoring windows that have been tinted, to avoid excess wear and use charges.
- Lexus: Lexus considers “non-factory tinted glass” as excess wear and recommends an inspection if you have tinted windows.
- Mazda: The guidelines for excess wear will vary based on your lease agreement.
- Mercedes-Benz: You can find the standards for excess wear and use for your particular vehicle in your lease agreement.
- MINI: MINI doesn’t provide specific guidelines for tinted windows, but does not that the vehicle should have no aftermarket or third-party alterations.
- Nissan: You can tint the windows but you will be charged if the tint is peeling, fading, bubbling, mismatched, or is considered to be a safety issue.
- Porsche: You can get windows tinted through a Porsche dealer to avoid damage and fees; any aftermarket alterations to the vehicle will need to be removed before returning it.
- Tesla: Tesla considers any modification to the original factory tint to be excessive.
- Toyota: Toyota’s guidelines don’t specifically cover window tint but do consider “any modifications not on the vehicle at lease inception” to be excessive, so extra charges may apply.
- Volkswagen: A vehicle inspection before the lease agreement ends will determine whether window tinting is considered “Excess Wear” and therefore subject to charges.
For more about modifying and maintaining leased cars, see our article about who is responsible for replacing the tires on a leased car.