Is It Normal To Have Bubbles After Window Tinting?

It can be alarming when the freshly installed tints that you scrimped and saved for all year develop little bubbles. You start thinking you’ve been duped by a shoddy installer, or if you took the DIY approach, that you’ve done something horribly wrong during the fitting process.

This case of automobile chickenpox looks messy, and if you’ve been boasting to your friends for the last few weeks about your imminent tint installation, it can be pretty embarrassing too. Don’t worry, though; there’s no reason to go red in the face. 

Bubbles after window tinting are completely normal. However, there are different causes for bubbling across a tint, and not all of them are a good thing.

Water Bubbles

When you see the dreaded bubbles rise from your pristine tint installation, pray, pray, pray that they’re just water bubbles. These are the healthy kind of blemish that will often occur after a quality fitting.

These little bubbles are simply caused by moisture in the adhesive trapped between the glass and the tint film. With some decent exposure to sunlight, these little imperfections should evaporate within a couple of weeks, and the film will lower back down to the glass to create the slick and smooth finish you had in your mind’s eye when you first decided on a tint.

The moisture will, of course, take much longer to evaporate in wet and cold weather, so don’t sweat it if 2 weeks pass and the blisters are still visible. Give it another 2-3 weeks or so, and if they’re still there, consult a specialist.

Soap Bubbles

Soap bubbles aren’t as innocent as their watery cousins. They do shrink as the adhesive cures, but unlike water bubbles, they never fully disappear. The only way to get rid of them is to completely re-tint your windows, so if you had the initial installation done “professionally”, you need to contact them and make a complaint.

If you can get the original installer to give it another shot for free, you might as well, but seeing how the first attempt panned out, I wouldn’t hold your breath. If it goes wrong a second time, try to get some sort of refund, and head to another fitter.

The reason soap bubbles form is that the fitter has failed to remove all the pre-tint window cleaning product from the surface before applying the film.

I know what you’re thinking…how can you tell the difference between water bubbles and soap bubbles? Well, the good news is, it’s actually really easy to diagnose this breakout of car pimples.

Water bubbles are completely clear from both sides, but soap bubbles tend to have a cloudy hue, at least from one side of the window.

Side-Note – Don’t forget to leave the original installers a bad review online in order to warn others not to trust them with their tint jobs.

Air Bubbles

Much like soap bubbles, air bubbles will have a hazy hue on one or both sides of the window, and they shrink during the crying process. A sign of a partly botched job, they’re worse than water bubbles, but fortunately, there’s a DIY method you can use to get rid of them.

If your car is suffering from a bad case of the bubbles, you should…

  • Warm the film – Parking your car in the sun for a couple of hours or warming the film with a hairdryer will make it malleable.
  • Moisten the window – You’ll need a spray bottle capable of emitting fine mists for this part. Fill it with room temperature water and give the film a spritz. The idea is to get it slightly moist, not to completely soak it.
  • Poke a hole – Find the smallest, sharpest pin you can get your hands on, and gently poke a hole in the air bubble, being careful not to tear the film or scratch your window.
  • Reheat the film – Bring the film back up to a decent temperature.
  • Smooth the bubble – Holding your credit card at a 45° angle, smooth out the bubbles towards whichever window edge is closest.

Contamination Bubbles

This sort of bubble occurs when the windows haven’t been properly cleaned, and debris of some kind has been caught between the glass and the film.

Unlike soap and water bubbles, contamination bubbles get larger as the curing process moves along. The only way to get rid of them is to re-tint your windows.


Blisters are the worst bubbles of all. They’re a sign that the adhesives are failing, and as time goes by, they’ll get larger and larger, spreading out across your window. 

These bubbles likely won’t appear straight away, but if poor quality adhesive has been used, neither will they occur too far into the future.

The only way to avoid these awful blisters is to invest in a quality product to begin with.

Summing Up

There you have it, folks. Water bubbles are your friends, and they’ll dissipate during the curing process, but anything other than that can be a real problem.