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Some of you may know/remember that I tinted my tail lights with Nightshades

https://www.challengertalk.com/forums/f19/tinting-tail-lights-vht-nite-shades-586569/

At the time the only readily available tints were just for the clear area, the brake/reverse light area. But I wanted to tint the red area, so I used Nightshades. It’s somewhat of a hit or miss method unless you just go very dark. It looked good, but between the unevenness, and the red showing through when in sunlight, I wasn’t satisfied (my own worse enemy? :) )

Fast forward to present. Luxe Auto Concepts, who also made my headlight tints, and also makes tints for the clear area, has a product called LightWrap. They sell it in sections for universal applications, but also in a kit for the Challenger. It comes in three shades. Light, Mid, and Dark (as well as various finishes). I’m not looking to push their product, but it’s what I used, and it’s fairly easy to work with, and the tint itself is great, nice and thick, with air passages so you don’t get bubbles.

I got the Dark, and Gloss finish. It comes as a little over 20" x 36” sheet. The sheet has a 2” square grid across the whole back so you can cut it into 4 pieces for each of the 4 tail light sections (Drivers fender, Drivers trunk, Passenger Trunk, Passenger Fender).

Both Luxe and Work, Play, Drive have good videos of the process, so I’ll post those, and then just expound on how I did mine



I had tinted with Nightshades, then cleared, so I had to sand off the clear and Nightshades, and polish the plastic, returning them to original, like before I ever tinted them.

I was still hesitant to put dark tint on the Brake light/Reverse Light/Emergency Blinker clear section, so I changed things up a bit and also got the Center Overlays in Light Gloss. My plan was to tint the clear area with light, just to take down the white. Mind you, the white/clear didn’t look bad untinted on my original tint job, and some people actually go for the clear tail light thing, but I wanted just a light tint.

So, my plan…tint the whole light with the Dark LightWrap, use the knifeless tape not only around the edges, but around the center black and clear sections. Then apply the center overlays in the center part.

I would have applied the centers, and then added the knifeless tape around them and the edges, and then the LightWrap, but I was afraid pulling the LightWrap off the center after cutting with the knifeless tape would pull off the center overlays as well. I believe it would have worked as once you apply and heat with the heat gun, they are on there good. You can peel them off (as in WPD’s video removing the old ones), but I think they’d stay just pulling the new, not heated LightWrap. But again, hindsight.

Knowing the new style center overlays covered both the clear, and black area helped. I just put the knifeless tape a little inside the black area so the Center Overlays would at most overlap the LightWrap a bit. I knew I’d have an edge no matter what, but wanted to be sure no red was left showing.

Any one thinking of using LightWrap, or even duplicating my method, two things:

Get the Finish Line (not the Design Line) knifeless tape. What a great idea for any vinyl installation! Easy, smooth, perfect cuts. The Design Line is thinner, and better for making curves, but the LightWrap is a laminated film, and fairly thick. I’m sure the thinner Design Line would be a problem.

And if you don’t have a heat gun, get one. I used a hair dryer when I tinted my headlights, and it worked fine, but for the LightWrap, I’m not sure it would work. Even if it did, the speed of the heat gun made it so much easier. You can get a heat gun as cheap as $10, if you will have other needs for one, get something higher rated. I’m sure I’ll have a use for it some other time (heat shrink tubing?), but even if not, I spent $20 for the one I got .

If you get wrinkles, just a quick heat with the gun, and the tint returns to it’s original shape.

I wanted to apply the LightWrap first. I used the provided Prep spray to clean them. I laid down the knifeless tape, not on the far outside edge as in the Luxe video, but about the middle of the outside black edge (I’ll explain why later). The turns aren’t too bad, just lay it past the curve, pick it up a bit, and work your way around the curve like WPD does. The sharper turns required for me to outline the center was a bit harder, and I ended up with some small tape bunches, but that’s just the knifeless tape, and it all gets removed when you pull it off after cutting. It didn’t affect the tint or edges of the cut. Make sure to leave a long enough tail to start the knifeless tape! Six inches or so at least.

I laid down both lines of tape, used the Prep to clean again. I cut the LightWrap sheet into quarters, but there is way more than you need. If you haven’t tinted your side markers or rear reflectors, you can easily cut off enough to do them all as well. If you just cut in quarters you’ll end up with 4 pieces approximately 18”x10”. 16”x8” is plenty for the lights, any more and it gets unwieldly with the top and bottom wanting to stick to the car, and the edge overlapping the knifeless tape tails. As mentioned, the back of the LightWrap has a 2” grid on it (not colored like the picture, but you get the idea ;)



To apply, do as the Luxe video shows, and make a “hinge”. They lay it out so I’ll just add some info. Try not to stretch the film (especially if you get a finish with a pattern, like the carbon). You need to work any creases to the outside. Take your time, you can lift the tint and get any creases out and reapply. If you get the tint wrinkled, just use the heat gun lightly to return the tint to flat. Wait until it cools before working it again, a few seconds.

Because you will have extra, leftover past the edges that you will cut off, you can work any creases until they are past the area you will keep. On the corners, you will use heat, and you can pull the extra over the edge and down to get it tight on the edges. Don’t stretch, but again, past your knifeless tape, you will be cutting it off.

Take your time, you can lift and reapply as much as you need. Once you have it all applied, and no bubbles (I got no bubbles at all during installation), start the tail of the knifeless tape, and cut the vinyl. If you have any trouble starting the edge of the vinyl, just put a small nick with the supplied knife, and hold both sides of the nick, and pull the knifeless tape through. Always pull the knifeless tape by somewhat folding it over on itself as mentioned in the video. Also pull it a little away from the tint that remains, you’ll pull the edges less. Pull off the leftover green tape part, use the squeegee to make sure the edges are stuck down, and use the heat gun, moving constantly to heat the whole tint. Don’t touch the tint while heated, wait a few seconds of you could smudge it. Press down the whole thing with the microfiber, and heat again to be sure, and you’re done. You’re done, I am not :)

Since I cut out the center, I had to lay the Center Overlays now. If anyone is going to do Center overlays, again tips. Laying it in the right position is key to getting it to lay down with no creases in the rounded end. You should have a little left over at the flat end, this will be heated and folded over. Lift the whole tint as many times as you need to get it positioned right. If it gets wrinkled, a little heat from the gun, let it cool, and you are back to flat. Follow the video and take your time. Once you get the first one (and they provide an extra to practice with), the rest will go easier.

I laid down the centers and heated them and everything again. Now, you could be done…again, not me :)

Once reason I never applied the Big Worm centers I already had was pictures showing them as textured, even though they are supposed to be gloss. Before I ordered my LightWrap and Center Overlays, I contacted support to see if their films could be cleared with clear coat paint (like I did for the Nightshades). I had googled, and everything said you could clear over vinyl. Their support replied that they were unaware of anyone having done it, but saw no reason their films could not be cleared over. They asked me to send them pictures after it was done, which I believe I will do.

One thing about tint is you can peel it off if you don’t like it, it gets damaged, you want a change, etc. But I have no plans to do this again. The clear allows me to wet sand and polish to a high gloss since it’s paint. This is the look I am looking for. No worries about the tint pulling up, getting scratched, etc. It is protected under clear paint. So I masked, cleared 6 coats, wet sanded and polished. This is why I mentioned cutting the tint half way along the black edge. I cleared to the full black edge so the edges of the film are completely under the clear.

I don’t ever foresee a problem, but even if there were, I’ll just sand the clear, remove the tint, and clean and polish the lenses again.

I’m completely satisfied with the tint now. If Luxe had had this when I tinted with Nightshades, I’d have only done this once ;) Some pictures:

Tint before clear, looked good, mostly glossy, but textured up close, Also it will be possible to scratch or mar





Masked for Clear



Some comparisons of the old and new

In the sun (major reason I redid it)

Old



New



Shade

Old



New



Old shade brake lights



New shade brake lights



The brakes are crazy bright stock, and plenty bright with the light tint. I'm sure you'd be fine with the dark, not sure how the reverse lights are with the dark though.

Just a few more :)









Still a sexy beast :grin2:

Sorry for the length, I just wanted to lay it out with details of issues/tips. The videos are good

A Guy
 

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While I certainly like the tint look of the tail lights, It's just not for me because the guy behind me is on their phone and needs the brightest brake lights possible so they don't hit me. I was rearended 3 times in 2 years in my Javelin because the other guy wasn't paying attention. The first 2 times I had some pretty bright single row of custom LED tail lights but got hit by a guy doing around 50mph just before he noticed me and slammed on the brakes. I now have new 5 row LED lights that cover almost the entire rear panel and I still got hit in traffic. All 3 were in daylight so even bright lights didn't seem to help and tinting them probably would make it worse since I was stopped in heavy traffic every time. If you can't see a stopped car in the daylight there is little hope for you.
Other then that they look great and I would be all over it if I wasn't worried about getting hit again. Personally I would add some super bright strobe lights on the rear if it was legal.
 

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I really like the look of tinted taillights. I have dark tinted taillights on my 2012 Impala and love them - but I *am* purposely more careful when driving it - I purposely make sure I don't come to very quick stops and sometimes I even tap the brakes multiple times when coming to stop to help get the attention of the person behine me. I really don't NEED to (I've had my wife drive the car while I drove behind her and the lights are still bright enough) - but they definitely are dimmer than stock. They do look so good though (for what it is - a "rental-grade" Impala).. :)

 

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Discussion Starter #4
With only the light tint on the brake light area, they are still very bright. I was trying to get pictures of the emergency blinkers flashing, and timing the camera to get them lit is hard. They are still almost as bright as without the tint, that's why I say people can get away with the Dark likely. Pics I posted don't show how bright they are.

A Guy
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks :) For me what makes it is the gloss on the clear. I'm not big on satin/matte, I mostly like gloss :)

A Guy
 

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those do look awesome!
I will caution you on two issues however, so at least to be aware of.

#1. Most states, require the tail light to be both plainly visable from a certain distance (1000ft) and reflective.
Tints can hinder this, sometimes significantly. You can get hit with a fix it ticket. It could get expensive.
The #2, perhaps more important, is if you are ever rearended by another vehicle, that driver could easily claim he didnt see your tail lights/brakelights/signals,etc. This could seriously effect insurance coverage. If they also determine the tint is illegal based on the #1 above, that could also lead to civil liability issues.
I removed mine after learning this. wasnt worth it in todays sue happy society
 

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Guy your car looks fantastic!! Nice job. What tail pipes do you use? I am thinking of replacing my tips and really like the look of yours. Appreciate any feedback. Thanks.
 
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Not really one for the murdered out look, but I can't tell where the vinyl begins and the black plastic ends, so good job.
 

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The Blackout looks awesome A Guy where did you find those quad tips? Been looking for a set myself for an exhaust upgrade.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
The tips are part of the Solo exhaust

A Guy
 

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Not really one for the murdered out look, but I can't tell where the vinyl begins and the black plastic ends, so good job.
You know, that is a good way to put it. I don't like the look that much myself, heck, I think my car has too much black, I'd prefer the bright wheels and FUEL door I think.
BUT, I like to see and appreciate quality work, even if it isn't my style.
 

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man, I’m thinking about debadging the dodge badge on the tail lights and tinting them like this. It looks sick!! I just worry if it will devalue the car, or be difficult to put the badge back on.
 

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If you are planning on trading and keeping value, 100% stock, or easily put back to stock is the way to go. This is my lifetime car if it goes to my plan ;)

A Guy
 
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If you are planning on trading and keeping value, 100% stock, or easily put back to stock is the way to go. This is my lifetime car if it goes to my plan ;)

A Guy
thanks for the input. I imagine putting the badge back on would be a simple task. I just love how clean your car looks! I’ve already modified the exhaust and am putting long tubes on next weekend, so keeping it stock is already too late lol.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Make it how you want it. Short of hideous mods, people would still buy it...just don't expect money back on the mods in most cases. I debadged mine the Friday after I got it


A Guy
 
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Make it how you want it. Short of hideous mods, people would still buy it...just don't expect money back on the mods in most cases. I debadged mine the Friday after I got it


A Guy
that’s the beauty of this mod, it’s cheap and easy to do, but man does it look good 👍🏽
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I agree, I saw a Mustang which has that huge piano black panel across the back. He had taken the GT badge off, tinted tail lights, looked great. I know that it can scratch, but 4 years and mine is still not scratched up

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I agree, I saw a Mustang which has that huge piano black panel across the back. He had taken the GT badge off, tinted tail lights, looked great. I know that it can scratch, but 4 years and mine is still not scratched up

A Guy
that’s awesome! Yeah I always thought the last 2 generations of mustangs look great when the badges near the tail lights are removed. As well as the 2015+ chargers. Do you typically hand wash your challenger btw? I unfortunately live in an apartment where I don’t have access to outdoor faucets, so I have to take mine to the car wash.
 

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Either Laser car wash (zero touch), or 2 bucket hand wash. I live in an apartment, but luckily a couple of faucets

A Guy
 
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