Instructables
in this instuctable i will show you the proper way of tinting your car's tail lights. I'm sorry for the lack of pictures but i did this over a year ago, and since then lost most of the pictures. I'll try to be as detailed as possible

Disclaimer: I am in no way responsible to any damage that may occur in this process. and as always follow your local laws on the tinting of tail lights.

 
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Step 1: Materials needed

materials needed (not all shown)

About two (I used three) cans of tinted window hobbies paint $4 per can (any color would work)
or
a can or two of VHT nightshade


Painter's tape (use the blue tape)
Rubbing alcohol $1
one can of high luster lacquer $4-$5
400-800-???? grit wet/dry sand paper (i had some lying around)
Paint thinner (in case of screw ups)
A clean bucket or sink ( I already had a bucket)
dawn dish soap $1
Paper towels $1
tack cloth or swifter pad $2

Step 2: Removing the lens

this method of tinting the lenses require that the lights and lenses be removed from the car.
 before you start removing the bolts or nuts, be sure to pull the carpet back as much as you need, its not worth the hassle of trying to do it by touch.
remove all the bulbs and harness (I left them attached).
pull the nuts or bolts and keep them in a safe place remembering where they went.

Step 3: Masking off the lens

masking off the lens:
before you stat masking off with all your creative glory, it most likely that  the lens is covered with dirt, using the alcohol and the paper tower, wipe off all the dirt and road grime. Using the tape, mask off anything you don't want to be darker. most people just tape off the trim, but i didn't want to affect my ability to back up at night  so i taped off the clear as well. plus it looks cooler ; ). In this step, it doesn't have to be prefect, because its all just gonna come off later.
lime3D2 years ago
Very nice instructable on HOW to do this.

C'mon folks, there is no reason to question WHY, or any or your own state's laws.

Nice job.
buddton3 years ago
... what's the box inside the box say? i can't read it.
whiplash4 years ago
in some places this is actually illegal because its modifying a specifically designed device for alerting other road users
rob_fed4 years ago
I've used both VHT and Testor "window tint" to do tail lights and side markers.  One thing that I've learned is that most people apply too much paint.  The paint needs to remain transparent to allow light to be seen.  I always do this with the light "on", in a well lighted garage.  If done correctly, in some ambient light situations, you still can see some "red" and "amber" colors.  It takes a few times to get the coloring correct.  If you see that you have applied too much paint, you can remove the paint before it dries with lacquer thinner. The plastic may get hazy, but will be transparent when the paint is applied again.
candle3604 years ago
Some cops are pricks and will definitely get on you about this. To prevent the heat, I taped off the reverse light, which is white to make sure that it shines through. VHT works great though at letting light pass right through anyway. Nice instructable
Cycrolus4 years ago
If you've ever seen this done properly there is not really that big of a difference. Most taillights put out more than the state laws require as far as light output. So to dim them down a bit will not hurt.
HarveyH444 years ago
Just out of curiosity, why would anyone want to do this?  The taillights are for warning other drivers.  Under normal clear condition, this might not cause huge problems, but at night, when its foggy or raining, your car will appear much further away than in reality.  If you slam on your brakes, you increase your chances of getting struck from behind.  Not a huge big deal in Florida, since the car in the back is considered automatically at fault in a rear-end collision, following too close.  I've got a hunch this might be illegal in many areas, just as there are some pretty strict requirements on window tinting, which probably aren't enforced, until after an accident.  People driving these days, just do take it serious enough.  They play with cellphones, GPS units, laptops, and a bunch of other gadgets while in traffic, and the car is in gear.

A good presentation, but a very dangerous idea, not mention could be very costly in the end.  I would fight an accident in court very hard, seek to recover damages as well.
>  It is illegal in several states (although not in all county's of each state due to some strange loopholes...), but I agree, it is a poor idea for anyone who drives at any time other than bright daylight, zero weather, and zero traffic.  I personally hate drivers who refuse to use turn signals, tailgate, or swoop in front of me in heavy traffic and have to slam on the brakes - if they want to kill themselves, fine by me, but by ignoring the law AND intelligence they are purposely trying to kill me.  I live in NY, where they're beginning to seriously crack down on every traffic violation, and frankly I say kudos to them for it.
>  I guess for people who live in very low traffic areas or never see another car in their life, this is fine, but I wouldn't hesitate to call my cops if I saw this on a neighbor's car.  In my village, it's totally illegal to have any tint on taillights - the brake lights have to be visible 500ft away in full sun, and even 5% tinting has caused major penalties.
I forgot to mention - before doing a project like this, it is HIGHLY advisable to ask a state police office about the legality state-wide, and learn the laws of any states you wish to travel to.  If you drive into another state in violation of their visibility laws, when a judge asks you if you knew the local laws and you reply "no", your fine will mostly likely triple, at minimum.  A college classmate had tinted windows and taillights and drove from NY (70% tint MAX on windows) to Massachusetts (~30-40% MAX) without knowing the laws, and the judge increased his fine by 5x for negligence.  Don't take the same chance.
Good instructable, could you post a picture of the lights lit up?

frollard4 years ago
From an instructable standpoint:  Great writeup.  Good pictures, good instructions, and warnings... Good job :).

On the other hand:  As a driver - I drive a lot.  Too much in fact.  <opinion alert> People who do not upkeep their traffic signals and headlights (turn signals, light bulbs, replace broken housings, etc) should be fined as badly as speeders and drunk drivers.  People who INTENTIONALLY make their signals more obscure should have their cars crushed.  :)

Possible solution:  Find a brighter light source so that a sufficient amount of light gets emitted from the less-transparent housing.  Uuber led upgrade maybe?


For not having more pictures, this is a great instructable. Very detailed. And very understandable.