Toyota 4Runner 1984-1995: Window Tint Modifications

Window tinting gives you privacy in your 4Runner, whether you are driving or parked. It also creates a sleek, powerful look and helps block UV rays and heat that can cause damage to the interior of your 4Runner and its contents. But what is the best percent of tint to get? How will the tint affect the factory tint already in the windows? What about do-it-yourself tinting?

By Richard Bowen - January 20, 2016

This article applies to the Toytota 4Runner (1984-1995).

Probably the most important consideration when deciding on window tinting is determining what percent of tint is best for your needs. It depends on your desire for privacy—how much or how little you want others to see into your 4Runner and its contents, including possessions, accessories, or occupants. It also depends on how the tint affects your view to the outside.

Tints for the front and rear side windows, as well as the back window can also be different. In fact, most 4Runner owners prefer a lighter tint on the front side windows and a darker tint on the rear side windows. This is because you need better visibility in the front areas, but not as much visibility in the rear areas, which also gives you more privacy and protection.


Window tinting is measured by percentage of Visible Light Transmission (VLT). The smaller the percent of tint, the darker the window; a 20% tint is darker than a 35% tint. The amount of tint allowable by law varies from state to state. (Click here for a chart of allowable VLT percentages listed by state.) The percentages that states allow also vary for the front and rear side windows, the back window, and the windshield visor. For example, New York allows 70% for the front and rear side windows, any percentage for the rear window, and six inches of tint on the windshield visor. Mississippi allows 28% on all windows and AS1 on the visor, which is an auto-glass industry standard measurement. Warning: If you install a tint that is darker than what your state's laws allow, you risk having to pay a fine if you are caught driving your 4Runner with a tint that is above the allowable limit. Check your state's laws for allowable tint before tinting your 4Runner's windows.

Tinting car windows
Figure 1. Example of tinted versus "normal" view.


It is possible to tint your windows with an odd-value tint, for example 23% or 38%. Check with your professional installer for availability.

5% Tint

This is called a "limo" tint because people apply it to the rear windows of limousines where the passengers ride. It is almost totally black and allows for very little light to come into the vehicle or to go out of it. Unless you have a very special application, such as using your 4Runner for a funeral car or similar use, this dark a tint is not recommended, and it is illegal for passenger vehicles.

20% Tint

This is a good "dark" tint range, but many 4Runner owners consider it too dark. While a 20% range may be OK for city driving where there are powerful street lamps, when you drive on country highways and in small towns, you may have to open windows at night to see out of them. Opening the back window with a 20%-range tint is especially necessary when you are backing up.

30% Tint

Many 4Runner owners consider a 30% tint range to be a versatile tint—not too dark and not too light. This range allows for protection and privacy, but also allows the driver and passengers to see out, even in darker areas like country highways and small towns.

  • Before tinting
    Figure 2. 4Runner before tinting.
  • 35% and 20% tinted windows
    Figure 3. Front windows at 35% and rears at 20%.

50% and Higher Tint

As you might have guessed, tints over 50% offer little privacy and little protection from heat and UV rays. Although, you may want to add this light tint if you like the way a light tint looks.

The Stock Tint on Your 4Runner

The window tint that comes from the factory on your 4Runner is "in the glass." This means the manufacturer added a darkening compound to the glass when it made the windows. It is rated to about 75%. Only the cargo windows sport this tint, which is for looks only and does not prevent UV rays from entering the vehicle, but may prevent a minimal amount of heat from entering the interior of your 4Runner.

Some owners report that after they added aftermarket tint to the cargo windows there is virtually no difference in the way the tint looks because the factory tint is so light.

DIY Tinting

You can apply tint to your 4Runers windows yourself and save money. Kits are around $10 and you will need to create a template for each size of window you want to tint.

You need the following materials:

  • Tint material or tint kit.
  • Cardboard or poster board (for templates).
  • Razor blade (to cut cardboard and tint).
  • Soap and water (to wash windows).
  • Squeegee.
  • Tint kit
    Figure 4. Basic tint kit.
  • Things needed for tinting window
    Figure 5. Materials required are a razor blade, squeegee, soap and water.


  1. Place the cardboard or poster board on the window you want to tint and cut out a template.
  2. Place the tint material on the template and cut out the tint material to the correct size and shape. Note: if you are using self-adhering tint material, make sure you lay the material on the cardboard with the adhesive side up.
  3. Wash the window you plan to tint and dry it off with a squeegee. Apply adhesive to the tint material. Note: no need to apply adhesive if your tint material is self-sticking.
  4. Place the tint material on the window and smooth out with a squeegee.

It will require three to five days for the window tint to dry thoroughly, depending on the tint material you use. You can clean the window tint with an alcohol or water-based product. Do not use an ammonia product for cleaning a tinted window.

  • template for tinting
    Figure 6. Template made from poster board.
  • Tinting rear window
    Figure 7. Tinted rear window.

A Note About Windshield Tinting

It is not legal to tint your windshield for the obvious reason that it reduces visibility of the road ahead. That being said and despite it being illegal to do so, some 4Runner owners have tinted their windshields in an effort to increase privacy and reduce heat as well as UV light into the passenger compartment. Tinting your windshield will reduce your ability to drive safely and you risk getting a large fine.

Window tinting is a popular 4Runner accessory and add-on. It is best to become knowledgeable and prepared in any attempt to add tint to your vehicle. That knowledge and preparation can go a long way in achieving the results you desire, whether you tint the windows yourself or have a professional do the job for you. Enjoy.

Related Discussions