How-To: Tint Your Tail Lights (spray tint)


New Member
Jun 4, 2010
Grove City, Ohio
If someone wants to move this to wherever it needs to be that would be awesome... i didnt know where to put this exactly... anyways

Pics to accompany process tomorrow

How-To: Tint Your Tail Lights (Spray Tint)

Materials Needed
Tail Light Tint (spray can from autozone) 12.99
Clear Coat (spray can from autozone) 3.99
Painters Tape (autozone) 1.49
Sand Paper (autozone)
1000 Grit 4.49
1500 Grit 4.49
2000 Grit 4.49
Rubbing Compound (paste)(autozone) 3.29
Polishing Compound (paste)(autozone) 3.29
Micro Fiber Towel (autozone) 5.99
Glass Cleaner (autozone) 2.99
Roll of Paper Towels 1.00
Old T-Shirt/Cotton Cloth Free
Dish Soap 1.29
Bucket of Water Free

Pre Painting Steps

Step 1: Removing The Tail Lights

You will need to open the trunk and peel back the protective carpeting from the access area to the tail lights. Once you do this there are four nuts to each tail light, pretty much a four corners kind of setup.(deep-well socket helps here) Remove the four nuts and set them aside. Pull of about an inch of painters tape and stick it to the light. Pull out the tail light and remember that your bulbs are still attached. Remove the four bulbs and place the tape at the base of the reverse light. Also notice when pulling out that each of the three upper lights 2 are black housed and 1 is grey. The 2 black housed are your brake lights and go on the outer edge. Remove the light completely and set aside. **Repeat on opposite side**

Step 2: Cleaning the Surface

Ok you now have both lights sitting out and its time to give them a nice clean down. I used window cleaner and some paper towels. Do this about three times for each light because this will be the make or break point believe it or not.

Step 3: Taping Off Unwanted Tint Areas

Get out your painters tape and don’t be afraid to skimp on the coverage. Granted nothing will be seen really other than the light but I actually want to keep my reverse light functional because it is hard enough to see at night, so I looked closely and noticed when looking at the reverse light that there are two rectangular shapes to the clear part and I chose to tape on the Inner Rectangle so that way I guarantee myself no Red showing through if I miss a spot when taping.

The Painting Process

Step 4: Properly Layering

When your done reading your can for the How-To then the fun starts. Whenever your tinting a tail light I have found that the Best results come with a terribly weak first coat. Literally make the first coat enough to just change the tint of red.

Let this dry for about 10 Minutes

Layer the second coat (give a decent amount) by going either horizontally, or vertically. (remember which way you go because you will want to go the opposite the next time through)

Let this dry for at least 15 Minutes

Layer the third coat (give a decent amount) by going the opposite of your first motion

Let this dry for at least 15 Minutes.

Layer the Final Coat and remember to do the same motion as you did on layer two.

Let this dry for at least 30 Minutes.

Step 5: Layering the Clear Coat

This is another point to take your time. This is where most people Butcher the project and get less than stellar results. Go ahead and apply 3-4 coats of clear just like you did with the paint but allow for 20 minutes between each coat, and allow 30 minutes for the final coat.

Step 6: Remove your Painters Tape

Simple enough, peel back all of your painters tape and get an idea of your product.

Finalizing the Product

Step 7: Wetsanding

Take your bowl of water and a little bit of dish soap and mix it up. Take your first 1000 Grit sand paper and just do small circular motions, you are not sanding wood here so just enough to very lightly sand is optimal. **If you feel it starting to snag up get more water** Wipe Down with Paper Towel. Repeat the process with your 1500 Right after and wipe down, and then Finish with the 2000 Grit, and wipe down.

Step 8: Rubbing Compound

This is where most people stop… they just clear coat the project and think its over… man o man it gets so much better.

Take your t-shirt or cotton cloth and get some rubbing compound and just apply in a wiping pattern, and then give it a nice vigorous circular rub down.

Step 9: Polishing Compound

Do the same thing with the Rubbing compound and give it a nice vigorous rub down and stand back and be amazed with your final product. Wipe down with window cleaner.


Step 10: Re-Install Tail Lights

Remember your light bulb placements and put them back in there homes.

Slide the light back into place and start all 4 nuts and then tighten down.

Close the carpeted area and then Repeat on opposite side.

Stand back… look at the beauty and I hope this made it easier!

Thanks guys and gals.

***I am not responsible if you mess up at any point in time – I highly suggest practicing on a junk yard piece first***
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10 Year Member
Oct 26, 2009
Alright you got me wanting to do this already but I am needing those pictures you promised :D and here is a noob question for you.. The tint actually is on the inside of the lights and not the outside right?


New Member
Sep 28, 2010
El Paso
Another way to do it is sand the light themselves with either 1500 or 2000 grit BEFORE you spray the niteshade. This will give it a gloss look. If you don't want the gloss look then just spray the niteshade on without sanding and boom you got what you want.