Sunshine Visits AutoSkinz for Protective Window Tinting
After a discussion early this summer with 3M about the value of protective automotive window films, I decided it was a good time to get the windows tinted on my Ford Fiesta, Sunshine, so the 3M representative scheduled an appointment for me to visit AutoSkinz in Santa Clarita.
Upon my arrival, I was met by Shonna Wilkinson, who owns and runs the business alongside her husband, Greg. The pair has been in the business together since 2014 -- and it truly is a family business, because their nine-year-old son Cody spends a lot of time there too! He's so familiar with the business that he sometimes even mans (boys?) the front desk to greet customers!
Shonna showed me around their immaculate 8,000-square-foot facility, which includes a materials room where they store and cut their assortment of film and wrap products; a large, super-clean, environmentally controlled garage roomy enough to perform simultaneous installations on at least four vehicles at a time (on the day I was there, they were applying protective films to a Ferrari, a BMW, and a boat!); and a very spacious (and super clean) waiting room that includes a giant flat-screen television with DirectTV, a big comfy couch and recliner, as well as toys for younger kids and an XBox to keep gamers occupied. They also offer free WiFi, drinks, and snacks, as well as loaner cars and a free shuttle service around the entire Santa Clarita area so to not inconvenience you while they are working on your vehicle.
One wall was covered with a variety of informative displays, and Shonna gave me a complete description of each product they offered, and explained to me the difference between 3M's FX Premium, Color Stable, and Crystalline films. Everything is there to help the customer decide what kind of protective film and tint level they would like to have installed on their vehicle.
There was even one display that used an infrared heatlamp to demonstrate how each different material worked to reduce heat inside the car. (You can watch a video demo here at YouTube.) After discussing the options, we chose the Crystalline film at a level 40 tint.
Just from the one day that I spent in their facility, it was obvious the family takes great pride in offering high-quality work! AutoSkinz employs highly skilled installers who know how to properly prepare the surfaces onto which the products will be applied, and how to avoid contaminating the products during the application process. Clean surfaces and clean products mean good adhesion with no bubbles! This is true whether you're having your windows tinted, or having your car covered with clear paint protection film or a colored vinyl wrap.
3M Window films come with a manufacturer-based warranty, which means you can go to any 3M window film dealer and get it corrected if you ever encounter an issue. In addition to the limited lifetime warranty provided by 3M on the window films themselves, AutoSkinz also offers their own in-house lifetime warranty for bubbles and discoloration, as well as an optional unlimited protection plan for fix-it tickets (just in case law enforcement determines your tint to be too dark).
Beyond the usual cutting and shaping before squeegeeing into place, the Crystalline film I chose required additional handling, including heat shrinking against the outside of the glass to fit the curves of my rear window. All told, at some times during the process there were up to four installers working on my car at the same time.
They also take great care with your vehicle during the application process. Some shops will just cut the rubber gasket on your doors or slide the film under the gaskets because removing these items takes time and care to ensure no damage occurs. My installer showed me how he pulled the door panel away from the window to give him better access to the bottom of the glass, and also draped towels over the interior of the door panel to prevent it from being splashed by water and slip solutions used in the application process. In fact, they used so many towels inside my car, I actually wound up going home with one of them by mistake! Also, they connected my battery to a trickle charger while they were working so that the open doors would not cause it to drain. And when they were done applying the window tint, they detailed my car, inside and out.
While my windows were being tinted, I spent a lot of time with Shonna talking about life and business. She even taught me how to wash my car with just one bucket of water, which helps conserve water and allows me to clean my car while also observing my super-strict HOA's "no car washing" rule. By the time I left, I didn't feel like just another customer; I felt like I had become a part of their family.
Speaking of family, their extra family-friendly touches really make the difference in the reviews left by happy customers on Yelp. One customer said "My kids played XBox with their son on a big comfy couch in a nice air conditioned waiting room, while I relaxed in the recliner. I literally had to drag my kids out when the car was finished because they were having so much fun they didn’t want to leave!"
Another happy customer said "They even offered my toddler goldfish and juice!!! The customer service here was so on point. The owner Shonna was so sweet and treated us like family while we had my windows tinted! Plenty of toys for my daughter to play with as well!! Thanks guys! Best place to go to with a toddler to get windows tinted in Santa Clarita Valley!!!"
When my car was finished, the installation looked awesome. Not only did it look great, but I can attest to the heat reduction capability of the 3M Crystalline film we chose. I made my trip out to Phoenix during one of the hottest times of the recent summer, crossing the desert from Los Angeles with daytime temperatures around 120 degrees for much of the trip. My car stayed cool enough inside that I seldom needed to move my air conditioning fan off the first level; when I made a similar trip the summer before, I often had the blower up on the second level, and the temperatures were only hovering around 100 degrees during that trip.
Their facility is located at 27525 Newhall Ranch Road Unit 9, Santa Clarita, CA 91355. You can reach them by calling 661-347-TINT (8468) or by emailing them at firstname.lastname@example.org -- be sure to tell them AskPatty sent you! Also, as of this writing, AutoSkinz is in the process of becoming an AskPatty Female Friendly Certified retailer! Woo hoo!