Subaru Cautions of Water Intrusion During Aftermarket Tint Installation

The April 2023 edition of Subaru’s Tech Tips newsletter cautions of reported issues relating to the installation of aftermarket window tint on 2024 Crosstrek and Impreza vehicles. According to the publication, the matter was traced back to water application during aftermarket tint installation to the inside of the rear-window glass.

Subaru writes that its Techline technical support has received reports of brake lights staying on due to water intrusion. A possible cause for the issue is a step in the aftermarket tint installation process.

“This may be due to the water application on the inside of the rear window glass during aftermarket window tint installation,” Subaru writes. “When applying water to the inside of an open tailgate, the water may run down the inside of electrical harnesses.”

Subaru says “extreme caution” should be taken when applying water to areas of a vehicle that are “not intended to see water.”

“This could cause corrosion inside connectors not equipped with weather pack or mildew and mold build up in areas that can hold or soak up moisture and not properly drain,” Subaru continues.

Subaru instructs technicians to first inspect for window tint on the rear glass and water intrusion in connector Db11.

“As a reminder, a vehicle should always be inspected for anything aftermarket,” Subaru writes. “Aftermarket window tint may not seem like it could cause problems. However, similar water intrusion concerns directly connected to window tint installation have been seen from time to time when the water application is excessive during installation.”

Industry business developer Marco Cazorla says he’s aware of the reports from Techline, especially since he owns a Subaru Impreza. He used a window tint with 80% visible light transmission and had “no issues whatsoever.” However, he does note one glaring issue he’s seen from his countless shop visits.

“Installers use way too much water,” he says, adding that the issue is not unique to Subaru vehicles. “With the soak rub, it holds a lot of water, but when you jam it deep down below the front dash, that’s where the soft leather and everything is held together with glue. We use soap and water, and soap and water break down adhesives.”

The solution is simple: don’t use so much water. Accomplishing that goal is also relatively simple, and involves precision on the part of installers with respect to soap mixes and slip solutions.

“I always recommend installers double or triple their normal amount of slip solution to allow the window tint to side,” Cazorla says. “Installers also must measure and be precise with their soap mixes. I’ve done countless visits where installers aren’t really precise. I strongly encourage installers to be precise so they can get consistent results.”

Cazorla also recommends that installers use all resources available to them such as industry forums and even educational videos.

“The community is getting to a point where you can ask those questions and no one is going to make fun of you,” Cazorla says. “There are a lot of people that want to help. Don’t be scared to reach out.”

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