Have you ever thought about car window tinting? If you get it done correctly, this solution can be wise and convenient since it has numerous benefits, including improved safety and adding a touch of elegance to your vehicle. One more thing! You can even save on gas since you won’t need to turn on air condition so often. Can you imagine that?
Is It Legal to Tint Car Windows?
Not every state has the same laws when it comes to car window tinting. Each one has precisely defined VLT (visible light transmission) percentage. For example, Wisconsin laws require that windshield and front side windows need to allow more than 50% of light in. However, the requirement is just 35% for a rear window.
Furthermore, most states allow some level of window tint on the windshield. However, in Oregon, the law restricts car window tinting to your side windows, a rear window, and top 6 inches (15 cm) on the windshield.
The owner’s responsibility is to know local regulations and respect them. If you drive outside your state, you need to research the laws of the state you visit. That way, you will avoid getting a ticket if you go to Utah or Ohio, for example. Their requirements for car window tinting are stricter.
Advantages of Tinting Car Windows
- Protecting privacy – The first thing that will probably come to your mind when thinking of a tinted window is discretion. By applying window film for day and night privacy, you will prevent others from taking a peek inside your car. Moreover, it lowers the risk of stealing since potential thieves can’t see your possession inside.
- Improving safety – Car window tinting improves safety when you drive. Not only will the sun’s glow bother you less, but also, in the event of a traffic accident, window glass won’t shatter into pieces. So, you are less likely to get hurt if glass breaks.
- Blocking ultraviolet rays – Tinted windows block ultraviolet rays up to 99%. Therefore, they protect your skin and sight, as well as your vehicle car seats and vinyl from fading. Even more, you won’t need to purchase car window shades since minimum sunlight is coming in your car.
- Reducing the temperature – Depending on a type, car window tinting can even lower the inside temperature. Professionally tinted windows can drop the heat for more than 60% and make your ride more comfortable. You will also save time waiting for the air conditioner to lower the temperature so that you can enter the car right away even on the hottest summer days.
- Decorative effect – Let’s not forget the decorative effect tinted windows have. Although you shouldn’t use too dark shades for windows, window tint certainly adds to the car’s charm. Moreover, not only enhances the beauty of your windows, tinting may increase its value thanks to a wide range of grades and designs.
Risks of Tinting Windows
Before you get windows on your car tinted, there are a few things to consider:
- Compromised night vision – One of the biggest problems with window tint is that it reduces visibility during the night drive. The same goes for driving through the fog or any other low light situations. Unfortunately, this may lead to a car accident, especially if you have a problem with your seeing or you drive tired and sleepless. Therefore, be careful and find a way to get benefits of car window tinting without putting yourself in danger.
- Potential break of regulations – If you bought a used car, you may not be aware of the degree in which the previous owner got windows tinted. If he or she lives in another state, you need to double-check the laws of both states.
- Fading and air bubbles – In case when you decide to go with low price tinting, you will notice that windows go from dark to purple over time. In some cases, even bubbles can appear on the surface of the glass. Before making such a choice, keep in mind that removing unprofessionally tinted windows also costs a lot. Applying new, high-quality car window tinting means avoiding all these additional expenses.
- Increased insurance – Every time you modify your vehicle, you need to report it to your insurance company. Keep in mind that some companies have their own regulations about the level of the car window tinting. Therefore, you may want to check your insurance policy on time to avoid unnecessary fees.
Types of Car Window Tints
Not all types of window tint are the same. They can vary in quality, price, durability, and, most importantly, their effectiveness. Professional tinting services may offer you one of several basic types of polyester-based film used for car window tinting:
1. Dyed window tinting
Nowadays, many car owners prefer going for the dyed film since it is the most affordable and the darkest type of tinting. It consists of one or more layers of non-reflective dye and a final top-coating, which provides some level of protection from scratches.
However, this type of window tint often loses color over time or even causes layers to separate. The cause is mainly UV light damage or improper installation. Therefore, you may need to replace it or repeat the process of tinting.
2. Metallic window tinting
Made of tiny metal particles invisible to the eye, this multilayer window tint has a higher reflection, and you can easily recognize it by shiny appearance. It also prevents breaking glass into pieces upon impact by increasing its strength.
On the other side, due to the metal layer, which it contains, this type of tinting may interfere with the mobile phone signal and GPS transmission. You may even notice your radio doesn’t have any reception.
3. Carbon tinting
Nowadays, manufacturers make an attractive dark and matte type of car window tinting that allows the signal of networks and GPS inside the car.
This tint combines dyed and metallic features. Moreover, its durability is a huge advantage since the carbon molecules prevent fading and discoloring.
4. Ceramic window tinting
Made from the adhesive layer and microscopic, nonconductive ceramic particles and third protective layer, ceramic window tint is the most expensive type of tint you can find on the market.
However, experts consider it worthy of its price. It doesn’t interfere with the functionality of radio and cell phones. Plus, it possesses heat rejection properties and provides better UV light and sun protection than other types of window tint.
Tint Your Car Windows by Yourself
When you do your research and choose the type of film you want, it is time to decide whether to install the window tint alone or hire a professional to finish the job. While the first variant may cost less initially, it is still advisable to leave the work to someone with more experience.
The most significant risk about car window tinting is that you can’t be sure you have done everything according to the law. Most stores that provide material can’t tell you much about regulations on the tinting level.
For a beginner, it can be a difficult task, as well. Even if you buy a precut installation kit, you may have trouble fitting it right, and the slightest dash of wind may ruin your effort.
If you still decide to do the job by yourself, make sure to work someplace indoor with minimum dust. Also, follow tutorials and prepare yourself for hours of messy work. Be patient and as neat as possible, to avoid experiencing any cracking or peeling on window glass later.
When you finish tinting your windows, you should wait for a few days before rolling them down. Otherwise, you may risk wasting all your effort if the window tint is not entirely dry.
Tinted windows don’t require any special maintenance. However, you should thoroughly clean the glasses with a soft paper towel and ammonia-free cleaner before taking your car for a ride.
When you decide to pay someone to finish car window tinting for you, ask for recommendations. Find out how long that service is on the market, what type of film does it offers, and what the prices are. If your local service is among the cheapest ones, don’t expect the best quality.
Keep in mind that you pay insurance that the window tint on your car follows the law when you hire a professional.
Finally, there are window tint brands, which may give you a warranty without extra cost. By choosing warrantied tints, you will have a cover for any damage on tint in the future. Plus, you can be sure that your tinted windows are high-quality work.
Since every state has different laws about the car window tinting, you should tint them by following the law. After checking your options, you should do it since it is a safe option that offers more privacy. Furthermore, it is a healthy solution because the window tint reduces the UV rays, prevents sunburns, and allows you to enjoy a more comfortable ride.
Nowadays, with a spectrum of different shades, prices, styles, and materials, car window tinting becomes a necessity rather than a matter of luxury.
Sunday 29th of August 2021
The "safety" enhancement against broken windows from applying tinted film is minimal at best, and primarily just marketing. If there was a substantial benefit and it provided serious protection in an accident, cars would be sold new with a transparent adhesive film on the windows regardless of tinting.
Furthermore, if you buy a new car with tinted windows, as you and your wife were planning, they'll almost certainly break in the same fashion as regular windows. That's because it's the glass itself that is tinted in the manufacturing process. Only when an adhesive film is applied to the window will the way it shatters be changed, as is done by very nearly all aftermarket tinting services (unless you're actually buying new OEM windows with the glass already tinted, like factory tinted windows).
Car window glass is tempered such that, when it breaks, it shatters into small shards without significantly sharp edges. In fact, when car windows break, sometimes they remain in one piece. That piece is shattered, but all the tiny pieces aren't separated from each other. When they do break apart, they won't necessarily break into all the tiny pieces either; often there will be many large chunks where the tiny pieces are still stuck together. I kept such a piece from when my car was broken into, decades ago, and it is still connected in one piece about 3" × 5" with the spiderwebbing zigging & zapping around all the tiny "shards" that compose the large piece. This provides the real safety from broken windows in an accident, and is why no dealers offer transparent "safety" film as an upgrade. If the film made any real difference, you know they would — they already try to sell you on various upgrades of dubious benefits as it is, they wouldn't skip this if they could convince buyers it was worth it.
Manufacturers would also likely stop making cars with tinted glass, or at least reduce the number they make. Why have cars on the lot that can only be sold to people who want (or don't want) tinted windows, when you can apply the film at the time of sale with the specific amount of tint desired, making all cars in the lot available to all buyers. You would already be applying a transparent film to the windows for safety if the buyer doesn't want tint. This isn't how things are done because applying an adhesive film to the inside of your windows does *NOT* provide any appreciable safety enhancement.
Tuesday 20th of July 2021
This is a great post. Thank you for sharing your knowledge about Car Window Tinting.
Monday 13th of April 2020
It's interesting to learn that high-quality car tinting can avoid any bubbles from appearing on the glass. I just got a new Hyundai Sonata last week and I really want to have the windows tinted since I don't want my car to get hot since summer is coming up. I'll have to find a place that provides a high-quality tint so I don't have to worry about it fading or bubbling up.
Wednesday 18th of March 2020
Wow, I found it really cool when you explained that you can keep window glass from shattering in accidents by installing tint onto it. My wife and I are wanting to purchase a new car soon, and we want to keep the sun from damaging the seats inside as well. It seems like getting a window tint installed onto our vehicle would be a very worthwhile investment.