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Window Tinting

Dear Readers,

Is window tinting effective in reducing the car’s interior temperature and filtering out harmful UV rays? What %age and brand would you recommend for a black car. Have films improved over time (e.g., bubbling, turning purple).

I do NOT want the limo nor gangster look.


Yes and no. Depending on the type of tint, you could reduce UV rays significantly. Temperature reduction would likely be less dramatic. You may not even notice at all in warmer locations.
As far as percentage, check local laws first. Some states have limits as far as light transmittance through tints and some have limits on which windows you are allowed to tint.

Most legit tinting shops should already know the local laws regarding tint percentage and coverage. Keep in mind though, if you go out of state, your tint might be too dark for their laws to allow, so keep a copy of your local laws in your glove box with the website and such clearly visible on the paper

Also most legit stores now will give you a lifetime warranty. Doing local research before paying them is always a good idea.

Did glass stop filtering UV light while I was away?

“glass” is a generic term encompassing many different formulations. Soda Lime glass used in automotive windows typically blocks wavelengths below 400nm.

Tint films can block the IR wavelengths which are more onerous in generating heat in the cabin.

Tint generally turns purple when you use the wrong cleaner on it. Follow the shop’s instructions on how to clean your windows.

Most new cars already have a slight tint that filters out most UV light. It does seem to me that adding an aftermarket tint helps me feel cooler while driving. It is like being in the shade vs out in the sun. My wife’s car does not have aftermarket tint, but it does have the “Solar ray” glass and it seems hotter when the sun is on my skin.

When the vehicles are parked in the sun, I don’t think the aftermarket tint reduces the inside temperature much if at all. Down here in the south, it gets hot inside a parked car no matter what you try to do. If there was a small difference in the inside temperature, I don’t think you would notice it.

All states have limits on the minimum allowable transmission of light for the glass. You have to be careful here though. A common acceptable limit is 35%, but if you have a 35% tint installed, you could be below the limit because of the UV tint already in the glass. You may need to get a 38% in order to be legal.

There are differences in the heat rejection of various tints as well. The transmission percentage is of visible light. One 38% tint may have significantly more heat rejection a
than another type of 38%. A good tint shop will not only list the percent of visible light transmission of the various tints they sell, but also the % of heat rejection. The tints with the higher heat rejection tend to cost more.

How the tint looks on your car will depend on the cars interior and exterior colors. My son and I have the same tint on our cars, done at the same shop. My son has a black car with a black interior and he gets pulled over frequently for a tint check. It always passes. I have a silver-blue exterior with a light grey interior. I never get checked.

If you see our cars side by side without anyone in them, you would swear that his has limo tint and mine is not tinted at all.

Something else to consider that I find extremely comfortable is a 5% tint strip across the top of the windshield. It can go down 6" or down to the AS1 line on the windshield. Before I retired, my commute to work have me driving into the rising sun in the morning and into the setting sun at night. That tint strip was a godsend and made my drive much safer.

I’d have the tint strip on my car, but the sensor for the auto wipers and lights is in that area of the windshield

I consulted with another shop and was advised that I should go with the hybrid rather than the ceramic tint because it better adheres to the glass. In addition, there is no electrical interference with the hybrid tints.

Is the ceramic, non-metal tint the way to go, or is it more marketing BS and just another bubba meisah??

All thoughts are welcome!

Electrical interference would be an issue if your antenna is embedded in a window that gets tinted with an electrically conductive material. I think this would be the case whether the interior or exterior is tinted. Exterior conductive tint would block the signal and an interior tint would be close enough that reflections might cause interference.

So no hybrid based tints, and stick with ceramic only?

Where is your radio antenna? Is it in the front window, rear window, a fender, or the roof?

Rear window and roof as I know.

See if you can get a report that shows signal attenuation of AM (535 kHz to 1700 kHz) and FM (88 MHz to 108 MHz) signals for the coatings. The shop doing the work probably has not had the test run, but the product manufacturer should have. If you have the name of the tint manufacturers, do a web search to see if they have sites and investigate. Only dielectric materials, like the ceramic, will not attenuate electrical signals. Dissipative materials, probably the hybrids, probably attenuate signal, but whether it is acceptable depends on test results from an independent lab. If there is a UL or CA seal on the product, you can believe the results.

The tintors want to use the SunTech film products, one of which using the hybrid and the other the ceramic film.

If I ask them these material science questions, their jaws are just gonna drop! 

I have 2 similar cars ('05 and '06 Taurus, Light Blue/Grey and Silver, same interior) one had tint when we got it the other doesn’t. I cannot tell a difference in temperature after being parked, but if you have the ac on you can run it at a warmer setting, and/or lower fan speed and feel comfortable in the tinted car. some days I can even turn the ac off and just blow outside air in the one but need it in the other. However on a recent road trip in the tinted car as I switched where I was sitting in the car I found that if I set the air to be comfortable while I was driving then switched drivers and sat in back I was too cold, the windshield obviously does not have tint, and you can tell!

ceramic tint? and how can tint be “hybrid”?

Contact Sun Tek and express your concerns. I’m sure that they will give you a reasonable answer to direct questions. If it is just a question of which one of their coatings to use, they should be forthright.