How to Choose the Right Window Tint for Your Car
Choosing the right window tint for your car is a personal thing. And you will know if you’re choosing the right one if it matches your needs and preferences down to a tee.
So how do you choose the best one for you? Here are some things to help you get started.
It’s very important that you know the different kinds of window films available in the market today. These films come in different tints, with added features that can make you decide the best one for your car.
This type of film has a layer of dye between the outer protective polyester layer and the adhesive. This type of film can give the darkest effect without getting way over your budget.
It can block around 5 percent to 50 percent of UV light from entering your vehicle.
- Can reduce glare
- Is affordable
- Has a dark color
- Its layers may separate over time
- Prone to air bubbles when applied incorrectly
- Its color can fade over time, especially when constantly exposed to the sun’s harsh rays
- It can not be as effective as blocking out heat
Sandwiched between the outer protective and inner adhesive layer, the metallic film offers a chemically-treated inner layer that blocks out UV light PLUS a metallic layer on the other side to reflect heat radiation and darken the window. A top protective coat is added to prevent scratches.
It can block out 60 percent to 90 percent of light.
- Very durable and long-lasting
- Does not fade over time
- Effective in blocking out UV rays
- Reflects heat and blocks out glare
- It can have a shiny and reflective appearance that may not go well with everyone
- The metal layer can interfere with your mobile phone, GPS transmission, radio reception, and other on board electronics.
- Expensive compared to dyed films
This is a mixture of both metallic and dyed film—without their disadvantages. It consists of a an adhesive, dyed, and metabolized layers, plus a protective top coat. They are all bonded together by a laminating adhesive.
It can block everything except 5 percent to 50 percent of light.
- Can block glare, UV rays, and heat
- Excellent glare reduction
- Not as reflective as the metallized layer
- Doesn’t interfere with mobile and radio signals
- Durable, due to the metallized layer
- More affordable than the metallic film
- Fading doesn’t occur often; or is less noticeable
- Less costly than metallized film
- More costly than the dyed ones
This is one of the most recent breakthroughs in window tinting. A ceramic film consists of an adhesive layer, merged with a thin ceramic layer and protective top coat.
It has the ability to block 50 percent to 70 percent of UV light. It can also block up to 70 percent of solar heat and 97 percent of Infrared Heat (the kind that causes heat).
- They aren’t reflective
- Does not fade like dyed films
- Great for glass antennae, since they don’t interfere with radio signals
- Blocks UV rays and glare
- Very expensive
Carbon Films have a matte finish (and a dark color) that makes it attractive to look at. It has a shatter-resistant feature as well.
It has the ability to block 50-70 percent of the infrared heat, in addition to 99 percent UVA and UVB rays.
- Attractive and stylish
- Retains cool temperature well, saving energy inside
- Carbon films can block out 40% of light.
- "True Black" appearance
- Fade resistant
- Can prevent glass from cutting you if they shatter during an accident
- Very expensive
They are clear films, and are only designed to block ultraviolet rays and solar heat. Don't underestimate this type of film--it can actually reject more heat than darker films, without modifying your car's appearance.
It can deflect up to 97 percent of the sun's heat producing infrared light and block up to 60 percent of the heat coming through your windows. It also allows up to 70 percent of light inside your vehicle.
- No need to worry about replacing films if ever they fade
- Allows excellent visibility—even when driving at night
- More affordable than the other films
- Durable, and last a long time
- Maintains your car's appearance
- Less privacy
If you still don't know what to choose, perhaps you can take some pointers from the LTO and vehicle manufacturers.* They recommended these Visible Light Transmission (VLT) percentages to maximize safety on the road:
For passenger vehicles:
- 30 percent VLT for the front windshield and front side windows
- Rear windows should remain unregulated both for new and currently registered vehicles (as a general rule, standard percentage for rear windows is 20 percent)
For truck and passenger vehicle manufacturers:
- 70 percent VLT for the front windshield and front side windows
- Rear windows should remain unregulated (as a general rule, standard percentage for rear windows is 20%)
These are just broad guidelines, and as we've said earlier, choosing a car tint is a highly personal thing. Whatever the case, you can start from here, and add in your preferences when you make your final decision.
* A meeting was held between Land Transportation Office (LTO) with representatives from the truck and passenger vehicle manufacturers, enforcement agencies, media, and Transport Network Vehicle Services (TNVS) last January at LTO's main office in East Ave., Q.C. Their discussion was about various types of tint available in the market today.
Updated on September 2, 2020 by Gail Alcabaza