A Guide to Choosing the Right Window Tint for Your Car

Window tinting is available directly through your dealership, from professional auto salons, or can be completed by yourself. Installing the right type of window tint for cars is a great way to block UV exposure while keeping the inside of your ride cooler during hot summer days. But is car window tinting a good idea – especially if you’re thinking about doing it yourself?

Tinted windows on your car is not as simple as you’d think. It’s a precision and delicate process that takes time, special training, and patience to install it correctly. While there are a slew of DIY window tint kits and products available online, using these tints is not always the best way to achieve the look and/or the protective and cooling benefits you’d expect.

So, let’s take a closer look at auto window tinting. In the information below, we’ll explore the different types of window tints for cars, provide a guide to your installation options, and introduce some pros and cons you should consider before diving into window tint market.

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What is Car Window Tinting?

Did you know that there are six different types of window tints available? From basic dyed tinting film to advanced ceramic tint, car owners in North America have multiple ways to protect the interior of their valued rides. Within the different types or materials that make-up tints are multiple shades or darkness.

Also, there are different locations you can install them including side windows, rear window, and auto tinting in limited areas for front windshield tint. Even further, there are a range of installation options – from professional auto salons to DIY window tint film.

Regardless of which type of tint film you select, they all serve a similar purpose – blocking harmful UV rays or IR (which is infrared that causes heating inside the cabin.) The film itself is an ultra-thin substance that has an adhesive bonding that is activated with soapy water or a special lubricant spray.

There are some window tints for cars that made for aesthetic improvements, providing a darker appearance on the rear windows, driver and passenger front windows, and even a stripe on top of the front windshield – in some US States and Canadian Providences.

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The aforementioned six different type of car window tinting films include:

Dyed Car Window Tinting: This is your entry level tint film. The dyed film is basically a visual improvement dark tint, that really isn’t great at providing protection against UV radiation, UVA or IR. These are all spectrum within visible light that can cause damage and increased temperature.

Metalized Car Window Tinting: Protection really begins with metalized film. This material is infused with microscopic pieces of metal that provides a reflective quality, enhances window strength, and is effective at blocking UV and small percentages of infrared radiation.

Hybrid Car Tint: If you’re looking for a blend between the two above, the hybrid tint is a good middle ground. It will give you some reflective qualities, without being too dark of a tint. This makes it an affordable window tint for protecting the interior from UV exposure, without producing night driving issues.

Carbon Window Tint: Here is another factoid. Did you know that some window films can provide¬†tinting health benefits? It’s when the tint can blog at least 40 percent of infrared radiation or IR, which is the main contributor to increasing heat inside the cabin of your daily driver. The carbon window tint film is a matte finish window tint that is designed to keep your vehicle cooler. Carbon film is less likely to fade or crack due to excessive exposure, which makes it a good middle-grade window tint for those in hot climates.

Crystalline Tint for Cars: If you’re not a fan of increasing the darkness of your car windows but want the protective qualities of a carbon window tint, the crystalline tint is your best bet. This is a transparent window tint film that primarily prohibits a large percentage of UVA and IR from entering the cabin of your vehicle. This keeps the inside cooler, protects the dashboard, leather interior, and plastic trim pieces.

Ceramic Tint Film: The current top of the window tint film world is the ceramic tint film. Ceramic films can block nearly 50% of heat produced by solar rays, with zero visibility restrictions. It’s also capable of blocking 99.9% of UV exposure, which effectively secures your interior from potential damage due to the sun.

Each of these tint materials and designs comes different levels of darkness ranging from 5% opacity to those that are transparent. They can be applied to front side windows, used in commercial window tinting, on your truck or any other vehicle.

Why Install Window Tint on Your Car?

Most car owners choose to install tinted car windows direct from the dealership or through professional auto salons. There are several reasons why they’d install tinting including:

Provide protection against UV exposure: The sun is a life giver and life taker. While it provides the important heat and light our world needs to function and grow life, it causes havoc on car parts – especially those on the interior.

As UV rays hit bare windows, the ultra-violet radiation is amplified or focused, causing it to impact the surface areas of dashboards, seats, and other materials inside the cabin. Eventually, these materials will begin to crack or fade due to the continual bombardment of UV. Applying a automotive window film with UV protective properties can extend the lifespan of all interior components.

Reduce cabin temperature: The other emission from sunlight that causes problems for car owner is IR or infrared radiation. This is the light bandwidth that causes an increase of heat while a vehicle sits outside. Applying an IR blocking window tint can keep the inside of your car cooler – meaning you won’t open the doors into a sauna, use less air conditioning, which can improve fuel economy and reduce vehicle emissions.

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Improve visual appeal: There is something about dark tinted windows that amplifies the overall look of any car. This is the third reason why many car owners will have a professional auto salon near them apply the darker windows tint as possible.

One thing that should be clarified is that there are limits and tint laws across the USA and Canada that restrict the darker tint applied to specific windows. You can and should review this detailed list of tinting laws per state and providence prior to making any decisions to have darkened windows on your vehicle.

You can review the specific regulations by clicking this link.

How is Window Tinting Beneficial?

There are some window tinting films that are simply better and more beneficial than others at providing specific attributes. We mentioned the three main reasons why people apply tints in the first place above – UV protection, IR blocking, and exterior aesthetic improvements. However, there are several benefits to making the investment to a high-quality window tint.

Protects Interior from Damage: A professional window tint that is applied by an expert auto salon can block 99 percent of damaging UV rays. This will reduce the potential of fading, cracking, and other interior damage.

Improves Vehicle Resale Value: A major factor when car dealerships assign a residual trade value is the condition of the interior. By taking the proactive step to install a superior and long-lasting window tint, you’ll not only improve the quality of interior materials, but also improve its resale or trade-in value.

Keeps the Interior Cooler: IR or infrared radiation is the main contributor to accelerated interior temps. There are some window tinting films that can block up to 50% of IR – which significantly lowers the interior temperature of your ride. It also means you’ll use your AC less, can help to improve cabin air quality, and reduces the potential of heat-related illness.

Can Reduce the Potential of Shattering Glass: Many window films are built with strong and durable materials that bond to the glass, providing extended strength. This keeps the window solid even if the window is shattered during an accident. Tiny particles of cut glass will remain stuck to the window tint, and not fly onto your body – where it can cause serious damage.

Are there Cons to Installing Car Window Tint?

Installing window tint is an investment in the quality and protection of your vehicle. That said, not all window tints are identical. In fact, some are simply made to provide added shade vs providing any protective qualities.

Damage-to-window-tint-film

In many cases, DIY window tint installation jobs end up looking like this within a few months. To avoid this problem, always defer to the expertise of a professional auto salon.

Investing in tinted windows is similar with purchasing paint protection film. It requires some investigation and research to ensure you’re getting the best value. Anytime you consider a tint for car windows, you should carefully answer the following questions:

  1. Is the window tint I am buying the right one for my needs? A good window tint will offer three important attributes, protection, cooling, and reduced glare. If you’re going to spend money on having a professional auto salon install a good window film, make sure it fits your needs. Ask them about the longevity of the window tint, and if it comes with any guarantees or warranties.
  2. Are you going to keep the vehicle for a while? Some people like to trade in their vehicles every few years. Installing a high-quality window film can help to maintain your vehicle’s trade value, by protecting the integrity and quality of interior materials. When that tint maintains its integrity and looks as fresh as the day it was installed – the overall appearance of your ride will likewise be enhanced.
  3. Are you going to try it yourself? There is a recent growth in DIY consumer products targeted to the automotive enthusiast. From DIY ceramic coatings to DIY window tint, it seems many companies are trying to hop on board the quick online sale bandwagon. However, window film is not as simple to apply as a DIY coating. It takes time, patience, and a steady hand to install a window tint for cars.

In most cases, the average car owner will make errors on the first applications, leading to bubbles, poor adhesion, or complete installation failure. If you’re considering DIY window tint, make sure to investigate the process, the manufacturer, and the product qualities before attempting.

Consider a Professional Window Tint for Cars

Tinting car windows is indeed a good idea. The ability to reduce road glare while driving in bright light conditions, keeping the interior crisp and cool, and protecting car seats, dashboard and trim pieces is positive across the board. The key is to reduce the negative issues that can occur when applying car tint.

These problems are mitigated by working with a professional auto salon to complete the tinting job. They will explain all the features of each grade of window tint, offer recommendations based on your budget and needs, and apply it with precision. This ensures the tinting is installed correctly, lasts longer, and provides all the benefits you expect.

If you’d like to learn more about car window tinting or find an auto salon near you to receive a free estimate, please click the button below.

Aiden Forde

Author Aiden Forde

Aiden Forde serves as the Pai Mei of Ceramic Pro Americas content management team.

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