Car Window Tinting Comes In Many Flavors

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All you've ever wanted to know about the different kinds of car window tint.

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Car window tinting is a popular after-market modification in the automotive scene for several reasons. While most new vehicles already have tinted windows, many people darken them for extra levels or protection or for cosmetic appeal. There are many types of car window tint, each made of a different window-tint material. These can be applied to any vehicle, whether it be a roadster, SUV, wagon, or truck.

Car Tinting Service

The Different Types of Window Tints

Each type of car window tinting film has its own specific pros and cons. All car-window tint options share common traits, like protecting the car's interior and reducing glare, whether applied to the windows or the sunroof. However, the visual effects and benefits differ as follows:

1. Dyed Window Tinting

This tinted film for cars' windows is made of three layers - an adhesive layer on the glass, a layer of dye on the adhesive layer, and a tough top coating over the dye layer. Different window-tint color options are offered.

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Pros and Cons

  • Very dark tints are possible.
  • The operation of glass-mounted radio antennas and cellular phones is not affected.
  • It is typically the cheapest of the tinting types.
  • The layers may separate over time, reducing efficacy and ruining the appearance.
  • It forms bubbles if not professionally applied.
  • Sunlight may eventually break the dye down, changing its color from black to purple.

2. Metalized Window Tinting

This car-tint film comprises four layers. An adhesive layer is applied to the glass, followed by a UV-blocking layer, a reflective metalized layer containing the tint, and a protective topcoat.

Pros and Cons

  • Probably the best film for blocking out UV rays.
  • Best strength and durability with good shatter-resistance.
  • A very effective IR-radiation (heat) blocker.
  • Offers total privacy when looking in from the outside.
  • Offers a sleek, mirror-like titanium look to offset that black, matte-finish paint job on, say, a big SUV.
  • Due to its metal content blocking radio waves, glass-mounted antennas and cell phones may not work.
  • It is expensive because of the metal content.
  • The mirror-like shine may not be to everyone's liking.

3. Hybrid Window Tinting

Hybrid tinting attempts to provide the best of the previous two tint types. It also has four layers, like metalized tinting, but differs in that the second layer is also dyed but contains slightly less metal.

Pros and Cons

  • Similar heat-blocking, scratch-resistance, and durability to metalized tinting.
  • Less metal means phones and glass-mounted antennas should still work.
  • More affordable than metalized tinting.
  • One of the most expensive tint types
  • Marginally lower heat blocking due to lower metal content.

4. Ceramic Window Tinting

This is a relatively new option and consists of three layers. The base layer is an adhesive, the middle is the ceramic layer, and the last is the protective top layer.

Pros and Cons

  • Not as prone to fading as dyed tinting.
  • Excellent visibility.
  • Scratch resistant.
  • Extremely effective heat blocker.
  • None of the radio-wave-impairing cons of metalized tinting.
  • This one is the most expensive of all the available car-tint options.
  • If you like a very reflective tint, this might prove unsatisfactory.
  • Very light tints mean that you get no added privacy.

5. Carbon Window Tinting

Carbon tinting is a fringe technology not universally liked and rather uncommon in the USA. Adding carbon particles to the tint is the most notable difference compared to other tints.

Pros and Cons

  • A darker tint is possible than ceramic tinting.
  • The carbon particles also block heat slightly better than ceramic tinting.
  • Dark-particle carbon is very fade-resistant.
  • The carbon particles produce a haze problem at low viewing angles.
  • Poor visibility makes it legally questionable and may affect safety.
  • No reliable durability ratings are available.

6. Crystalline Window Tinting

Crystalline window tinting claims to offer the advantages of many of the darker tints, but the difference with this window tint is that it does not alter the darkness and appearance of your standard windows much.

Pros and Cons

  • Retains your windows' appearance, if you dislike a dark look.
  • Offers very good heat-blocking properties.
  • Maintains maximum vision because it is not dark.
  • Not ideal if you like the look of the colored auto-window tint film or darker tint options.
  • Lighter tint tone means it is easier to see into the vehicle, reducing privacy.
  • Less light resistant than darker tints.
Car Tinting
Car Without Tinting

Conclusion: Which Car-Tint Options are Best?

Of all the different kinds of window tint, the best option is ceramic window tinting, as it offers the most advantages and the fewest disadvantages - but, it is expensive. Close behind is hybrid tinting, thanks to its excellent value for money. Whatever you choose, be sure to check local laws for what window tint is allowed in your state.

Car Window Tint Film


Is car-window tinting a good idea?

Standard tinting offers decent UV protection, but many people prefer after-market options for their darker and reflective tints. It also offers a variety of advantages, but choose carefully to avoid the disadvantages you can't live with.

Can I tint my windshield?

A windshield may typically not be as dark as side windows and some states can be strict, only allowing a narrow shade band at the top. Check your local legislation, to be sure. You can get ceramic coatings without any tinting, should you simply want a protective covering on your windshield.

How much window tinting is allowed by law?

The laws on what tints are legal differ in every US state, so you'll have to check legislation on tint laws by state. While your chosen tint might be legal in the state where you live, it could be illegal in another if you move - and you will have to remove it.

Can I apply tinting myself?

Some types you can, but it is easy to make a hash of it, if you don't know how. Professionals do it better, and will have to fix any mistakes at their own cost - rather pay a little bit extra and have those with the expertise do it.

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