car factory tint vs tint films

Car Windows Factory Tint vs Film Tint: a Rundown

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Surprisingly, the beautiful, tinted rear windows on your car don’t offer much protection against the harsh Western Australian sun.

Known as factory tinted windows, they enhance privacy and reduce glare, but expose you and the car to the harmful UV rays. They also do nothing to keep your car’s interior cool in the sweltering heat.

So, you must do more than match the front windows to factory tinted windows to enhance your car’s security and keep it cool in hot weather.   

For further insights into why you need to reinforce a factory tint, it’s important to distinguish between factory and aftermarket tint.

Factory Tints

Despite what the name suggests, a factory tint is nothing more than a layer of dark pigment on the car window. It lacks many of the benefits that come with tinted car windows.

Car manufacturers install a factory tint through deep dipping, an electronic process that coats the glass with a special pigment to give it a darker shade.

Dark rear window glasses increase privacy, reduce glare, but not much else.

That’s right; factory tint doesn’t protect the car from heat gain or UV exposure.

In Australia, factory tint is installed on passenger windows and the rear windows but not on the windscreen and front car windows.

Factory tints pose the risk of severe sunburns as they don’t reduce the amount of heat entering the car.

Pros

  • Preinstalled by the car manufacturer
  • Gives the car windows a beautiful darker shade
  • It’s durable.
  • Reduces sun’s glare

Cons

  • Ineffective against UV and UVA and UV rays
  • Ineffective against heat gain
  • Found on back-passenger windows and rear window
  • It’s not customizable

Film Tints

Film tint or aftermarket window film is a multi-layered polyester film that’s rolled over the car windows.

A window film comprises three or four layers:

  • An adhesive layer
  • Metallic or ceramic particles layer
  • Dyes and pigments layer
  • Scratch-proof top layer

 The metallic or ceramic particles, dyes, and pigments layers give window films dynamic and versatile capabilities.

The type and quantities of the particles in a film impact its colour, reflective properties, and light transference.

Window films are installed in the interior surface of the windows after a car is sold, hence the name aftermarket window film.

The installation process entails cutting the film to fit the window then cleaning the interior side of the glass to remove grime, dust, and dirt.

The installer then sprays a solvent on the glass that activates the adhesive coating on the film before rolling the film over the car’s window.

Pros

  • Protects against UV rays
  • Makes the glass shatterproof
  • Usable on all car windows
  • Comes in different shades, colours, and designs
  • Reduce sun’s damage on the car’s upholstery and dashboard
  • Absorbs sun’s heat to keep the car cool
  • Removable without damaging the glass

Cons

  • Has a cost implication
  • Requires professional installation
  • The wrong choice of window film begets legal trouble

Can You Tint Over Factory Tint?

Absolutely. You can only apply an aftermarket window film over the unremovable factory tint.

Installing a tint film complements the factory tint while affording you better protection against the sun’s heat and harmful UV rays.

When installing window film over factory tint, bear a few pointers in mind for the best results:

  • Adhere to the legal darkness limits. Western Australia’s laws allow 35% Visible Light Transmission (VLT) on the front side windows, 20% on the rear side windows, and rear window. A windshield top strip shouldn’t be more than 10% of the windshield’s height or go below the top arc of the wipers and can be darker than 35% VLT.   
  • Seek professional advice: It takes a series of calculations to determine how dark a window film needs to be. Since a factory tint and a film tint interact differently with light, you’re better off consulting an expert. A professional installer will help you pick a film that will meet the legal VLT limits.
  • You can only go darker. Since it’s impossible to remove a factory tint, an aftermarket tint makes for darker windows. Luckily, windows films come in various shades to fit your needs just right.    
  • Never tint over aftermarket tint. Layering over an existing aftermarket tint creates a thick messy layer that interferes with the seamless operations of car windows.    

What Is the Best Window Tint Film?

While you have a choice of four, carbon and ceramic films make the best window tint films.

  • Dyed films comprise a layer of dye sandwiched between a polyester topcoat and an adhesive layer. They are no-reflective, block glare, and UV rays but deteriorate with age.
  • Metallic films have a layer with metallic particles to reflect the sun’s rays. While durable and effective, these films obstruct electronic signals and radio waves interfering with cell signals and onboard GPS.
  • Carbon films come with a dark, matte finish, reflect up to 40% of the infrared light, and don’t fade with continued usage.
  • Ceramic films have a layer with non-conductive ceramic particles. They block up to 99% of the UV rays, don’t fade, and reduce the highest amount of glare. It doesn’t interfere with electronic signals, keeps your car cool, but its more expensive.

Can You Remove Film Tint?

Absolutely. You can remove and replace film tint with a new one or if you need to comply with a new tint law. It entails reactivating the adhesive on the film and rolling it off the window.

It’s a lot easier to have your favourite window installer remove the old window film, especially if you need to replace it. However, if you’re so inclined, you can opt to remove the tint yourself.

You have a choice of five methods if you’re prepared to put in the work and remove the tint by yourself:

  1. Soap and scrape
  2. Soap and newspaper
  3. Ammonia and sun
  4. Hairdryer technique
  5. Steamer method

What Percent is Factory Tint?

The factory tint on most cars ranges from 15% to 20%, which means the windows allow 15% to 20% of the visible light into the vehicle by deflecting the rest.

Learn all about window tinting regulations in australia.
Learn about how to find the tinting percentage of your windows


Don’t Let the Hot Australian Sun Ruin Your Car

Contact us today, and we will help you pick the best tint film for your ride, protect yourself and your car from the harsh Australian sun.

Get a tinting quote today. 

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