Car window tints explained


Understand the different types of window tints before buying.

Window tint being applied to SUV.

Tinted car windows not only look good, they also improve comfort and safety for vehicle occupants.

They can block out up to 99% of harmful UV rays, reduce the impacts of heat inside vehicles and cut annoying and potentially dangerous glare.

They also add to the vehicle’s safety as the tint’s film can hold together shattered glass in a crash.

RACQ Autoglass Window Tinter Brandon Wilson said films came in many shades, with the most popular in Queensland being the darkest legally allowed.

A tint film’s shade is measured as the percentage of light allowed to pass through the window, known as VLT or Visible Light Transference.

“A lower percentage VLT allows less light to pass through the car’s window and is therefore a darker film,” Brandon said.

Darkest legal tint in Queensland

The darkest legal window film for front door glasses is 35% in Queensland. However, you can go darker (20% VLT) in the car's rear section.

“The darker film for the rear section of the car is great for kids, pets or to protect the car’s interior as it offers higher heat rejection, glare rejection and privacy when compared with the darkest legal film for the front windows,” Brandon said.

He said it was important to know what you wanted from your tinting before choosing between the four options – dye, carbon, metallised and ceramic.

“If you are tinting your car mainly to enhance appearance and privacy, then dye and carbon films are an affordable option,” Brandon said.

“Although they don’t offer the heat rejection of metallised and ceramic films, most do provide 99% UV protection.

“If you are looking for maximum heat rejection and interior protection, then ceramic and metallised films are the best options.

“Metallised films are more affordable, but they are made of metal particles known to interfere with cellular and radio signals, which can be an issue.

“Ceramic films, however, are signal-friendly and tend to offer higher heat rejection, optical clarity, interior protection, and longevity.”

Brandon said the best ceramic films were nano-ceramic films which provide the highest heat rejection and clarity amongst all window film technologies.

“Once you’ve determined what range of films you are looking for, ensure the film you do select has a good warranty and the service provider is trusted,” he said.

Different types of window tint

  • Dye films are great for people who are mainly looking to improve the aesthetic and privacy of their car.

They are often nice-looking films, but they provide less heat rejection than new technologies and won’t last as long.

The latest dye technology is called deep dye, which provides a colour-stable (won’t fade or change colour) warranty, unlike previous dye technologies that fade or turn purple over time.

  • Carbon films are similar to dye films but offer the colour stability that old dye technologies are missing.

Downsides include potential haziness due to the size of the carbon particles used to construct the film being larger than newer technologies which allow light to bounce around, ultimately affecting its clarity.

  • Metallised films can be a great way for people to get good heat-rejecting films for a lower price.

However, metals are known to interfere with radio and cellular signals. Also, they don’t offer the longevity of ceramic films.

  • Ceramic films are made from particles that are non-conductive and non-metallic.

This makes them great for blocking heat and not interfering with radio and cellular signals. The best ceramic films are nano-ceramic films with the smallest and most uniform particle size, which provide the highest heat rejection and clarity amongst all window film technologies.

The heat from the sun can be broken into UV, visible light and infrared rejection. Older technologies mainly rely on rejecting UV and visible light.

Since they rely on blocking visible light, they offer good heat rejection at darker VLTs but not so much at higher VLTs. Ceramic films, however, block a large percentage of infrared radiation, which makes up about half of the heat you feel from the sun, unlike other technologies.

Infrared is non-visible light, so blocking large amounts of this has little impact on the VLT of films, allowing significantly more heat rejection at higher VLTs such as clear/light films, making a ceramic film the best option for privacy glass.

Drive in comfort and style with RACQ car window tinting

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Things to note

The information in this article has been prepared for general information purposes only and is not intended as legal advice or specific advice to any particular person. Any advice contained in the document is general advice, not intended as legal advice or professional advice and does not take into account any person’s particular circumstances. Before acting on anything based on this advice you should consider its appropriateness to you, having regard to your objectives and needs.