Besides renting a limo or riding a convertible with the top down, nothing makes you feel more like a celebrity in your car than tinted windows. Tinted vehicle windows not only add the chill factor – they can also shield you and your passengers from cancer-causing ultra-violet (UV) rays. Since Southern California gets over 250 days of sunshine a year (on average), window tinting is a good investment.
Before you rush to your local auto supply store, here are ten things to know about vehicle window tinting:
- California law says that the windshield, driver’s side window, and front passenger window must have a visible light transmission of at least 70%. That excludes these pieces of glass from most aftermarket tints. (An exception is a visor tint strip on the very top of your windshield of about three inches.)
- The back passenger windows and the rear window have no limits on tint levels; however, if the rear window is tinted, the vehicle must have exterior rear view mirrors on both left and right.
- Vehicle tint cannot be more reflective than regular glass – that means no mirror-like surfaces. Also, red, amber, and blue tints are prohibited.
- Even if you have a disease such as melanoma, lupus, photosensitivity – all of these indicate reducing your exposure of sunlight – California does not allow medical exceptions to the tinting laws.
- Window tint comes in several varieties: Dyed (the window film is simply dipped into dye, creating a durable, long-lasting color), metalized (“sputtering” metals such as stainless steel, aluminum, and nickel onto the film, ensuring high heat rejection), and hybrid (laminating dyed and metalized films together for the best of both types).
- The best season for window tinting is summer, because film will dry quicker under the sun. Under sunshine, it takes two to three days to cure. Under cloudy and rainy conditions, it could take several weeks.
- It takes, on average, one-and-a-half to two hours to install window tint on a four-door sedan. Larger vehicles and vehicles with specialized window shapes could take longer.
- Don’t use mobile installers. Tinting windows outdoors creates the risk of dust and other debris being trapped in the film (which is applied to the inside of the windows).
- Don’t do this yourself. You can buy do-it-yourself kits at the auto shop or online, but unless you are a pro at tinting, the results could be less than satisfactory. Window tinting requires a controlled (not home) environment and precision cutting of the film to fit the windows. DIY film can also be made of poor-quality material, and may not adhere to California tinting laws. If you make an error when tinting your own windows, it is near-impossible to remove it on your own. Professional window tinters use high-grade film (from trusted companies such as 3M) which is state-certified, cut the film to precision, do the work in a clean environment, and will add a sticker with their company name and address to your car, as the law requires.
- Go to JobQuotes.com to find window tint installers. We have a long list of professionals to go through, so you may find one close to home. Visit our site, read the ratings of our pros, and make the choice that is right for you. A cooler car (literally and figuratively) awaits!