Why should I tint my car windows?

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car interiorThere are fundamentally seven reasons why you might want to get your car windows tinted, and it’s not all about how the car looks. Here’s a rundown of those seven reasons…

1) UV Protection

Sun (ie ‘UV’ – UltraViolet light) exposure is the main cause of skin cancer, and Australia is effectively the world capital of skin cancer, with this particular cancer representing over 80% of all new cancer diagnoses in the country. Ultraviolet light from the sun comes in three types…

  1. UVC – this type dissipates in the upper atmosphere so very little of it gets to the surface of the planet
  2. UVB – this type is the one that causes sunburn
  3. UVA – this type penetrates into the skin more than UVB and is emitted by the sun in much great volume than UVB (around 40 times as much UVA than UVB); UVA is the UV type that causes skin cancer

So any way of reducing exposure to UV, especially UVA, will help. Given the amount of time we spend in our cars, the UV protection side of car window tinting is an important factor.

Interestingly, in Australia there is no standard for UV blocking for automotive glass. The type of glass used for the windows does impact the UV blocking capacity – most windscreen glass is ‘laminated’, which means the glass itself is composed of an inner layer of polycarbonate sandwiched by an inner and outer layer of glass.

The good news is that laminated glass blocks practically all UVA and UVB. The glass used on other windows however is much more likely to be ‘tempered’ glass, that is it’s tougher than normal glass and less prone to shattering, but it only really blocks UVB while letting around 80% of UVA come into the car interior.

For this reason, the Cancer Council Australia says*…

“Clear or tinted films can reduce the amount of total UV radiation penetrating the tempered glass by over 99%. Tinting is recommended for work vehicles where practicable. The general public should also consider the sun protective benefits of window tinting for their vehicle.”

2) Glare

One of the main benefits of tinting windows, whether car windows or windows in the home, is the reduction of glare – it’s something that you are not necessarily aware of until you see a direct comparison between a window that has been tinted and one that has not. Once a window is tinted everything is ‘sharper’ and there is less strain on the eyes. Although in Australia it is illegal to get your windscreen fully tinted, you can tint a horizontal section at the top of the windscreen (as long as it’s less than 10% of the windscreen area and does not go below the windscreen wiper arcs) to reduce glare for the driver.

3) Interior protection

You might have seen cars with faded upholstery or cracked leather seats, perhaps unsurprisingly more common in convertibles. This is generally from sun damage, and having tinted windows will substantially reduce this damage. Unless you drive around with the windows and/or the roof down most of the time!

4) Glass shatter protection

This is a minor point, but putting tinted film on car windows may make them less likely to totally shatter if there’s an accident and so may stop chunks of glass flying into the interior.

5) Burglary prevention

This again is a minor point, but if you do have darker tinted windows it’s not quite so easy for someone looking in to see if there’s anything worth stealing in the car.

6) Privacy

Having darker tinted windows will give you some more privacy, however there are rules in Australia governing the amount of window tint you can have, so limousine-type almost black tinting may look pretty impressive but it’s illegal for most vehicles (check our article on the legalities of window tinting)

7) Looking good

Finally, you can’t deny that a car with tinted windows does look smarter than one without, but we may be biased here! And we have no information on whether cars with tinted windows fetch a higher price than those without either, but we suspect they may.


See also our article Car window tinting legislation explained

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