How Window Tinting Works

Window tinting easily provides many benefits when properly applied to your vehicle. You and your passengers enjoy protection from the sun’s damaging rays. This protection also prevents colour fading inside your vehicle, such as on the upholstery. The tint keeps personal items inside your vehicle out of view, providing security. You also have some degree of privacy while inside your car, depending upon how dark your tint shade. Finally, tinting keeps your car cooler on summer’s hottest days.

Knowing these obvious benefits, are you aware of exactly how tinting works? Below, we explore the science of window tint and how it functions to provide multiple benefits.

The Basics of How Window Tinting Works

Window tint involves the application of tinted film to the inside surface of your vehicle’s window glass. The tint stays in place by use of an adhesive.

Tinting is strong polyester laminate manufactured in sheets. Atop this film, another thin layer of tinted film is applied. Each second sheet also features a thin layer of tinting agents, typically dyes, ceramic or metals that provide the associated benefits. It is this second layer that blocks the sun’s rays.

The basic properties of window tint include:

  • Reflection
  • Radiation
  • Absorption
  • Transmittance

Overall, tinting works to reflect the harmful visible and UV rays of sunlight. By blocking the sun’s rays, your vehicle does not get so hot during summer temperatures. At the same time, it captures a percentage of sunlight and uses it to warm the vehicle’s interior in cold temperatures. Tint also reduces glare from external surfaces and reduces visible light.

Confusion and Myths of Window Tint

Many people mistakenly believe that tinting impedes night vision. But most window films are specially designed to reduce glare at night while not obstructing visibility. In this way, tinting does not work like sunglasses. Additionally, provincial and territorial laws restrict use of tinting that is dark enough to potentially impede vision.

Also confusing to many people is that window tint is typically placed inside your vehicle’s windows, not on the exterior surfaces. This protects the film from external elements that can damage it.

Tinting is also not necessarily prone to lifting or bubbling. The key to having a seamless, error-free application is to visit a qualified window tint company. Well-trained and experienced technicians know how to properly apply quality tinting to avoid any surface flaws.

Science of Window Tint

Science of Window Tint

Window tint does not just block sunlight. Instead, it alters the characteristics and effects of that light being transmitted through vehicle window glass.

The widely-used measurement rating for tinting is the Visible Light Transmittance (VLT) scale. Each type of vehicle window tint typically includes the film’s rating in the product name. The lower the VLT percentage, the less visible light enters into your vehicle through the glass. The less light that comes in, the darker the tinting film.

Non-tinted auto glass transmits about 90 percent of visible light from the sun and other external sources, such as reflective light. This gives clear windows a VLT rating of 90. Non-tinted auto glass also absorbs five percent of visible light, giving it a VLA rating of 5. Finally, clear non-tinted windows reflect five percent of visible light, giving these untreated windows a VLR rating of 5.

After application of window tinting, the above characteristics and ratios change according to the quality of the applied film. Some tints reflect more light. Others absorb more. Beyond visible light blocking capabilities, some tinting can also block dangerous rays, such as cancer-causing UV-A and UV-B, as well as the IR infrared light. Which type of tint you have installed on your vehicle depends on your specific needs. Your auto tint pros help you choose the right characteristics and film for your vehicle.