Car window tint is an inexpensive option for making the inside of your vehicle cooler, reducing glare, and adding some privacy. But it is not a permanent solution. It is prone to scratching and peeling, especially with frequent washings. It can also be damaged by exposure to direct sunlight. To maximize its life, you need to properly care for your car tint. The best way to do that is to visit a professional auto salon. They know how to treat the material and the process. Plus, they offer a warranty and guarantee the work.

Window tint is a thin film that covers your windows to protect them from harmful UV rays, heat and sun glare. Most tint is dark, but there are clear options available as well. 3M’s Crystalline Series, for example, has a clear film that the company says rejects up to 60 percent of solar energy and 97 percent of heat-producing infrared rays (although it doesn’t cite a minimum protection level).

It reduces the amount of heat that can penetrate the interior of your vehicle, protecting your upholstery and keeping the interior cool. The film is infused with metals, which also add strength to the window and reduce the potential for windows shattering. It’s available in a variety of opacities, from clear to black.

In many states, the maximum percentage of darkness that a vehicle’s window tint can be is dictated by law. This is known as the VLT (Variable Light Transmission) percentage and it varies from state to state. The percentages that are legal in different states vary for the front and rear windows of passenger cars as well as SUVs and multiple-passenger vans. Tint that exceeds the legal limit can result in a fine. New York, for example, permits no more than 5% of the window to be tinted. However, people with certain medical conditions can get a waiver to allow them to use more-dark window tint.

The most common type of tint is dyed film. This is cheaper than the higher-end choices, but it doesn’t protect you from UV rays and can make your car look cheap and worn. The next step up is a metalized tint. It uses a layer of tiny particles of metal to block sunlight, which also gives it a rich shine or luster. It is more expensive than dyed tint, but it lasts longer and can help keep your vehicle cooler by blocking more of the UV rays that would otherwise penetrate the cabin.

The highest quality tints are made of nonconductive metal and have a ceramic coating that absorbs the solar energy instead of reflecting it. These can be the most expensive, but they also have other advantages over lower-grade tints: They don’t interfere with electrical signals and are fade resistant. The ceramic also makes the glass virtually shatter-proof. The only downside is that they can reflect a lot of road grime and can be difficult to clean.

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