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Duke UltimaDork
12/5/14 9:26 a.m.

Rather than clog up the "first mods" thread, I'll start another here.

A number of people mentioned installing window tint as being highly important. Is that because of where you live? To me, the first mod I would do is to remove any aftermarket window tint. It's almost always waaaaay too dark, and I prefer being able to see out of things I'm driving. But I live in a pretty temperate climate and we don't get baked to death by the sun. So, if you care to share, what's the love for really dark tints?

Joe Gearin
Joe Gearin Associate Publisher
12/5/14 9:34 a.m.

I'm planning on adding limo-black tint to the rear of my mini-van. The main reason is I live in Florida, and the sun is incredibly destructive to car interiors if parked outside. I also don't want anyone to be able to look into my vehicle for theft prevention purposes.

I've had dark tint before, and although it's more difficult to see at night---headlights still are visible, and it's never bothered me.

GameboyRMH MegaDork
12/5/14 9:45 a.m.

I don't use super-black tint because it makes it a bit harder to see at night, especially on unlit roads.

I don't put tint on my Samurai because it would be awful in night rallies due to this, and since it doesn't have AC it's better to take the sun with the breeze than to lock yourself in a rolling oven (and it gets much worse if you were to ever roll down the rear of the soft top for some reason).

I use a fairly light tint to keep the tropical sun from searing my skin off (and I'm far from pasty-white). More important than darkness is how much UV and IR the tint can block. 3M makes a very light tint with heavy UV and IR blocking (forgot the model).

Here's the tint on my AE92 (old pic now, from 2012):

Dusterbd13 SuperDork
12/5/14 9:46 a.m.

I live in north Carolina. Legal limit is 35%. All my cars, save the elky, are tinted that dark. Really helps cut down the heat and makes the ac work better.

Elky is 20% because it's black, and just looks so much more badass with dark windows. May regret it when I drive it at night though.

dinger Reader
12/5/14 9:54 a.m.

I always tint the windows 35% or 50% on my new or new-to-me cars. My reason, it makes highway driving so much cooler (temperature wise) in the summer when the sun beats down. Bonus, tint film saves the interior, even the light stuff blocks UV way better than the factory tint. I'm not a limo-dark person, just enough to cut glare.

bigdaddylee82 Dork
12/5/14 10:06 a.m.

Arkansas is 25% on both sides and a 5" strip "eyebrow" on the front, rear can be 10%. We did 25% all the way around on the Jetta, was actually a Christmas present for SWMBO several years ago.

There was a very noticeable improvement in Summer interior temps, and how quickly the A/C could cool the car after baking on a parking lot for hours on end.

The eyebrow strip helps cut down on how often you really need the sun visors too.

Additionally, esthetics, it tends to give a car a whole new "attitude."

Our next car will get the same treatment.

wbjones UltimaDork
12/5/14 10:06 a.m.
Dusterbd13 wrote: I live in north Carolina. Legal limit is 35%. All my cars, save the elky, are tinted that dark. Really helps cut down the heat and makes the ac work better. Elky is 20% because it's black, and just looks so much more badass with dark windows. May regret it when I drive it at night though.

yeah to the NC 35% …. don't understand the limit … since if the car came OEM with limo tint, it's fine

Driven5 HalfDork
12/5/14 10:13 a.m.

At 35% my car is far from 'dark' tinted, but even in a temperate climate I have experienced no real drawbacks to offset the benefits. If it was legal, I would probably be saying the same about 20% tint instead.

tb HalfDork
12/5/14 10:17 a.m.

Since I live pretty close to Duke, I easily understand it it not really about climate around here. It does help a bit in the summers but will not replace good a/c.

Being an urban dweller, I do like the added privacy. It will not turn a car into fort knox but it can help and will keep all the eyes out of your car while driving too.

Mostly, I like it because it cuts down on offensive lighting from other vehicles and stuff. Driving my small, lowered car in a world of suvs and pickups with way too much exterior lighting can be like sitting in an interrogation room. Tint does affect vision looking outwards but you get used to it pretty quickly and more than makes up for it in keeping blinding light and glare out of my eyes.

failboat UltraDork
12/5/14 10:18 a.m.

I tried 20% once on my front side windows. I felt it was downright dangerous on a dark rainy night.

our state limit is 35% on the rear windows and 50% on the front windows on cars, I think vans/limos/etc you can go darker than 35% on the rear windows. Its not something that is checked during state safety inspections, but a police officer can cite you for a violation. The limits are for the "officer's safety" so they dont have to approach a vehicle that they can't see into at all.

I just want 35% all around on the next car. My current car I've had for 5 years and has no tint.

wbjones UltimaDork
12/5/14 10:24 a.m.

wonder how the officers see into a panel truck (with no rear windows) .. and the limo dark that some cars get shipped with is way darker than the 35% our state allows for aftermarket

failboat UltraDork
12/5/14 10:42 a.m.

Since when did laws like this make any sense?

Cone_Junkie SuperDork
12/5/14 10:54 a.m.

I also tend to remove the old tint from used vehicles I buy. It's either too dark, bubbling, or turning purple. My old Lexus came with double limo tint in the rear and it was awful. Could not see out the back windows at night. I usually switch my cars to a medium tint all the way around. Great for heat and glare and gives decent privacy without giving up much visibility.

Duke UltimaDork
12/5/14 11:18 a.m.

Whatever % it is, I'm comfortable with the OE tint of the back side and rear windows on Mopar minivans. That seems a good balance between privacy, shade, and visibility. Not convinced I'd like it on the front side windows, though.

Driven5 HalfDork
12/5/14 11:42 a.m.

In reply to Duke:

I believe that would be ~20%.

I'm surprised people are so concerned about the side windows visibility. The only real thing of value to driving seen through the side windows that is at all different than the rear windows at night, are the mirrors...Provided the mirrors are properly adjusted. And the tint is as advantageous for that as it is for the center mirror. If anything, rear window visibility is more important.

The0retical HalfDork
12/5/14 1:21 p.m.

I have a love hate relationship with tint. It's nice to keep the sun out of the car, especially when its 105+ out, but on the other hand I have trouble seeing at night with darker tints.

Has anyone here tried the Crystalline series from 3M? MotoIQ seemed to like it quite a bit but I haven't really heard too many other opinions on it. I'd like to do the X-Terra's windshield with it.


cwh PowerDork
12/5/14 1:28 p.m.

Had an interesting conversation with a Ft. Lauderdale cop recently. Super dark tint is an indicator that the driver is either a cop or a drug dealer. Also, dark tint is considered "Probable Cause" for further /more intrusive searches.

ProDarwin UltraDork
12/5/14 1:32 p.m.

I finally gave in and got some tint on my car. I got the lightest tint I could. I'm guessing around 60%... most shops don't carry light stuff since nobody else seems to want it. My eyes are sensitive to light and driving in bright sunlight for a while can cause migraines :( The band across the top of the windshield is awesome for this and was well worth it.

If it were any darker, it would drive me nuts on the rear window. I can still see out of it when backing up at night, but it isn't great.

Nick_Comstock PowerDork
12/5/14 1:37 p.m.

I just looked up the Texas laws. 25% front side windows, 25% 5" strip on windshield, rear side windows are unregulated and rear is unregulated if you have two outside mirrors, if not it's 25%.

I'd like to get SWMBO's car done but she's kinda meh about it. I'd just go 25% all around.

Driven5 HalfDork
12/5/14 1:41 p.m.

25% as written in the law (total tint) realistically means 35% from a technical standpoint, since the windows are lightly tinted from the factory too.

ProDarwin UltraDork
12/5/14 1:41 p.m.
Driven5 wrote: In reply to Duke: I believe that should be ~20%.

Did you mean 80% ?

Tint is measured in % of light transmitted through it. Lower = darker.

Driven5 HalfDork
12/5/14 1:46 p.m.

In reply to ProDarwin:

To the best of my knowledge, most factory SUV/minivan rear privacy glass is typically ~20%.

mndsm MegaDork
12/5/14 1:52 p.m.

I have what most would consider mid to severe photosensitivity. All of my cars are at 20%. I would go darker, but I can't get a doc to write me past 20%. In mn the laws are bizarre. Passenger vehicles the law is 50% all the way round and a 5" strip. Unless its a van suv or delivery vehicle (like..... A wagon) in which case only the front two are subject and you can do whatever you want to the rest. Then there's the prescription loophole, where if you're me, my wife, or other pasty folk and you manage to get a script from a doc, you are exempt from the law and held to the letter of the script.

Spoolpigeon UltraDork
12/5/14 2:10 p.m.

20% on both of my cars. It's noticably cooler inside the car after the tint, especially on the DD since it always gets parked outside.

Nick_Comstock PowerDork
12/5/14 2:50 p.m.

In reply to Driven5:

berkeley the police

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