Did you know that the global auto tinting film market was worth $3.5 billion in 2020? By 2030, experts estimate it to grow further and become a $5.76 billion industry.

One reason behind that growth is the ultraviolet protection car tint films provide. After all, prolonged UV exposure is the primary culprit behind skin cancer. In the U.S. alone, doctors diagnose 9,500 people with this type of cancer every day.

Since quality auto tints block UV, they act as extra protection against the sun’s harmful rays.

So if you don’t have tinted car windows yet, now’s the best time to consider investing in them. We’ve shared tips and tricks to help you choose the right ones below, so be sure to read on.

Understand Basic Car Tint Lingo

VLT is the most common and crucial term you’ll encounter when getting tinted windows for your car. It stands for visible light transmission. It’s a measurement of visible light that an object allows through and is often in percentage form. 

The lower the VLT is, the less light that gets transmitted, and thus, the darker the tint’s shade. For instance, a VLT of 10% means the car window tint only allows 10% of light and blocks 90% of it.

Conversely, the higher the VLT, the more light passes through. Therefore, the tint’s shade is also lighter. For example, a 90% VLT means the film transmits 90% of light while only blocking 10% of it.

Factor in Your State’s Tinting Laws

Auto window tinting in the United States is a heavily regulated car modification. That’s the chief reason you’d want to learn about VLT, lest you want to break your state’s tinting laws.

Allowable VLT percentages vary across states; three don’t even allow tinting. These include New Hampshire, New Jersey, and Vermont. Six states, including California and Iowa, plus D.C., only permit a VLT of 70% or higher.

Other states are more lenient; for example, New Mexico allows a VLT of as low as 20%. Even more lax is Michigan, permitting its residents to use tints as dark as they want. However, in MI, you can only tint the top 4 inches of the windshield and front side windows.

Please ensure you choose window tint films that comply with your state’s tinting laws. Otherwise, you can expect to get stopped by police, ticketed, fined, and ordered to remove the tints. Get caught again, and you’re looking at an infraction and hundreds of dollars in penalty.

What if you also want to protect your windshield without breaking the law? In that case, consider investing in a ceramic coat. Learn more about these clear glass coats and how to get car ceramic coating here.

Consider Your Health Condition

People with lupus, a rare immune system disorder, often experience photosensitivity too. It makes them highly sensitive to natural and artificial UV light. About 40% to 70% of patients with lupus find that UV exposure worsens their condition.

Other conditions, including albinism, dermatomyositis, and photophobia, also worsen due to light exposure. Thus, many state governments exempt people with these health problems from tinting laws.

If you have one of those conditions, you may apply for a medical exemption. Your state-licensed physician must fill out the form and specify your health problem. Depending on your state, your doctor may also indicate a specific VLT percentage.

Send the application form to your specific state’s department of motor vehicles. Once received, the DMV reviews your application, approves or declines it, and sends it back to you.

Once approved, you can tint your windows based on the DMV-approved VLT percentage. You must also have the form in your vehicle at all times.

Learn More About Window Tint Types

There are many types of window tint, including dyed, metallic, carbon, and ceramic.

Dyed tints are the cheapest option for darkening your car windows. However, they’re not that effective in controlling heat and can only block some of the sun’s UV rays. They also have the shortest lifespans, usually fading after a few years.

Metallic tints contain metal microparticles that allow them to reflect sunlight. So, they’re more effective than dyed tints in blocking the sun’s heat and UV rays. However, a big downside to them is that they can interfere with GPS and radio signals.

Carbon tints have carbon fiber particles that block more UV rays than metallic tints. They also have a matte finish, exceptional insulating properties, and reliable longevity. They cost more than dyed and metallic tints, though.

Ceramic tints outperform dyed, metallic, and carbon options in all aspects. But for the same reason, they often cost the most. However, their pros, including their long life, outweigh their cons.

Mind Your Vision

Before choosing the darkest allowable VLT, consider your vision first. That’s especially crucial if you often drive at night and have myopia. Also known as nearsightedness, this refractive eye error can cause night blindness too.

Night blindness can make it difficult to see well at night or in dim environments. Thus, pairing this with dark tints can make night driving dangerous for you. To stay on the safe side, consider a higher VLT.

Besides, tints don’t have to be very dark to block UV and heat. For example, lighter-colored carbon and ceramic films provide exceptional UV protection. They’re also as effective in rejecting heat as their darker counterparts.

Invest in the Best Car Tint Today

Remember: Choosing the best car tint requires knowing your state’s VLT and tint laws. That’s because how dark your windows can be hinges on those rules unless you have a medical exemption. So once you know your state regulations, you can compare your tint options.

If you’re still unsure which tint to get, you can always seek help from local body shops and tint installers.

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