Contributed by Tara Bush and Pete Muller
I never gave much thought to tint on a classic car but after traveling thousands of miles across the country on the Hot Rod Power Tour in June, my new aftermarket AC wasn't doing much good. Between the window gaps, floorboard heat, and the sun radiating through the windows, I was a hot mess (and not in a good way). I asked Pete Muller, from Tint World Orlando, what could be done and he suggested a clear tint that blocks out the UV heat rays but doesn't distract from the classic look. I had it installed on all the windows including the windshield and boy, what a difference!
Window tint is obviously not what it used to be so Pete brought me up to speed on the latest technologies and options during our Q&A session:
For those original classics that don't want to change the glass color, tell me about the clear protective tint?
Window tint that allows about 70% of light through, which appears almost completely clear, is very popular with exotic and collectible car owners, as well as clients that track their vehicles. It’s also very popular to put on windshields because that is typically the largest piece of glass on a vehicle and the biggest source of heat. With modern Carbon and Ceramic window tint, the shade doesn’t make a significant difference in the amount of heat rejection. You can choose clear (70%) or limo (5%) and get about the same amount of heat rejection, except one is completely blacked out while the other has no noticeable tint to it. Years ago when dyed films were the only option, you had to go dark to keep heat out… but today, the only reason to go dark is for privacy. There is no heat reduction benefit.
How much heat & UV rays does it block out?
All of our window films block out 99% of the sun’s dangerous UV rays. Those are responsible for causing faded interiors, cracked and sticky interior panels, as well as damage to people’s skin over time. With the 6 different types of tint available, the heat rejection gets as high as 71% total solar energy rejection and 98% infrared rejection.
Tint can be confusing, much more than just darkness. How many different types of window tint do you offer?
You’re absolutely right. To most people, window tint is just making your windows darker, but advances in technology over the years has made it a little more complex than that. When someone first comes into our store, we review all of the different options with them and fully explain everything, so they can make an educated decision on which type of tint will be the best fit for them. There are always going to be 2 decisions to make: which type of tint you want, as well as how dark you’d like it to be. We carry 6 different types of tint and many different shades for each type.
Other than the price point, what are the main differences?
All window tint is typically made of the same base material, polyethylene terephthalate, but then it is blended with other materials that play a big role in the overall quality of it. Here is a quick run-down of each type of tint available, and we offer each of them. This allows us to have an option for every budget and need.
- Dyed window film – This is a more economical option, and hasn’t really changed much since the first true window tint was first introduced in 1966. Dyed window film will provide you with privacy, but it does not respond well to heat over time, which can lead to bubbles, peeling, fading, and even turning purple. Dyed window film is typically going to have less than 35% total solar energy rejection (the measurement for determining how much heat the window tint blocks).
- Dyed metalized window film – The next evolution in window tint took a dyed film and added metal to it. Cosmetically it looks identical to a standard dyed film, and is susceptible to the same fading (and turning purple) problems that dyed tint is known for, but the metalized layer helps to strengthen the film – helping to prevent bubbles and peeling, while increasing the average heat rejection to around 50%. The negative side to a metalized film is the fact that the metal can cause signal interference with cell phones, GPS devices, and other products inside your car.
- Carbon window film – Window tint made from carbon, rather than dye, was the next big technological step in window films. Since it does not have any dye in it, it will never fade or turn purple. Additionally, it has the same amount of heat rejection and durability as a Dyed Metalized window film, but without the signal interference issues.
- Nano-Carbon window film – The next generation of Carbon films involved nano-technology, which is basically a Carbon film on steroids. It takes everything that is great about a Carbon film, and adds a significantly higher amount of heat rejection, particularly Infrared heat rejection, which is the heat that you can physically feel as the sunlight is coming through the window. Our nano-carbon film blocks about 80% of the sun’s Infrared heat, while increasing the average total solar energy rejection up to 60%.
- Ceramic window film – The newest type of window films, which have been getting a lot of attention through marketing and advertising, are Ceramic window films. Ceramic tint is similar to Carbon, in that it is very strong and can reject higher amounts of IR heat, without using any metal or dyes. One common misconception is that as long as you are buying ceramic tint, you’re getting the best – or at least, a high-quality product. However, there are many very low-quality ceramic window tint options on the market and when shopping for tint, you should never purchase it just because it says ceramic. Look at the specifications and actual heat rejection numbers, and insist on a heat lamp demonstration to feel the heat rejection for yourself. As with anything, there are low quality and high-quality ceramic window films on the market. Our Ceramic window film is comparable in its specifications to our Nano-Carbon window film.
- Nano-Ceramic window film – Nano-Ceramic window films are similar to Nano-Carbon window films, in that they use nanoparticles to achieve even higher heat rejection. Our top of the line Nano-Ceramic window film has up to 98% IR heat rejection and up to 71% total solar energy rejection.
Should a do-it-youselfer remove the old tint before coming to you?
Window tint removal does require a certain degree of skillset as well as the right tools to do it properly, so we always recommend taking it to a professional. When removing tint from a rear window that has a defroster or radio antenna embedded in the window, if you don’t take the proper precautions, you will ruin the defroster and the antenna. However, if you are the DIY-type, we are always happy to provide guidance and suggest the best techniques to remove the tint yourself before bringing your vehicle into us.
How does aftermarket tint compare with the factory tint on newer vehicles?
Although many vehicles appear to have tint from the factory, there is actually no such thing as “factory window tint”. Many vehicles from the factory do come with “smoked glass” on the rear windows which can look exactly like window tint. However, that smoked glass does not have any of the heat rejection or UV rejection that window tint provides. Therefore, we always recommend installing real window tint over the smoked glass, to receive the heat and UV rejection benefits. Many people that believe their rear windows are tinted will opt to only tint their front windows… but then they’ll quickly notice that it doesn’t make their vehicle any cooler on the inside, because all of the other windows are still letting the heat in.
I noticed that you specialize in classics, modern muscle, and exotics. Are all Tint World locations the same?
There are about 80 Tint World locations globally and each one is independently owned and operated, so the clientele of each store is likely going to be unique to their specific area. The Tint World model is designed to provide the highest quality window films with the best installations, which has worked well for us at our location. At Tint World Orlando, we are very entrenched in the local car community and enjoy regularly spending our weekends and evenings at car meets with car enthusiasts like ourselves who own classic, modern muscle, and exotic cars.