Many people aren’t aware that while glass blocks most UVB rays, it doesn’t protect you from UVA rays. If you don’t have tinted windows on your vehicle, you’re not safe from the sun’s harsh radiation.
You have many options for tints. If you’re not a fan of dark window tint, you can choose a different percentage and still receive the benefits.
We’ve compiled this guide on window tint percentages so you can choose the best option for your needs.
What Is a Tint Percentage?
A window tint percentage refers to how much visible light can pass through the glass after being tinted. Following the number is “VLT” which stands for visual light transmission.
The percentage is an indicator of the lightness or darkness of the window. Some people prefer the sleek look of dark windows, while others only want a bit of a tint to protect them from UV light and glare.
Window tint installers use a range to indicate the darkness of the tint. Before getting a tint, make sure you know your state tint laws, as windows that block the view of the driver or passenger too much are against the law.
What Are the Different Window Tint Percentages?
Factory-installed windows on your car have little to no tint. This is the clear glass that most people are used to seeing. You can upgrade your vehicle by having a window tint installed by a professional.
There are a wide variety of VLT options available and different types as well. You can customize the look of your vehicle almost any way you want and start receiving the benefits of darker glass.
Keep in mind that the legal tint percentages will vary greatly from state to state. We recommend checking your local laws before installing tint to avoid tickets and fines.
In Texas, the legal requirements also vary by vehicle type.
Tint reflection on the back and side windows can’t be higher than 25%. Additionally, a no less than 25% VLT tint is only allowed above the AS1 line or the top five inches. The front side windows must also allow more than 25% of visible light in.
However, you can install any darkness on the back side windows.
The common tint percentages available include the following.
This dark window tint is also referred to as the “limo tint” because it’s often used on limousines and transportation vehicles. A 5% VLT blocks light by 95%, so the glass is very dark and hard to see through.
Most states don’t allow 5% tint due to how much it blocks visibility. California and New York allow any darkness on the back side and rear windows.
A 15% tint is still very dark, and not all states will allow it either. However, those who live in areas where limo tints are against the law may go for a 15% VLT.
This common option prevents anyone from seeing inside your vehicle unless their face is right up against the glass. It’s a good safety measure that also provides excellent privacy and protection from UV rays.
In most states, 35% tint is the minimum legal amount allowed. It still provides a sleek and upscale look but it doesn’t significantly impact visibility at night.
Car owners who don’t like the look of very dark windows may choose a 50% tint, which allows half of visible light in. The benefits of this choice are that it still blocks glare and protects against UV rays without impacting your night vision.
However, you don’t receive the same level of privacy you would with darker tints.
A 70% tint is only slightly darker than clear glass. It still offers some protection against the worst of the sun’s rays and helps to keep the car cooler than having no tint.
70% VLT has little impact on your visibility at night. So, if you have trouble seeing in dark conditions, you may like this option.
What’s the Right Choice for You?
Deciding on the best window shades depends on your state laws and your preferences. For instance, if you love the look of darker windows, you might choose one of the stronger tints.
Where you live and how sunny it is usually play a significant part as well. Hot sunny states like here in Texas mean darker tints will provide more protection and keep your vehicles cooler.
If you’ve ever noticed that your car feels like an oven after leaving it parked outside even for a few minutes, it’s not your imagination. If the outside temperature is 94 degrees, the inside of a car heats up to 113 degrees in 10 minutes.
Shortwave radiation from the sun easily enters the glass of untinted windows. These rays heat up your steering wheel, dashboard, and the entire interior of the car. However, this heat can’t escape the car as longwave radiation and gets trapped.
Installing a darker tint allows less light through the glass, meaning you can keep the inside of the car much cooler.
Another factor to consider is how often you drive and night and whether you have difficulties seeing in the dark. Dark windows are perfect for the day but are harder to see through once the sun goes down. If you do a lot of night driving, you may want to choose a lighter tint so it has less impact on your visibility.
If you’re having a tough time deciding what you like best, talk to your installer. They’ll show you what each tint looks like and discuss the benefits of your options so you can make an informed decision.
Upgrade Your Vehicle
Window tinting services can transform the look of your car, giving it a sleek and stylish look. You have many choices for window tint percentages, so it’s easy to customize your ride the way you want.
Are you ready to learn more about your options and talk to an installer? Our team at Fletch Window Tint has been helping customers like you across San Antonio with automotive, residential, and commercial tinting since 1989.
Get a quote on a window tint installation or bring us your questions and we’ll be happy to help.