3 Solid Window Tinting Alternatives

May 9, 2018 | Guides

Tinted car windows have been around for many years. Many drivers prefer tinted windows because they have several important advantages compared to windows without any protection. First of all, window tint offers protection from glare and heat from the sun. Tinted windows can also enhance your privacy by making it harder for people to see what’s inside your car from the outside.

toyota window tint

Most importantly, window tint can block out harmful UV rays. Many car windows come with “factory tint.” Factory tint is applied to the glass during the manufacturing process, so it’s impossible to remove it. However, this type of tint doesn’t provide adequate protection from UVA rays.

Finally, there is one benefit to window tints that people rarely think of. Tint film can prevent the windows from shattering in case of an accident.

Window Tinting Laws

Even though they have many benefits, window tints can also be a safety hazard in some situations. For example, in some cases, drivers need to see through windows of other vehicles in order to have a clear view of the surroundings. Furthermore, dark windows can prevent police officers from identifying persons inside the vehicle. For these reasons, window tints are now partially or completely banned in many jurisdictions.

window tint levels

Laws regarding window tint vary from state to state. In New Jersey, for example, the law forbids any kind of window tint on front and rear windows. In other states, window tinting is allowed but only to a certain degree. If you live in a state where window tint is illegal, and you don’t want to pay a hefty fine, it’s best to look for a legal alternative to window tint. These are the three most popular window tint alternatives:

3 Window Tint Options

1. Clear Films

Transparent window films are the best solution for protecting yourself and other passengers in your car from UV radiation, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation. Most windshields are made of laminated glass which means there are two layers of glass with a layer of plastic in between. Laminated windshields block 99% of UVA and UVB rays. However, side and back windows are usually made of glass only, so they don’t provide this kind of protection. UV rays are especially harmful to babies and young children. Since kids usually sit in the back seat, having UV protection on your side windows is essential if you want to keep them safe.

3M window film

Transparent films won’t protect you from the heat, but they block out 99% of UV rays. If UV protection is your main concern, clear films are definitely a good solution. In the case of 3M films (pictured above), they claim to block harmful UV rays as well as offering a solution to the heat, while still being nearly transparent.

2. Detachable Sun Shades

Detachable sun shades are definitely the most affordable alternative to window tint. They are also very easy to install. Detachable sun shades are made of mesh, and they offer protection from UV rays and heat. They will also give you a bit of privacy since they reduce the visibility into your car from the outside.

detachable sun shades

The main downside of detachable sun shades is the fact that you have to remove them if you want to roll down your windows. Detachable sun shades with suction cups that stick to your window are the most common. You’ll be removing your sun shades and putting them back on often. As a result, the suction cups might wear down which will cause your sunshade to fall off. However, this is not a major problem. Detachable sun shades are quite cheap so you can just replace them when the suction cups stop working. You can also find “static cling” sun shades that you can simply stick to your window. If you need a quick and affordable solution, go with detachable sun shades.

3. Retractable Sun Shades

Retractable sun shades are the fancier version of mesh sun shades with suction cups. These sun shades are a bit more complicated to install, but they are much more convenient than detachable sun shades. Retractable sun shades can roll up and down with your window which means you don’t have to remove them. On the downside, they are not very durable. They tend to show signs of wear rather quickly.

retractable sun shade

Final Thoughts

The inside of your car can get quite hot during the summer. On days like these, it’s really hard to survive without some kind of protection on your windows. Detachable sun shades, retractable sun shades, and clear films are all good solutions. Whatever you choose, we hope our list of window tint alternatives has helped you find the right product for you.

Richard Reed

Writer for TheVehicleLab.com

The Vehicle Lab

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