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Understanding Window Tint Darkness Specifications


By Dave MacKinnon


When shopping for window tint, there are several factors to consider. It’s important to balance cost, thermal rejection characteristics, warranty and style to help you get a film solution you will be happy with for the life of the vehicle. In this article, we are going to look at the light transmission specification that describes how dark the tint is.

Window Tint Darkness Specification

All manufacturers of automotive-grade window film use a number that describes the amount of visible light that passes through the film to describe its darkness level. This is known as the Visible Light Transmission (VLT) number. A VLT rating of 50 implies that 50 percent of visible light is blocked by the film. A rating of 5 tells you that the film is very dark and that 95 percent of visible light is blocked and only 5 percent is allowed to pass into the vehicle. Many people refer to that 5 percent VLT rating as “limo tint” because it offers the most privacy. Depending on the brand of film your tint shop uses, films are available in shades between 5 and 40 so you can decide what looks best on your vehicle.

Keep in mind that many states and provinces have laws regarding how dark your window tint film can be. These guidelines often differ by the window. For example, Louisiana allows for 40 percent VLT film on the driver and passenger windows, 25 percent film on the rear windows and 12 percent film on the back window. Several online resources are available to help you learn what the laws are for your state or province.

Why You Should Avoid Cheap Tint Jobs

At the beginning of this article, we mentioned that there are a lot of characteristics to keep in mind when shopping for window film. The quality of dyes and adhesives used in a $99 window tint installation clearly won’t offer the same longevity as a premium solution. Those cheap films often start to fade or turn purple after a year and the adhesives can fail, causing the film to bubble or peel.

If you are interested in having your windows tinted, do your research and look for a local mobile enhancement retailer that offers name-brand films. Better shops may have a demonstration center that will show you how the different films perform in terms of rejecting heat. Finally, make sure you know what warranty the film and installation carry. A properly equipped shop that uses high-quality films will be able to help you choose the right tint darkness to make your vehicle look amazing and remain comfortable for years.

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