How do factory fitted tints compare to aftermarket tints?
At first glance, both factory fitted and aftermarket window tints look the same but there are a few ways to tell the difference between these methods of tinting a car window.
You may be after some car window tints or you may already have a car with the tints on them, which choice
Let’s look at factory fitted glass, otherwise known as privacy glass.
The window is darkened to around 20% VLT (visual light transmission) 80% tint by an electrical process called deep dipping, which involves dying the inside of the glass with dark pigment.
There are no choices in shade it’s either you have them or dont. The pigment cannot be reversed or removed and has no UV filter, antiglare or heat reduction properties. They are purely for cosmetic purposes only.
How a car window is tinted aftermarket:
An aftermarket tint is a layer of dyed film fitted inside the glass.
The Film itself is made up as a printed sheet with a specific colour dye which comes in these different percentage shades of black or Carbon, 5% 20% 35% 50% 70%
The film is then laminated on the front with an anti-scratch coat for protection, the back of the film has an adhesive layer for sticking to the window by means of soapy solution and a rubber squeegee to ensure a bubble-free finish.
it is then filled along the edge of the side drop windows to ensure a smooth finish so no edges can catch the rubber seals around the car window.
So how do the prices compare between Privacy glass and window tint film:
For an example, the cost for factory fitted rear windows in a saloon car would be around £600.
Compared to the cost of after-market tint film applied to the rear at £165 for a saloon.
Other points to Compare:
Window Tint film comes with the benefits of heat reduction by 40% and UV reduction at a whopping 99% and let's not forget the anti-glare properties of the car tints too. Privacy glass from the factory does not provide this.
There is also a choice when it comes to the shade of the film and the VLT properties it comntains:
- 5% - Which is what is commonly referred to as limo black,
for total privacy in the back of the car.
- 20% - Commonly referred to as dark smoke or midnight film. It is by far the most popular shade of window tint film. It’s why the factory fitted windows are dyed to this shade, simply put- it looks the best. For a security point of view, as with the 5%, you wouldn’t be able to see a laptop or bag left on a seat if you walked past the car in the street.
- 35% - Referred to as smoke, it’s a nice looking slight shade. Though you can see items on the back seat, the film
would hold the glass together so opportunists would not be able to break the glass to steal the items.
- 50% - Very slight shade, just noticeable.
- 70% - very slight, almost unnoticeable
How to tell the difference:
If the tint is darker or lighter than the 20% (Dark smoke
/ Midnight) then it will be aftermarket. If the shade is
20% then it can be a little difficult to tell but if you look
at the rear window and see a slight silver line around
the dots then it is aftermarket. This can be reduced after
a few weeks when the moisture from the tint has
completely evaporated, you can run your finger
around the edge of the film to tighten the adhesion
around the matrix.
The film will also act to hold the glass together in the event
of an accident, so you won't get sprayed with glass on an
impact. Similarly, an opportunist thief would not be able to
smash through the window
if you don't want to see a slight silver line around the dot
matrix of the rear window, then Privacy glass is the way
If you want to save a lot of money, have the heat in the car
reduced, save your eyes from the glare from car lights, save
your skin from the
suns dangerous UV rays, along with fading of the car
upholstery, the Tint film will also act as an extra security