Best car window tint?

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need403bhelp
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Best car window tint?

Post by need403bhelp »

Thanks, all, for past help!

We have a baby (? DB = dear baby ? ;) ) and DW wants to get car windows tinted. I've never done this before, and looking at Wirecutter and Consumer Reports am unable to find any rankings of window tints or the like. Even Angie's List (now Angi) doesn't seem to be helpful in our area.

Is there a best window tint to use? Is 3M better than alternatives, or do most people go based on cost? There seem to be 3M Pro shops in our area, and one that has a strong web/social media presence, so I've started there, but wanted to make sure I'm not missing something.

Also, a pretty basic question - how long does car window tinting take? Can you wait while it is done and drive home, or do I need a rental car, etc.?

Thanks again!
Reamus294
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Re: Best car window tint?

Post by Reamus294 »

The 3m ceramic is pretty standard and should last the lifetime of the vehicle. I had a wagon done a few years ago and it took a couple hours for a one man shop. The bigger decision is with which shop/person to go with. I looked for someone that was around a few years and had a lot of good reviews.
I think XPEL and suntek are other reputable brands from what I understand too.
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lthenderson
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Re: Best car window tint?

Post by lthenderson »

You can buy a two pack of baby window shades for cars for about $12 on Amazon. Much much cheaper than tinting and they can go into any vehicle your baby happens to be riding in that day. That is the route we went.

https://www.amazon.com/Enovoe-Car-Windo ... 07YYMPLDV/
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krafty81
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Re: Best car window tint?

Post by krafty81 »

3M and a quality installer!
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need403bhelp
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Re: Best car window tint?

Post by need403bhelp »

Reamus294 wrote: Tue Jan 11, 2022 5:31 pm The 3m ceramic is pretty standard and should last the lifetime of the vehicle. I had a wagon done a few years ago and it took a couple hours for a one man shop. The bigger decision is with which shop/person to go with. I looked for someone that was around a few years and had a lot of good reviews.
I think XPEL and suntek are other reputable brands from what I understand too.
Thanks, will def check out XPEL and suntek also.

We only have two 3M “pro” shops listed in our rather large metropolitan area (each with multiple locations), although I guess I’ll also look at non “pro” versions.
lthenderson wrote: Tue Jan 11, 2022 5:38 pm You can buy a two pack of baby window shades for cars for about $12 on Amazon. Much much cheaper than tinting and they can go into any vehicle your baby happens to be riding in that day. That is the route we went.

https://www.amazon.com/Enovoe-Car-Windo ... 07YYMPLDV/
Thanks! I had suggested something like this to DW and will forward the link. I think in our climate a window tint would not be unreasonable (and to be fair my current car has quite a few sunscreen stains which maybe I could avoid with tint), and I think DW also is concerned about direct sunlight coming from back window into our baby’s eyes while sitting in rear facing car seat.

I agree window tint is probably not most cost effective and will have to see actual pricing (hundreds? Thousands? I don’t know), but certainly reasonable esp for new Forester that we ordered and will, hopefully, keep until it no longer drives similar to what I’m doing my with Corolla.
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need403bhelp
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Re: Best car window tint?

Post by need403bhelp »

krafty81 wrote: Tue Jan 11, 2022 5:51 pm 3M and a quality installer!
Thanks!
quantAndHold
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Re: Best car window tint?

Post by quantAndHold »

A quality installer, and whatever they like to work with. Our cars are both 17 years old now. The tint is the best looking part of both cars.
Yes, I’m really that pedantic.
TJat
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Re: Best car window tint?

Post by TJat »

I'd second the recommendation for window shades vs the expense of tinting. You can get as many as you need on Amazon with suction cups that attach to your window/rear windshield . I get the new parent anxiety, but sun hitting the kid's eyes is not something I suggest is worth being concerned about. Infant car seats also have hoods that you can pull up to block light.
quantAndHold
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Re: Best car window tint?

Post by quantAndHold »

Tinted windows are worth every penny, especially in warm climates. I don’t care about the baby’s eyeballs, it keeps the car more comfortable for *me*.
Yes, I’m really that pedantic.
urban
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Re: Best car window tint?

Post by urban »

Before you proceed, check with your state's BMV. They may have a limitation on how much of windows tinting is legally permitted.
realclemsongrad
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Re: Best car window tint?

Post by realclemsongrad »

need403bhelp wrote: Tue Jan 11, 2022 3:56 pm Thanks, all, for past help!

We have a baby (? DB = dear baby ? ;) ) and DW wants to get car windows tinted. I've never done this before, and looking at Wirecutter and Consumer Reports am unable to find any rankings of window tints or the like. Even Angie's List (now Angi) doesn't seem to be helpful in our area.

Is there a best window tint to use? Is 3M better than alternatives, or do most people go based on cost? There seem to be 3M Pro shops in our area, and one that has a strong web/social media presence, so I've started there, but wanted to make sure I'm not missing something.

Also, a pretty basic question - how long does car window tinting take? Can you wait while it is done and drive home, or do I need a rental car, etc.?

Thanks again!
3M and their dealers do a great job. Every time I tried to save by not going to them I had to get it redone.
Grifin
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Re: Best car window tint?

Post by Grifin »

I’ve had good luck with llumar ctx. https://llumar.com/na/en/automotive/win ... ramic/ctx/

And FormulaOne Pinnacle, also a Llumar product

Ceramic is the way to go

Grifin
jfave33
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Re: Best car window tint?

Post by jfave33 »

Went a few years with shades and wished I had just tinted from the start.
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calmaniac
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Re: Best car window tint?

Post by calmaniac »

My concern with tinted car windows (and their drivers).

Many cars have windows that so heavily tinted that when I approach an intersection with them, I can't see if the driver is looking at the road or distracted (texting). Heavy tinting of car windows insulates the driver to the reality they are sharing the road with other multi-thousand pound projectiles.

Looking forward to (tinted) driver-less cars....
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Drovor
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Re: Best car window tint?

Post by Drovor »

jfave33 wrote: Tue Jan 11, 2022 9:18 pm Went a few years with shades and wished I had just tinted from the start.
Did this too with our old cars and now just tint. It looks much nicer, covers more area and keeps the car cooler. $300-$450 is well worth it in my opinion if you plan to keep the car long term.
dak
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Re: Best car window tint?

Post by dak »

calmaniac wrote: Tue Jan 11, 2022 9:43 pm My concern with tinted car windows (and their drivers).

Many cars have windows that so heavily tinted that when I approach an intersection with them, I can't see if the driver is looking at the road or distracted (texting). Heavy tinting of car windows insulates the driver to the reality they are sharing the road with other multi-thousand pound projectiles.

Looking forward to (tinted) driver-less cars....
I am with you on this point - heavily tinted windows on the drivers side and the windshield(!) make the car a literal black box for other drivers. IMHO it is a very selfish and hazardous thing to do. On the other hand, since the manufacturers have apparently removed turn signals from cars, perhaps I am being overly sensitive.
Drovor
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Re: Best car window tint?

Post by Drovor »

Depends on state as well. In California, you cannot tint your front windshield at all. Also the front driver's/passenger side can only be tinted around 30%, not sure it is enforced though.
lazydavid
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Re: Best car window tint?

Post by lazydavid »

I'll echo the sentiment that the installer is key. I can recommend one in the Chicago metro, but that only helps you if you live here. If you share what area you're from, maybe a fellow BH has a good experience they can share.
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Sandtrap
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Re: Best car window tint?

Post by Sandtrap »

lthenderson wrote: Tue Jan 11, 2022 5:38 pm You can buy a two pack of baby window shades for cars for about $12 on Amazon. Much much cheaper than tinting and they can go into any vehicle your baby happens to be riding in that day. That is the route we went.

https://www.amazon.com/Enovoe-Car-Windo ... 07YYMPLDV/
+1
We have these in our Honda Passport. Work great. And, better visibility when not in use.
Tint makes the world look even darker at night and on a cloudy blustery rainy day when you need the most visibility.

But, depending on the area and climate, good window tint can help keep the car cooler.
j :D
Last edited by Sandtrap on Wed Jan 12, 2022 9:17 am, edited 1 time in total.
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NYCaviator
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Re: Best car window tint?

Post by NYCaviator »

Think twice before tinting the front windows too dark, or at all. Even the legal limit in most states drastically diminishes night time visibility, which is a major hazard and makes seeing pedestrians crossing the street difficult. Back windows aren't as much of an issue.

I've seen more and more cars where people are tinting their windshields :oops: I guess looking cool is more important than being safe...

If your main concern is heat reduction (not just looking cool), ceramic is the way to go. I had the back three windows on one of my vehicles tinted with Huper Optic ceramic (not sure if they are still around, but commonly offered at German car dealers), and it made a HUGE difference in summertime heat. With ceramic, you can get a barely visible tint that still reduces as much or more heat than pitch black "cheap" window tint.
lazydavid
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Re: Best car window tint?

Post by lazydavid »

NYCaviator wrote: Wed Jan 12, 2022 8:19 am Think twice before tinting the front windows too dark, or at all. Even the legal limit in most states drastically diminishes night time visibility, which is a major hazard and makes seeing pedestrians crossing the street difficult. Back windows aren't as much of an issue.

I've seen more and more cars where people are tinting their windshields :oops: I guess looking cool is more important than being safe...
I'm light-sensitive, so tinting is huge for me, and does not significantly reduce my night vision. I live in the Midwest, so I don't tint my windshield, but if I lived where the sun was more punishing (Arizona/Nevada, etc), I would consider lightly tinting it--perhaps 70% or so.

As it is, my car is 30% on all windows except the windshield, which works great for me.
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Chrono Triggered
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Re: Best car window tint?

Post by Chrono Triggered »

There are a lot of good tinting films out there. I would make sure it's ceramic and have a transferrable lifetime warranty so even if you move, you still have coverage at other shops in case it starts to bubble. I don't recommend doing it yourself. Take it to a professional.

Tinting is definitely worth it. Keeps the cabin cooler, less glare from the sun, and it will help protect your interior pieces from fading. People are commenting on tint levels and it's true, the lower the percent, the darker it is. I recommend 20-35% being the lowest one should go, provided it's legal in your state (check your state's tint laws). 20% can seem darker in dimly lit environments so you could opt for at least 35% to play it safe. This is me, but I think mismatched tint on the front and rear windows look weird; I think having the same tint percentage all around looks cleaner.

Some people even go for a tint on the windshield; something light, like a 75%. I've never done it myself though. One thing to note is if you have ceramic tint and wear polarized sunglasses, you sometimes see a shimmer across the windows but it's nothing that takes away from visibility.
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Re: Best car window tint?

Post by Teague »

Drovor wrote: Tue Jan 11, 2022 9:58 pm Depends on state as well. In California, you cannot tint your front windshield at all. Also the front driver's/passenger side can only be tinted around 30%, not sure it is enforced though.
Enforcement depends upon the area and on the individual officer, but it certainly can be enforced in CA. Hotter jurisdictions seem more forgiving. A few years back I was pulled over for having rather modest window tint. The officer gave me a choice: I could either receive a ticket, or peel all the tint off right there in front of him.
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need403bhelp
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Re: Best car window tint?

Post by need403bhelp »

lazydavid wrote: Wed Jan 12, 2022 7:17 am I'll echo the sentiment that the installer is key. I can recommend one in the Chicago metro, but that only helps you if you live here. If you share what area you're from, maybe a fellow BH has a good experience they can share.
livesoft wrote:
Hmm… at risk of revealing too much information on a public forum, it is 4th largest city in US and probably closest forum member I know of (although still probably 30-40 miles away) would be livesoft, although I don’t know if he has his windows tinted (in his wife’s almost brand new CR-V hybrid I believe?).
quantAndHold
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Re: Best car window tint?

Post by quantAndHold »

In Southern CA. Nobody I know has ever tinted their car windshield, and most don’t tint the side windows. Usually, people only tint the back windows. If they tint the side windows, they go with something that’s nearly clear. The installer can tell you what’s legal and what isn’t.

I’ve known a couple of RVers that used the clear ceramic coating on their windshields. It does keep things cooler, at the expense of not being able to wear polarized sunglasses.

I haven’t found that tinting the back windows has any affect on being able to see at night.
Yes, I’m really that pedantic.
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kevinf
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Re: Best car window tint?

Post by kevinf »

I'm also light-sensitive have 35% on my front windows and back windshield and night visibility is just fine. As a bonus, it helps diminish glare from cars with those ultra bright LED headlights that always seem to find their way behind you and never leave.

The A/C is dramatically more effective in the summer months with tint.
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Re: Best car window tint?

Post by livesoft »

need403bhelp wrote: Wed Jan 12, 2022 11:19 am
lazydavid wrote: Wed Jan 12, 2022 7:17 am I'll echo the sentiment that the installer is key. I can recommend one in the Chicago metro, but that only helps you if you live here. If you share what area you're from, maybe a fellow BH has a good experience they can share.
livesoft wrote:
Hmm… at risk of revealing too much information on a public forum, it is 4th largest city in US and probably closest forum member I know of (although still probably 30-40 miles away) would be livesoft, although I don’t know if he has his windows tinted (in his wife’s almost brand new CR-V hybrid I believe?).
All our cars have the darkest tint that could come with them as an original option. Even replaced windshields come darkly tinted, so we have not had to worry or research aftermarket tinting.
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need403bhelp
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Re: Best car window tint?

Post by need403bhelp »

livesoft wrote: Wed Jan 12, 2022 3:19 pm
need403bhelp wrote: Wed Jan 12, 2022 11:19 am
lazydavid wrote: Wed Jan 12, 2022 7:17 am I'll echo the sentiment that the installer is key. I can recommend one in the Chicago metro, but that only helps you if you live here. If you share what area you're from, maybe a fellow BH has a good experience they can share.
livesoft wrote:
Hmm… at risk of revealing too much information on a public forum, it is 4th largest city in US and probably closest forum member I know of (although still probably 30-40 miles away) would be livesoft, although I don’t know if he has his windows tinted (in his wife’s almost brand new CR-V hybrid I believe?).
All our cars have the darkest tint that could come with them as an original option. Even replaced windshields come darkly tinted, so we have not had to worry or research aftermarket tinting.
I see. I think my Toyota is too old to have a factory tint, and our incoming Subaru didn’t have factory tint as an option (we preferred over CR V this time although I think it was close, and also it is a weird new car shopping time and I already had some tricks prepared for Subaru)
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Re: Best car window tint?

Post by livesoft »

need403bhelp wrote: Wed Jan 12, 2022 4:14 pm...
I see. I think my Toyota is too old to have a factory tint, and our incoming Subaru didn’t have factory tint as an option (we preferred over CR V this time although I think it was close, and also it is a weird new car shopping time and I already had some tricks prepared for Subaru)
Odd on the Subaru. Our Subaru has pretty dark tinting. All the rear glass is definitely darker that the front passenger windows which are not clear themselves. This is pretty standard around Houston I think. We never felt the need for darker windows. But the interiors of our cars are beige and not black (except for the top of the dash as a light-colored dash would reflect off the inside of the windshield).

Also the darkness of tinting is covered by motor vehicle laws.
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need403bhelp
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Re: Best car window tint?

Post by need403bhelp »

livesoft wrote: Wed Jan 12, 2022 5:04 pm
need403bhelp wrote: Wed Jan 12, 2022 4:14 pm...
I see. I think my Toyota is too old to have a factory tint, and our incoming Subaru didn’t have factory tint as an option (we preferred over CR V this time although I think it was close, and also it is a weird new car shopping time and I already had some tricks prepared for Subaru)
Odd on the Subaru. Our Subaru has pretty dark tinting. All the rear glass is definitely darker that the front passenger windows which are not clear themselves. This is pretty standard around Houston I think. We never felt the need for darker windows. But the interiors of our cars are beige and not black (except for the top of the dash as a light-colored dash would reflect off the inside of the windshield).

Also the darkness of tinting is covered by motor vehicle laws.
I see, thank you for the information re the Subaru. We have not actually received the Subaru yet so hopefully we share your experience. What I meant was there was no option to choose any kind of tint when doing the factory order, so I guess we assumed there was none on the vehicle .
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Re: Best car window tint?

Post by livesoft »

need403bhelp wrote: Wed Jan 12, 2022 8:44 pmI see, thank you for the information re the Subaru. We have not actually received the Subaru yet so hopefully we share your experience. What I meant was there was no option to choose any kind of tint when doing the factory order, so I guess we assumed there was none on the vehicle .
Lots of pictures showing the darkness of the windows are all over the place.
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unclescrooge
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Re: Best car window tint?

Post by unclescrooge »

quantAndHold wrote: Wed Jan 12, 2022 11:26 am In Southern CA. Nobody I know has ever tinted their car windshield, and most don’t tint the side windows. Usually, people only tint the back windows. If they tint the side windows, they go with something that’s nearly clear. The installer can tell you what’s legal and what isn’t.

I’ve known a couple of RVers that used the clear ceramic coating on their windshields. It does keep things cooler, at the expense of not being able to wear polarized sunglasses.

I haven’t found that tinting the back windows has any affect on being able to see at night.
I went with clear ceramic coating on the windshield and a very faint tint on the frton side windows.
I was worried about not being able to use polarized sunglasses, but it turned out to be unfounded.

The car is now much cooler, especially on 110 degree days.
quantAndHold
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Re: Best car window tint?

Post by quantAndHold »

unclescrooge wrote: Wed Jan 12, 2022 10:45 pm
quantAndHold wrote: Wed Jan 12, 2022 11:26 am In Southern CA. Nobody I know has ever tinted their car windshield, and most don’t tint the side windows. Usually, people only tint the back windows. If they tint the side windows, they go with something that’s nearly clear. The installer can tell you what’s legal and what isn’t.

I’ve known a couple of RVers that used the clear ceramic coating on their windshields. It does keep things cooler, at the expense of not being able to wear polarized sunglasses.

I haven’t found that tinting the back windows has any affect on being able to see at night.
I went with clear ceramic coating on the windshield and a very faint tint on the frton side windows.
I was worried about not being able to use polarized sunglasses, but it turned out to be unfounded.

The car is now much cooler, especially on 110 degree days.
Good to know. Thank you. I’ve been considering doing ceramic on the windshield of the motorhome. It’s huge, and where a lot of the heat pours in in the summer.
Yes, I’m really that pedantic.
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unclescrooge
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Re: Best car window tint?

Post by unclescrooge »

quantAndHold wrote: Thu Jan 13, 2022 12:15 am
unclescrooge wrote: Wed Jan 12, 2022 10:45 pm
quantAndHold wrote: Wed Jan 12, 2022 11:26 am In Southern CA. Nobody I know has ever tinted their car windshield, and most don’t tint the side windows. Usually, people only tint the back windows. If they tint the side windows, they go with something that’s nearly clear. The installer can tell you what’s legal and what isn’t.

I’ve known a couple of RVers that used the clear ceramic coating on their windshields. It does keep things cooler, at the expense of not being able to wear polarized sunglasses.

I haven’t found that tinting the back windows has any affect on being able to see at night.
I went with clear ceramic coating on the windshield and a very faint tint on the frton side windows.
I was worried about not being able to use polarized sunglasses, but it turned out to be unfounded.

The car is now much cooler, especially on 110 degree days.
Good to know. Thank you. I’ve been considering doing ceramic on the windshield of the motorhome. It’s huge, and where a lot of the heat pours in in the summer.
I went limo tint on the panoramic sunroof. I even tinted the rear window that has privacy glass. Very happy with the results.

Especially since I've been driving up to Paso Robles multiple times this year, since most other travel has been curtailed.
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Re: Best car window tint?

Post by Monsterflockster »

dak wrote: Tue Jan 11, 2022 9:48 pm
calmaniac wrote: Tue Jan 11, 2022 9:43 pm My concern with tinted car windows (and their drivers).

Many cars have windows that so heavily tinted that when I approach an intersection with them, I can't see if the driver is looking at the road or distracted (texting). Heavy tinting of car windows insulates the driver to the reality they are sharing the road with other multi-thousand pound projectiles.

Looking forward to (tinted) driver-less cars....
I am with you on this point - heavily tinted windows on the drivers side and the windshield(!) make the car a literal black box for other drivers. IMHO it is a very selfish and hazardous thing to do. On the other hand, since the manufacturers have apparently removed turn signals from cars, perhaps I am being overly sensitive.
Watching what the other driver is doing rather than the road isn’t safe either. There’s plenty of vans without windows, trucks & delivery vehicles on the road. A tinted car isn’t more dangerous than any of those.
Carson
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Re: Best car window tint?

Post by Carson »

We have Llumar window tint and love it. We have it tinted to the legal limit. We actually had the same problem, with our kids in rearfacing carseats, the sun would beam them in the eyes and they would sob hysterically. Window shades may have helped, but they dont' offer the comprehensive coverage for those slivers of light that can creep in. While I'm sure there are quality installers here, we actually got our windows done while we were in FL, figuring that they would have significantly more volume/experience.

Sometimes it does make the 'midwest nice' way of navigating a 4-way stop difficult, if I need to give a hand signal I can pop my window down to give them a wave. You can't use ammonia based glass cleaner to clean them.

I am a cyclist and I loathe tinted windows as I encounter them, but considering 80% of the drivers I see are on their phones anyway, I just always assume that's the case.
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