Everyday, rays of light from the sun blasts through our windows and this poses quite a bit of a problem, as not only it literally bakes us with the heat from the infrared spectrum, but the visible light makes it difficult for us to focus on the road. And not to mention our lovely upholstery could be ruined by the UV rays.
We cannot see infrared and UV rays with our naked eye, but it is radiated by the sun all the time. We can only see the brightness of sunlight, and feel the heat burning on our skin. In a car, coming into contact with sunlight is inevitable, as we are surrounded by the windscreen and windows, which allows sunlight and its associated rays to penetrate into the cabin easily.
Solar control tint is the answer to reduce and reflect these rays away. The tint is simply a plastic film or metallic laminate which is applied to the laminated glass windows in the car. While the basic idea is the same, the tint films come in different compositions, causing varying effects on the optical and mechanical properties of the glass it is applied to.
Selecting a tint is no easy matter. While price plays an important role, it is also vital to note that tinting films are not created equal. Dyed film will fade quickly due to the UV rays, while some metalized film may be an issue to contact-less parking tags or toll tags. In general, metalized films are superior to that of dyed films, both in performance and lifespan.
The following are the main specifications to look out for when choosing a tint film:
VLT – Visible Light Transfer
This figure (in %) denotes the amount of visible light transmitted by the tint film. Simply put, the higher the %, the brighter your cabin gets. Theoretically, if this figure is 100% then there will be no change to the visible light entering your cabin. Whereas if this figure is 0%, there will be absolutely no visible light entering your cabin.
* When choosing tint films, be sure to check with your local transport authority (RTO) regarding the minimum VLT required.
IRR – Infrared Rejection
This figure (in %) denotes the amount of infrared rays rejected by the tint film. The higher % the better.
This figure (in %) denotes the amount of UV rays rejected by the tint film. The higher % the better.
TSER – Total Solar Energy Rejection
This figure (in %) denotes the total solar energy (VLT+IR+UV) rejected by the tint film. This should be one of the main selection value to observe and used for comparison between different tint films.
Although different tints may boast the same or similar specifications, the construction of the tint must also be taken into account. As these films are exposed to prolonged heat and rays, those with sub par construction would disintegrate quickly, effectively reducing its working lifespan and the film will soon fall short of its quoted specifications.
A quality tint film will last longer, typically 5 years or more with a factory backed warranty which is an indication of the manufacturer’s confidence in its film. In addition, the film will stay closer to its specifications over time as it does not deteriorate as fast as sub par quality films. Thus it will be wiser to invest in a quality tint film from the beginning.
The benefits of installing a quality sun control film is numerous, apart from keeping the harmful UV rays at bay, it will effectively reduce the heat entering your car’s cabin, thus reducing the load on the air-conditioning unit which translates to better fuel mileage. On top of that, it will also increase the strength of the window, providing extra hold should the glass breaks in an accident. Judging from the benefits, solar control films should be one of the first items to install after purchasing a car and no motorist should be without it.