There are some very significant risks associated with installing window tint in vehicles and generally speaking, they are not well understood. In this article Brad Maguire of Precision Window Tinting, (a car window tinting company in Perth, Australia), gets to the heart of the matter and offers some no nonsense advice.
In all States and Territories of Australia, the darkest legal tint legally permitted on a vehicle is one with a VLT (visible light transmission) level of 35%, on all vehicle windows (excluding the front windscreen, which cannot have any window film except for a visor strip across the top). The northern Territory and Western Australia are the only exceptions. In the Northern Territory you are legally permitted a minimum VLT of 15% for windows behind the driver; and in WA you are allowed 20% VLT on windows behind the driver.
So what’s the fuss about then? What people don’t consider is that most vehicles already have a slight factory installed tint in the glass in their front windows, and this really should be considered when adding tint to a car, otherwise you run the risk of a number of problems, which we will address here. But first lets look at the maths and see how the problem can happen.
Let’s assume the factory windows on your car already block 30% of light, and then a film with the “darkest legal tint” of 35% is added to your windows. That means the film will emit only 35% of light into a window that is already only emitting 70% of light, so the end VLT will be the sum of the combination of both VLT ratings, and you now have an illegal tint on your car.
So what are the risks of this? First of all, and the least of your problems really, is the risk of a fine. Secondly and more seriously, if your vehicle is then involved in an accident, and its illegally dark windows are considered by the court to be a contributing factor to the accident, your insurance policy will become invalid, leaving you exposed to the full financial implications of the accident. Thirdly, and even more worrying is the fact that if this happens, criminal charge could apply if property is damaged or people are hurt. Finally is the issue of restitution. If your vehicle is deemed un-roadworthy because of a tint, you won’t be able to drive the car again until it has been put through roadworthy testing, at which point the illegal tint will have to be removed.
As you can see, the risks of installing a darker than legal tint are significant, and to avoid them your window tinter needs to consider the combined VLT of both the glass and film when recommending the appropriate tint for your car. So make sure you use a quality window tinter that has the expertise to be able to offer you the best solution for your circumstances, and keep your vehicle legal. That way you’ll end up with the benefits of window tinting, instead of unknowingly buying a series of problems and risks.