Home » 35 or 50 Percent Windshield Tint? Which Should You Choose?
35 or 50 Percent Windshield Tint Which Should You Choose

35 or 50 Percent Windshield Tint? Which Should You Choose?

Windshield tint is a thin material that applies to the exterior or interior of the glass. It’s typically made from polyethylene terephthalate today, although you can find variations that include metallic or ceramic nanoparticles.

The first tints were released around the 1940s, with EZ Eye being the leading brand at the time. It was more of a spray than a film, which means the modern product wasn’t released to the market until 1966.

Those first products didn’t respond to heat well, causing them to bubble and peel. That’s when metallics, and eventually ceramics, entered the market.

You can find window films that block 50% or more of the heat that could enter your car. Many have UVA and UVB rejection. That’s why it can be tempting to place this product on your windshield.

35 or 50 Percent Windshield Tint? Which Should You Choose?

When you tint a windshield, you’ll need to ensure that you’re following your state’s laws. Most places do not allow you to apply film to the entire surface. It’s usually allowed to the top of the AS-1 line or the first 4-6 inches. Pennsylvania does not allow any. The best products are using 35% or 50%.

The term AS-1 line is a term that describes an imaginary line that extends from those letters that you can find on most windshields today. It runs parallel along the top, usually five inches below the edge of the glass.

In most states, no aftermarket tint is allowable below the front of the AS-1 line, although there are a handful of exceptions.

If you’re thinking about going with a 35% or 50% tint on your windshield, it isn’t necessarily legal. That doesn’t mean you can’t have the service performed, but you wouldn’t be able to drive it on the street. It would be an offense that a police officer could pull you over for having.

When you install a 50% tint, that means half of the visible light transmission (VLT) gets through the glass. If you went with a 35% product, that means 65% of the available sunshine isn’t getting through to the vehicle interior.

It helps to think about your windows separately when you want to tint your windows. The front side windows tend to need a higher VLT so that other people can see you in the vehicle. That requirement isn’t as necessary for the back seat, which is why the rear windows can often have a darker tint.

Your rear window is also allowed to be darker in most jurisdictions than your front driver and passenger glass.

In most states, you cannot tint the entire windshield. You can extend an allowable darkness level to the AS-1 line, a specific distance (4-6 inches) or not at all.

You’ll need to contact your local DMV or equivalent office to determine the latest rules for tinting vehicle glass.

Is 50% Windshield Tint or Darker Legal?

When you take your vehicle to a window tinting provider, you’ll need to be aware of the legal requirements for your glass darkness levels.

Your tinting provider isn’t always required to tell you that the product you want for your windshield is too dark to be on the road. Professional installers should ask about the application so that you get a legal product, but it is ultimately up to you to comply with the law.

If you get pulled over with dark window tinting, you could be asked to pay a fine, remove the product from your windshield, or both.

A 50% tint is darker than most drivers realize. If you drop to 35 VLT, it’ll get even worse. That means it could become challenging to even drive the car at night with this film installed on the windshield.

Even if the VLT rating is legal in your state, driving to another jurisdiction could still cause a problem.

These rules apply to all your windows. The darkest you can typically go is 14%, which is allowed in Montana.

What Are the Pros and Cons of Windshield Tinting?

If you’re thinking about getting your windshield tinted to control sunlight entry, brightness, and glare, here are the advantages and disadvantages you’ll want to consider today.

List of the Pros of Windshield TintingList of the Cons of Windshield Testing
• You’ll receive enhanced UVA and UVB protection while behind the wheel.
• This investment protects your interior from fading and premature wear to keep the quality and color consistent as time passes.
• A darker window tint provides more privacy while driving. It also stops people from peering into your vehicle while parked to see if there is anything in there worth stealing.
• You’ll notice a significant reduction of solar heat after installation, cutting up to half of what occurs each day.
• You will have less glare when driving, especially when using a ceramic film for the windshield.
• The improvements are greater than 10%.
• Some window films (non-metallic) won’t interfere with radio and cellular signals from inside the vehicle.
• If you use a GPS system, you’ll want to avoid any metallics.
• Adding a tinting product to your windshield reduces the risk of glass breakage even further.
• That means you’ll be less likely to have shards flying around the interior if you happen to be in an accident.
• If you install a 50 or 35 VLT tint on your windshield, some weather conditions could impair your driving.
• This issue can also apply during twilight and overnight hours.
• If the tint is applied to the outside, there are damage risks that could impair your vision or decrease the car’s aesthetic value.
• Most 50 or 35 VLT items are not considered legal unless there are AS-1 rules that allow it to a certain length before it interferes with the driver’s vision.
• If your state or province doesn’t approve of windshield tinting, it could render your insurance policy and protections void.
• The window film must be applied correctly to avoid bubbling, cracking, and other problems.
• If these issues occur, you’d need to repair it before the vehicle would be street legal again.
• Even if you install a legal VLT product on your windshield at home, driving to a different state could put you in legal jeopardy.

How to Install Window Tint

Your car’s interior can benefit in multiple ways when you have window tinting installed correctly.

Before beginning, you’ll want to verify that the window tint you install on the windshield is legal. Don’t forget that darkness levels aren’t the only potential requirement. You might also need to think about its specific location if you’re doing the work at home.

Here are some tips to think about before beginning the work.

  • Keep your workspace clean. When your working area is free of dust and debris, you’ll be less likely to have these items get trapped between the film and the window’s surface.
  • Maintain the correct temperature. You’ll discover that most window tinting products adhere better when the temperatures are between 60°F to 80°F. The full range is 40°F to 98°F when reviewing all the potential products that could get applied to your vehicle.
  • Start small. If you’ve never tried to apply tinting films before, it helps to start small. Try practicing on some scrap glass first to get your technique perfected before moving to the windshield.
  • Give yourself enough time. Although it only takes a couple of hours to complete the work, it always takes longer when it is your first time. You’ll want to give yourself a whole day to ensure the work progresses as anticipated.
  • Make sure you can see. Window tinting work requires adequate lighting to be successful. If you’re working in a garage without this resource, it’ll be much easier to make a mistake.
  • Have a friend help. An extra set of hands is an invaluable resource when installing tint on a windshield. If you work alone with this sizeable piece, there’s a greater risk that it could fold or crease while moving it into position.

You’ll also need to secure your tools to apply the window tint. The best way to approach this work is to get an application kit, but you can purchase the items individually if you prefer.

It helps to have a razor blade or utility knife, squeegee, hard card, spray bottle, lint-free cloth, duct tape, and a heat gun.

Before you start, wash the windows with a 1:10 solution of soap to water to ensure the glass is clean. You can use that liquid to replace application fluids if you don’t have them.

Once you’ve taken care of those steps, you’re ready to proceed with the installation work.

  1. The best option for at-home installation is to purchase pre-cut window tint. If you don’t have that product, you’ll need to measure and cut your film for the windshield.
  2. When cutting the film, try to have at least three inches of bleed on each side to ensure you have enough coverage.
  3. Spray the front of the film with the soapy solution while cutting, keeping the knife flush with the window’s edge to get it straight.
  4. Keep smoothing with the squeegee until you have the right size.
  5. Clean the window again, focusing on the seal, window, and edges. After removing extra fluids, spray the film again before applying it.
  6. When the film is still attached to the outside of the window, partially remove the liner. Leave about half of it there to simplify the application.
  7. Once everything is flush, work the edges under the seals when possible. Run the squeegee from the middle upward or outward to create a smooth and stable surface.
  8. Keep spraying the liner as you work to prevent it from ripping. You must be meticulous with this step because all air and water bubbles must get removed to create a smooth surface. If the film dries in place, you’ll need to remove it and start over.
  9. Once you reach the final step, dry the window tint carefully with a lint-free cloth over the squeegee. You can get by with a paper towel. If it doesn’t adhere and dry correctly, the film can wrinkle.

It can take up to ten days for the window tint to cure. Depending on the product used, you might not want to drive your vehicle during this time.

Where to Find the Best Window Tint for Windshields

The easiest place to find window tint for your vehicle’s specific make and model is Amazon. After searching for your preferred brand, you can see what is in stock for your year.

When you shop for window tint for your windshield, you’ll want to keep the VLT rating in mind. It’s easy to forget that the highest numbers let the most light through instead of the least. If you purchase a complete kit listed at 5 VLT, that means only 5% of the available light comes through. That film would be incredibly dark!

You can register your vehicle at Amazon in your garage. Although that step takes a little time, it’ll let you know what items are available for sale for your specific make and model when shopping for tints and films.

If the only project you want to work on is your windshield, you’ll find several universal products available with a pre-cut feature. Since the application process is relatively similar, you’ll find that any of these items could work for you.

Please remember that you are responsible for the tint on your vehicle. Since local laws can change, it helps to get the current regulations before securing the films you want for your vehicle.

Windshield window tint might not always be helpful at 50 or 35 VLT, but it can effectively stop solar heat and glare. That’s why considering this upgrade for your vehicle is worthwhile.


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