Tinting fallacy – When dark doesn’t mean cooler & better

POSTED BY Oon Ee Seng ON 30 May 2014

By Shahrim Tamrin

The common perception that windshield and window tinting with darker shade to provide better protection from sunlight and produce less heat in the cabin of a vehicle is overly exaggerated.

Following public outrage with the recent announcement by police to launch a nationwide crackdown in the middle of next month on vehicles with excessive dark tinting more than the permissible level under the Motor Vehicles (Prohibition of Certain Types of Glass) Regulations (1991), Cars, Bikes & Trucks discovered the fallacy of dark tinting after speaking to experts from renowned tinting manufacturer and supplier.

CBT threw the following question: “Does dark tinting offer good protection from sunlight or ultra violet rays for a cooler climate inside the vehicle?”

The answer is somewhat surprising: “Tinting installed using solar film with heavily dark shade using the conventional dyed film technology does not necessarily mean it gives better heat reduction or cooler cabin.”

“Contrary to the common belief that darker tinting means better effectiveness and quality, many dark tinting films out there do not offer Ultra Violet Reduction (UVR), Infrared Rejection (IRR) or Total Solar Energy Rejection (TSER).

“Without those, the dark tinting films in the market are just coloured films,” said B.K Tan, the procurement head of Solapex Marketing.

For example, he said, the UVR prevents ultraviolet radiation of high energy wavelength, which is the primary cause of fading, discolouration of furniture and skin damage.

Meanwhile, IRR blocks out infrared radiation, commonly known as ‘heat’ or ‘heat radiation’, and TSER rejects the total solar energy (heat) and reduces the overall temperature of your car cabin.

Tan said consumers always neglect these elements by installing excessive darker shades of solar film, manufactured via conventional dyed technology, as a cheaper alternative for their car window tinting.

He said that heat-shielding films with outstanding clarity performed better than the ordinary dark tint films since, “heat-shielding materials provide better protection and safety solutions for automotive glass application.”

He also stressed recent advancements in solar films technology have enabled the development of high specifications in tinting films without having to rely on dark shade.

Dark Tinting Myth

According to world’s leading manufacturer in solar film, the notion that darker shade of car window films by using the conventional dyed technology to provide better heat rejection is not accurate.

“Today’s window film technology can offer cooler car interiors without blacking-out your windows. Our 3M Crystalline and Nano Safety AutoFilm offers clear and lightweight films that out-perform dark-tinted films,” said Linda Chua, the senior marketing specialist of 3M Malaysia Renewable Energy Division.

She highlighted that the 3M-patented technology was one of a kind in Malaysia with both AutoFilms constructed using 3M-patented multilayer optical film technology which combined more than 200 layers of films and interestingly is thinner than a single sheet of Post-it note.

“Dark window films would reduce driving visibility but 3M AutoFilms are designed to allow clear, cool and visible light into the car for safe driving,” she said.

Under Rule 5 (1) of the Motor Vehicles (Prohibition of Certain Types of Glass) Regulations (1991), it states that automobile windscreens that can be tinted must permit at least 70 per cent Visible Light Transmission (VLT). For side and rear windows, the tinting can be at least 50 per cent VLT.

However, exemption is provided for vehicle owner in certain cases due to medical and other reasons under Rules 11 (a) and 11 (b) of Motor Vehicle Rules (Prohibition on Specific Types of Glass) 1991.


cermin gelap dark tint optical meter window tint meter RTD JPJ Jabatan Pengangkutan Jalan Transport Ministry dark tinting fallacy myth mitos Cars Bikes Trucks

The optical meter reading to gauge the effectiveness of a solar tinting film normally used for buildings and vehicles. (Pic by Shahrim Tamrin/CBT)

BK Tan Solapex Marketing solar tinting dark tint glass JPJ RTD Transport Ministry cermin gelap Cars Bikes Trucks

BK Tan showing the tone contrast between coloured film and solar film distributed by Solapex Marketing. (Pic by Shahrim Tamrin/CBT)


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