Is your local tint shop trying to sell you clear UV film or
Is your local tint shop trying to sell you clear UV film or IR film over your privacy glass. Please read below and check with your local RTA and insurance company, you could be driving around in a vehicle that is not covered by insurance!!!
So you’ve just bought your new vehicle, or you’re in the process of purchasing, and the salesman has brought privacy glass to your attention…. Do you or do you not tick that box to request privacy glass? What is the point in having darker glass on the back of your vehicle? And what are the Pros and Cons when it comes to Tint VS Privacy Glass?
These questions are all too common when working in the tinting business, and lack of information from salesman and lack of information on the internet can really make an impact of your over all decision to get privacy glass.
This documentation is to state the facts of privacy glass, in order to help you make your decision with purchasing window tint and privacy glass for your vehicle. So let’s start from scratch, first I will go through the RTA’s legal limit for all types of vehicles in NSW, and then we will go through Privacy Glass and Window Tinting.
RTA Window Film Laws
The easiest way to determine what the legal limit is for your vehicle can be narrowed down to 2 separate groups.
Firstly you need to separate whether your vehicle is registered for Passenger or Commercial use. Most vehicles such as: Hatchbacks, Sedans, 4WD will be registered as Passenger vehicles. And vehicles such as: Utilities, Vans, Limousines etc can be registered as Commercial vehicles.
Secondly, whether your vehicle has seats or seat belts in the back. This coincides with commercially registered vehicles which will be explained in further detail below.
Any passenger vehicle must have 35% VLT or lighter (Visual Light Transmittance) all around the vehicle EXCEPT for the front windscreen. This includes the doors, cargo / quarter windows and rear screens.
The percentile stated with window films reflects the percentage of light that is passing through the film. So the darkest legal limit of 35% is allowing 35% of light to travel through the glass, 20% is allowing 20% of light to pass through and so on, therefore making 20% darker than 35%.
Here is where things can start to get tricky. Privacy glass comes in at around 18-24%, which clearly we have just understood as being an illegal grade. Privacy glass is legal for vehicles that are approved by Japanese and UK standards, which is then imported to Australia, and because this is approved under those standards, it is fit to be legal in Australia. Only aftermarket products applied to the vehicle afterwards, ie window tint, need to comply with the RTA Law in Australia.
In saying this, the rear section of the vehicle is already darker than legal, so then what does that mean for window film? It only leaves you one legal option; this being to tint the front 2 windows only is 35%.
The film on the front is going to be lighter than the coloured glass at the back. And you are only rejecting heat, glare and UV from the front 2 windows. Almost seems pointless…
What is Privacy Glass?
Privacy glass is a coloured glass that can come as standard on the back of a lot of newer vehicles.
Being a coloured glass with no heat or UV properties doesn’t bring any benefit to the vehicle.
The fact it’s slightly harder to see inside the car, means it can also be harder to see out of the vehicle, especially when driving at night, driving in rain, or in underground car parks.
Countries such as Canada and Hong Kong strictly do not accept privacy glass on vehicles; this has to be replaced by clear glass due to safety reasons from a visual aspect.
What is Window Tint?
Window film consists of several layers designed to stop UV rays, heat and glare as much as possible from passing through it.
In simple terms you would start with a laminate which all the layers will be incorporated onto, then you will have either a metal or carbon sputtered or spread onto the laminate (manufactured in large warehouses with million dollar machinery), and you will also have an anti-scratch coating (good films will have this), you will also have your adhesive, and your backing sheet on top of this. These layers are compact and compressed so tightly, resulting in window film.
Metal films are generally copper, titanium or nickel, which is sputtered on the laminate. Metal will naturally reflect the sun, giving it such great heat and glare properties.
When metal films are applied onto windows that have an aerial running through the rear screen or cargo window, it will interfere with Radio (mostly AM signals), sat navigation systems and mobile phones (depending on the carrier and location). This is why most customers will go for a Carbon film.
Carbon films incorporate carbon pigments onto the laminate. Carbon being a black pigment will naturally absorb heat, which also has great heat and glare properties. It does not cause any interference with Radio, Sat Nav and Mobile devices.
Privacy Glass VS Window Tint – Pro’s & Con’s
Considering all the above, I will narrow down the Pro’s & Con’s for both Window Tint & Privacy Glass.
Window films offer protection from UV, Heat and Glare.
Privacy glass offers no UV or heat protection, it may offer some glare rejection.
Window films also hold glass together, making it tougher for break-ins to your vehicle.
Privacy glass is easy to break, although it can be harder to see into the vehicle at night.
LIFE OF PRODUCT
Some window films can break down over time, however if you purchase a good film and check the warranty terms, if there is a fault in the film, generally organising a warranty is as simple as contacting whoever is on your warranty card and making an appointment.
Privacy glass will not break down, so unless it gets damaged, your will be stuck with the same level of darkness on the back of the vehicle.
Depending on the quality of the film, the area you live, the vehicle you have and who you go through can all affect the price. Tints usually range between $220.00 – $495.00 for the average car provided you go through a tint shop. This should be a 1 charge only provided you have checked your warranty terms. Film will only need to be replaced at a charge to the customer if: The window film has been damaged by the customer, a panel of glass has been replaced, if the customer can’t provide a warranty card.
Privacy glass is purchased upon ordering your vehicle through the dealership, sometimes the vehicle comes as standard with privacy glass, other times if it’s requested can start from $800.00 to change the glass. If your privacy glass is in need of replacement, this would be quite a costly and timely process through the dealership in which you purchased the vehicle.
All in all it seems clear which of the 2 are going to offer beneficial qualities to your vehicle.
Just remember that window tints sole purpose is to protect your family and your vehicle from harmful UV rays. Privacy glass is manufactured and installed overseas for the aesthetics of the vehicle, bringing no protection to your family or your vehicle.