Car Insurance

Car Window Tinting: Everything You Need to Know

Written by:

Katie Douglass


November 2, 2020

Last updated

August 12, 2022

Reading time

5 minutes

Katie Douglass

Katie Douglass is the Communications Manager at Oiyo and a writer. In recent years, Katie’s work has appeared in publications such as Marie Claire, InStyle, and THE ICONIC. She has a Bachelor of Creative Industries in Fashion Communication & Journalism from the Queensland University of Technology. At Oiyo, Katie is responsible for overseeing editorial strategy.

Living in the ‘sunburnt country’, it’s little wonder that car window tinting is a popular option among Aussie car owners. Regardless of where you live in Australia, chances are it’s sundrenched, which can sometimes turn your car into a hot box during the brutal summer months.

Car window tinting is a great option to keep your car cooler and block harmful UV rays, but where do you start? To help you out, we’ve put together a handy guide to answer all of your burning questions.

What is car window tinting?

In a nutshell, tinting is a scratch-resistant, thin film coating made of different materials that covers the inside of your windows. For a car, it can be adhered to the driver, passenger, and rear windows. However, it cannot be applied to a windscreen except for 10% of the uppermost part due to Australian legislation.

Most new cars will either come standard with window tinting or have tinting as an optional extra. There are also several places that offer tinting services for any make of car or you could be brave and DIY.

Why do you need car window tinting?

From UV protection to temperature control, or even privacy concerns, there are many reasons why people get their car windows tinted. If you’re deciding whether to get tinting, here are some of the benefits:

Improve UV protection

As mentioned before, we live in a pretty hot country where heat waves and record temperatures are a common occurrence during the summer season. Unfortunately, it also means Australia has one of the highest rates of skin cancer in the world with ultraviolet (UV) radiation as the major cause. This is often why car owners opt for window tinting as it can offer some protection against harsh UV rays from penetrating the glass. According to the Cancer Council of Australia:

“Clear or tinted films and window covers on the side and rear windows of vehicles can provide protection by substantially reducing the amount of solar UV radiation that is transmitted through glass”

However, the Cancer Council also notes that ordinary automotive glass already filters out about 97% of UVB and 37% of UVA radiation.

Reduce glare

Car window tinting can be a great way to reduce daytime glare, especially the effect of bright sunlight. It’s worth noting that it could also affect night-time or low-light visibility — just think of what it’s like to wear sunglasses at night. This might affect your visibility of other pedestrians and cyclists as well as make manoeuvring and reversing more difficult.

Keep your car cooler

As tinting can reduce UV rays and sunlight from entering through the car, it can also keep it cooler. This can not only protect you and the car interior from sun damage but also reduce the need for air conditioning. Bonus for fuel efficiency.

Improve appearance

Often, car window tinting is a great way to improve the appearance of your car as it can achieve a sleeker look. There are a range of tinted colours and styles on the market, so you have greater control over the aesthetic of your car.

More privacy

Car window tinting, especially on the rear window, can provide some level of privacy as well as hide your belongings from thieves.

Types of tints

The great thing about car window tinting is the many different types there are to choose from. Below, we list the common types of tints:

Dyed film

One of the most commonly used types of tinting, dyed film is a durable and cost-effective option. It achieves a dark, matte-style finish, however it is less effective at providing heat resistance or UV protection compared to other types. It can also discolour over time by UV rays and if not installed properly, create bubbles.

Crystalline film

If you’re after tinting that doesn’t create a darker appearance, then crystalline film might be the way to go. It will block UVs and heat, keeping your car cool during the hotter months.

Metallised film

Due to its metal particles, this type of film is effective at blocking out harsh UV rays, reducing glare and heat. It is also highly durable and resistant to fading over time. One of the downsides of metallised film is its shiny appearance which may not be to everyone’s taste. Some metallised tint films can also interfere with phone and radio signals.

Hybrid film

If you want all the benefits of metallised film without the shiny appearance, then hybrid film might be your best bet. Not only is it great at blocking heat and UV rays, fade-resistant, highly durable, but it also won’t affect equipment signals.

Ceramic film

Often the most expensive type of tint, ceramic film is made up of an adhesive layer bonded to a thin ceramic layer. It also comes with protective top coating. It has plenty of benefits including effective UV protection, reduced glare, fade-resistance, and good visibility. It also doesn’t interfere with radio or phone signals.

What are the car window tinting laws in Australia?

Before you hand over your credit card, it’s super important to understand what the laws of car window tinting are in your state or territory. In Australia, there are laws regarding what is often referred to as the ‘darkest legal tint’. If you fail to stay within the legal limit, your car could be considered ‘unroadworthy’ and result in fines, insurance cancellation, and even criminal charges if your tinted windows were attributed to an accident.

The car window tinting laws in each Australian state and territory, as of November 2020, are:

State/Territory Front Side Back Side Rear
ACT 35% 20% 20%
NSW 35% 20% 20%
NT 35% 15% 15%
QLD 35% 20% 20%
SA 35% 20% 20%
TAS 35% 20% 20%
VIC 35% 35% 35%
WA 35% 20% 20%
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Make sure you check the specific details of car window tinting rules in your state before purchasing car window tinting.

How much does it cost?

Generally, the cost of tinting ranges from $200 to $500 for both side and rear windows or $70 for single windows, but it can vary from provider to provider and is dependent on a few key factors. These include:

  • The make, model, and size of your vehicle
  • The brand, type, and colour of tint film
  • Your desired look and features (e.g. scratch or fade-resistant, non-reflective)
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It’s always a good idea to shop around first and get a few quotes before purchasing car window tinting.

How do I take care of tinted windows?

If you want your tinted windows to last longer and look just as brand spanking new as the day you got them, it’s important to take care of them. While you can ask your window tint installer what recommendations they may have, here are a few tips to keep them looking fresh for a long time:

Wait for it to dry

The most important thing to remember with car window tinting is the drying time, which can vary from four days to a month and is dependent on the weather conditions. So, make sure you avoid rolling down the windows until they are completely dry to avoid it peeling.

Use the right products to clean them

If you want to clean your windows, you can wipe them with either a microfibre cloth or soft paper towel. Avoid using a brush, scrubbing brush, abrasive sponge, duster, or rag as they could damage the film. Also, don’t use cleaning products that contain ammonia as it could discolour and ruin the film.

Take care with your seatbelt

While the film comes with a scratch-resistant coating, it doesn’t mean it is scratch-proof from sharp or abrasive materials. Take care to avoid seat belt whiplash as the metal buckle can scratch the window when taking it on and off.

Will it affect my car insurance?

Are you wondering if getting car window tinting will affect your car insurance? Unfortunately, there’s no one answer. In some cases, tinting your car windows might increase your premium costs if they believe it increases your risk of having an accident.

Plus, if your car window tinting doesn’t meet the regulations in your state or territory, your car could be considered ‘unroadworthy’. This means your insurance provider might not pay a claim if you were driving an ‘unroadworthy’ car at the time of an accident.

It’s best to check with your insurer if car window tinting will affect the cost of your premiums and policy.

Learn more

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Oiyo is a consolidated online resource, we are not financial advisors. We work with a range of industry professionals and compliance check our articles to ensure factual accuracy. However, we do not provide professional financial advice. Consider seeking independent legal, financial, taxation or other advice to check how the information and ideas presented in this article relate to your unique circumstances.


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