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Is it worth applying a clear film to factory tinted privacy glass?

Why applying a clear film to factory tinted glass is more beneficial than you might think.
Car with privacy glass

The rear windows of many cars manufactured today have what is called ‘privacy’ or ‘factory tinted’ glass. These cars are easy to spot – the back windows are nice and dark while the front windows are conspicuously clear!

SUV with privacy Glass
Only the rear windows come with factory tinted privacy glass. This ‘factory tint’ is different to tinting with a window film.

It’s extremely common for owners of such ‘factory tinted’ cars to want their front windows tinted to match their rear windows. This is done by tinting with a film that provides as close a colour match as possible, without going darker than the legal limit. (The darkest legal tinting limit for front windows is slightly lighter than most privacy glass).

Having the front windows tinted makes a huge cosmetic improvement for a car with factory tinted privacy glass, not to mention the added benefits of UV protection, heat rejection, privacy and glare reduction.

So, is it worth applying a film to your factory tinted windows too? While factory tinted windows certainly provide privacy, they can lack the additional benefits that a window film can offer.


What is a factory tinted window?

Factory tinted glass is different to glass tinted with a window film. The term ‘tinting’ literally means to add colour to something. When automotive glass is tinted as part of the manufacturing process, colour is added to the glass itself. The result is essentially just a darker version of un-tinted glass.


Tinting glass with a film

The use of a quality window film to tint glass brings with it substantially greater benefits than the factory tinting process. Window film is a thin layer of plastic which essentially laminates the piece of glass. It is this thin plastic laminate that is responsible for reducing UV radiation by 99% or more, as well as reducing a substantial amount of heat transfer. 

While factory tinted glass will provide a better level of UV and heat protection than clear glass, it will not provide the level of protection a window film can.

Tinting Car Window
Tinting a window with film is essentially laminating the glass. It is this plastic lamination that provides major benefits of UV protection and heat rejection.

Clear films

As the use of privacy glass in automotive manufacturing has became more and more common, so too has the use of extremely light, almost clear window films. Such films applied to factory tinted glass ensure that these windows will provide the same level of protection as film tinted windows. 

A good quality clear window film will reduce heat transfer through factory tinted glass by an additional 40-50%, and reduce UV radiation by 99.9%.


Is installing a clear film on my factory tinted glass worth it?

If you often have passengers (particularly young children) in the rear seats of your car, a clear film will certainly keep them more comfortable and properly protected from harmful UV.

Likewise, if you want to maximise fade protection in your new car, a clear film will help keep UV and heat at a fairly even keel across the whole car.