The Differences Between Factory Tinted Glass & Aftermarket Window Tint

Although factory tinted glass and aftermarket tint may be similar in appearance, the materials, manufacturing procedures, and installation process are very different, giving window tint film additional benefits that factory tint does not provide.

Materials and Manufacturing Process

The two tints are made from different materials and have a very different manufacturing process. Factory tinted glass contains pigments and dyes that are added to the glass during the manufacturing process. These dyes darken the color of the glass and reduce the amount of visible light that passes through the car’s window.

Aftermarket window tint is a polyester film comprised of multiple layers. This multi-layer construction includes an adhesive coating, layers containing metal particles, dyes and pigments, and a final layer that provides scratch-resistant protection the film. Different types and quantities of metals added to the internal layers impact the tint’s color, light transference and reflective properties of the film.

Aftermarket Tint Installation

Because the dyes and pigments are inside glass with factory tint, there are no installation procedures after the window is manufactured and installed in the vehicle. The same cannot be said for aftermarket tinted film, which will be applied to the interior surface the vehicle’s windows after the car has been manufactured and sold.

The film is first cut to match the dimensions of the vehicle’s windows. The interior side of the glass is cleaned to ensure that no dirt or dust particles will be trapped under the film, and then solvents are sprayed onto the glass. These solvents react with the adhesive coating on the film, allowing the installer to move the film into place before the adhesive cures.

Automotive Window Tint Removal

It is not possible to remove factory tint from a car window. This is because the dyes and pigments are mixed inside the glass. Aftermarket tinting film can be removed from the glass by using tools to peel the film and solvents to breakdown the adhesive coating.

Professional Installations
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For best results, work with window tinting professional. Although tint installation and removal can be a project for do-it-yourselfers, automotive tinting companies have the ideal facilities, equipment chemicals for a professional result. These businesses also know and understand the laws for your state and will help you select a tint that meets your needs and satisfies the legal standard.

Protection from Ultra-Violet Rays & Solar Energy

To satisfy the broad spectrum on state tinting laws, factory tinted glass is typically placed in the rear windows of the vehicle this tint reduces the amount of visible light, it does not provide the same level of protection from ultraviolet rays as aftermarket tint. Adding window tint to both the front and rear windows of your vehicle reduces the volume of harmful UV rays that enter the car. This creates a safer environment for riders and reduces sun damage and fading of the car’s upholstery and dash.

Aftermarket film also reflects and absorbs the sun’s solar energy from infrared light. When the sun’s energy goes unchecked, the temperature inside vehicle can drastically increase while the car sits idle in the sun. Factory tinted glass does little to reduce heat gain inside the vehicle, while aftermarket film maintains a more comfortable temperature inside the car.

Shattered Glass Protection

Although factory tinted glass is tempered and strengthened to increase durability, it provides little protection when the glass breaks. Typically resulting in pieces of broken glass flying into the vehicle during an accident or break-in. On the other hand, the adhesive and protective layers of aftermarket window film work to hold broken glass in place, reducing the chances of bodily injury for passengers.


Top 5 Benefits of Having Your Car Windows Tinted

You take care of your car’s engine with regular tune-ups and maintenance, but have you thought about the care of your car’s windows? You may think of window film, also called window tint, as just an aesthetic enhancement, but it also provides long-lasting functional benefits to protect you and your vehicle.

1. Tinting Your Windows Can Keep Car Upholstery From Fading

Fade ReductionYour car is a valuable asset that you want to last as long as possible. Having window tinting professionally installed on your vehicle is a great way to protect your investment. While using a windshield sun protector or parking your car in the shade can temporarily reduce sun damage, window film consistently blocks harsh sunshine that can fade upholstery and discolor leather and vinyl. It protects car interiors from cracking and warping to keep your car looking newer longer. Window tinting also blocks windshield glare to decrease eye fatigue from direct sun and bright nighttime headlights.

Window film blocks harsh sunshine that can fade upholstery and discolor leather and vinyl

2. Window Tint Blocks Harmful UV Rays

UV Ray BlockageCar window tinting can block up to 99% of the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays that can accelerate skin aging and cause skin cancer. Ultraviolet light, or UV rays as they are commonly called, is a form of electromagnetic radiation. Prolonged exposure results in damage to the skin such as skin burns, darkening of the skin, premature aging and skin cancer. Even clear window film or a light tint offers UV protection that can block out both damaging UVA and UVB rays. Research shows that 53% of skin cancers in the U.S. occur on the left side of the body, which correlates to the driver’s side of a car. For people who drive for extended periods of time, window film protection provides a critical advantage to safeguard against this risk.

Car window tinting can block up to 99% of the sun's harmful ultraviolet rays

3. Tinted Car Windows Can Help with Solar Heat Rejection

Solar Heat RejectionIf you’ve battled finding the right level of air conditioning for all of your passengers, window tinting can help resolve that dilemma. Depending on the grade, automotive window film can block anywhere from 35-65% of the solar heat that builds up in a car. You can balance climate and comfort for everyone and cut down on fuel consumption from air conditioning overuse.

Window film can block anywhere from 35-65% of the solar heat that builds up in a car

4. Window Film Offers Shattered Glass Protection

Shattered Glass ProtectionThe safety benefits of installing window film on your car cannot be underestimated. Window film is designed to keep glass from shattering if an object hits it. In the event of a car accident, passengers are protected from flying glass shards and from being ejected through windows. Additionally, thieves will find it difficult to break through tinted glass and get into your car.

In the event of a car accident, passengers are protected from flying glass shards and from being ejected through windows.

5. Window Tint Provides Better Privacy and Security

Privacy and SecurityWindow tinting comes in a wide range of shading to provide a level of privacy for you and your passengers as you go down the road. When you park the car, you can walk away and know that prying eyes cannot see your valuables inside.

The benefits of installing window tint include more than simply improving the look of your car. It can add to your peace of mind when you want to protect your vehicle and those who travel with you.

For information on tint laws in the United States and Canada, refer to the International Window Film Association chart here. Consult an authorized Madico window film dealer to find the window film most appropriate to fit your automotive needs.

Window tinting provides a level of privacy for you and for your passengers as you go down the road.

Protect Your Car with Madico Automotive Window Tint

Our long-lasting automotive window films are specifically designed to provide fade and UV protection, temperature control, shattered glass protection, improved safety and security and more. To find the film that’s best for you, check out our film selector tool or speak with a local dealer today.

Find a Dealer View The Tint Simulator

Updated: 09/26/2019


Have It Made in the Shade: Shopping Tips for Auto Tint

If you’re considering tinting your car windows, you probably know about some of the many benefits, such as reduction of heat and glare. But where do you begin when it comes to choosing the right auto window film and installer?



Choosing Window Film


Choosing Window FilmYou may want to start with the window film and then choose your installer, because different installers carry different types of window film. Window film that blocks damaging UV rays is a popular choice and it can actually help you lower your carbon footprint. Another thing to look for in window film is if it’s covered under a warranty. This speaks to the quality of the film and if something does go wrong, you won’t lose any money. All of Madico’s window films are covered by a warranty and many are covered by a lifetime warranty. You’ll also want to choose a shade. Today’s technology has delivered a range of shade choices from dark to extremely light, while still delivering all of the benefits. Take a look at this tint simulator to visualize how dark or light you can go. You’ll also want to know the window tinting laws in your state, but a good installer should also be familiar with these rules.



Choosing an Installer


Choosing an InstallerLike choosing any business, one of the best ways to make your decision is by asking others who they recommend. You can also view online referrals and rankings on various sites. Once you’ve identified some credible options, ask the installer how long he or she has been in business at their current location. The longer the better as longevity is a sign that they offer good quality and service at fair prices. You’ll also want to see samples of their work. This article has detailed illustrations that show you what to look for.



Don’t DIY


Don’t DIYYou may be tempted to save some money and try a do-it-yourself kit, but there are several reasons why it’s smart to go with a professional window tinting company. Check out this article on Angie’s List that explains why.



To find a Madico Window Films dealer in your area, call 888-887-2022 or email


Window Film for Your Vehicle (Infographic)

Madico Adds New Infographic


As seen in the “Window Film in Your Community” animated video and infographic, there are multiple uses for window film.


Tinting your vehicle’s windows can block up to 99% of the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays and reject up to 92% of the solar heat that builds up in your car. It also adds an extra level of protection in case of an accident, holding shattered glass together.


Whether you’re considering window film for safety, heat reduction, or aesthetic purposes, this new “Window Film for Your Vehicle” infographic explains how window film can benefit your vehicle.




Window film is an unsung protector of your car, and while it might not always be noticeable, know that it is working. Staying cool, protecting yourself and the passengers in your car, as well as giving your vehicle a unique customized style are just some of the many benefits associated with window film for your vehicle.


Download the “Window Film for Your Vehicle” infographic PDF here.


Exploring the Car Tinting Process

How It All Happens


You did your research and made an appointment to have your car tinted by a reputable installer. Now you may be wondering, “What exactly is going to be happening to my vehicle while I sit in the tint shop’s waiting room?”



Tinting Environment


Your car will be taken to a dust and wind free space, usually a large interior bay of the building.



Prepping the Windows


The windows of your car will be cleaned using a soap and water solution, sponge and squeegee to remove all dirt and debris.



Measuring & Cutting


The installer will measure your car’s windows and cut pieces of film from a master roll to fit those measurements. The film is then laid out on the exterior surface of the car window where it is cut down more precisely.  At this time, installers will also heat shrink the film using a heat gun, this is to contour the film so that it curves to the glass. Note: The heat guns used emit a low heat that is not harmful to the vehicle.



Peel Board


After the film is cut down to match the pattern of the window, installers will remove the film and place it on their own glass “peel board” to cut the finer details of the window’s shape. This is also where the release liner is often removed.





Once the film has been cut down to the correct size and shape, it is time to install the film onto the interior surface of the window. First, a soap and water solution is sprayed onto the window as well as the film itself. Then the installer removes the film’s release liner and applies it to the window. A squeegee is used to remove any excess solution that may be under the film and to activate the adhesive that secures the film to the window.



Final Inspection


The installer will take a final look at his work, examining the window from both the inside and the outside to spot any imperfections that need to be fixed.



Dry Time


Once the tint job is complete, the installer will return your car and remind you to not roll down your vehicle’s windows for 3 days. Depending on weather conditions and the film type, it can take up to 3 weeks for the film to fully dry and cure. During this time, you may notice small water bubbles and/or a hazy appearance. This is normal and will disappear as the film dries.


You will begin to experience the benefits of your car’s newly tinted windows right away. Enjoy your drive home free from harmful UV rays, annoying glare, and uncomfortable heat!


Please note that individual installers often have their own unique methods of installing automotive tint, the above mentioned installation technique is only one example.


Car Window Tinting Laws: What You Need to Know

Car window tinting laws were passed with safety in mind, whether ensuring visibility for drivers on the road or police officers approaching pulled over vehicles. But each state’s law varies and this causes confusion on what is actually illegal. Moreover, the language in these laws can be quite technical. So to enjoy all of the benefits of car window film, you’ll first want to make sure you understand and follow the law in your state.



Don’t Be Left in the Dark


Don’t Be Left in the DarkFirst you’ll need to familiarize yourself with the terminology used. In a nutshell, each law basically sets requirements for how much light can be transmitted through the window (“light transmittance”) and for how much visibility the glass allows (“luminous reflectance”). The requirements are usually higher for the front windshield than the side and back windows. The International Window Film Association has put together this chart that outlines the details of the law for each state. However, you’ll also need this Explanation of the State Law Summary Chart that includes the definitions of the different terms used.



Seeing Is Believing


Seeing Is BelievingWith today’s technology, it’s easy to find a car window film that rejects heat without hindering visibility, and thereby meets legal requirements. The Wincos film line is one option that uses the latest scientific research and technology to maximize performance. It boasts the highest infrared rejection in the industry – up to 92 percent – while keeping the highest possible visible light.


Understanding Your State’s Automotive Tint Laws

Many drivers today recognize the increased comfort and protection that automotive window tint provides. But understanding your state’s own unique tint laws can prove to be a bit more complicated. Since there is no federal standard for window tint, each state has its own set of regulations.


While state laws do vary, there are some general guidelines that you as a consumer can familiarize yourself with to better understand these regulations. Understanding these guidelines will help to ensure that your vehicle’s tint is compliant with the laws in your particular state.


  1. Visible Light Transmission (VLT) – States measure the legal amount of tint on a car window by its visible light transmittance (VLT) — the amount of light that can pass through the window. The lower the number, the darker the film.
  2. NET VLT – The majority of states measure the VLT in terms of the combined light transmittance of both the film and the glass itself. This is important to note since auto manufacturers do often factory tint the glass of many of their vehicles.
  3. Front Side Windows – Generally must be lighter than the rear windows and no darker than 20% VLT, with most states requiring at least a 35% VLT. A high VLT is necessary for the driver to be able to properly see the road as well as his or her side mirrors.
  4. Back and Rear Windows – The VLT permitted is often different for sedans then it is for SUVs and vans (MPVs). In many states, there are actually no VLT restrictions on SUVs and vans back and rear windows.
  5. Windshield – Many states allow a non-reflective tint, but usually only to a specific point on the windshield such as the A1 line.
  6. Reflectance – Some tints contains metallic elements that help in reflecting incoming light and reducing the glare and heat generated by visible light. The laws surrounding reflectance vary greatly, with some states allowing only a certain percentage of reflectivity and others simply not allowing a mirrored appearance or any film that increases reflectivity.
  7. Tint Colors – The laws surrounding tint colors such as red, amber, yellow, and blue vary greatly from state to state.  Some do not specify any color restrictions while others limit it only to colors such as red and amber.
  8. Medical Exemptions – Most states do allow for medical exemptions when it comes to window tint.

Professional window film dealers are aware of the tint laws in their state of business and can advise you on the tint product that will best meet your needs while still adhering to state laws. It is illegal for dealers to sell and install tint that does not comply with state laws. However, it is ultimately up to the consumer to ensure that their tint is legal. The International Window Film Association has put together a comprehensive State Window Tinting Rules & Laws chart that can be downloaded on its website.