If you are looking to installing the darkest legal tint on your car, there are a number of technical considerations you need to understand, or you may end up inadvertently breaking the law, and expose yourself to financial risks and even the risk of criminal charges. Lets examine how this could happen.
In all States and Territories there is a legal ‘darkest’ tint specification. In Australia, the darkest legal tint legally allowed on a vehicle is a VLT (visible light transmission) level of 35%, on all vehicle windows (excluding the front windscreen, which cannot have any window film with the exception of the visor strip across the top). The only exception to this is in the NT and WA. In the NT you are permitted a minimum VLT of 15% for windows behind the driver; and in WA you are allowed 20% VLT on windows behind the driver.
So here’s the critical point. Most vehicles already have a slight tint in the glass in the front windows, and some have tint in all windows, this varies from model to model, and it needs to be taken into consideration when adding window tint later, otherwise the tint can end up darker than expected. Here’s how this can happen.
Imagine the factory windows on your car already block 30% of light. When a film with the “darkest legal tint” of 35% is added to this window, it will emit only 35% of light into a window that is already only emitting 70% of light. That means the final VLT will be the sum of both VLT ratings, i.e. significantly darker than the film rating that you install.
This is critical to take into account because if as a driver you accidently fail to comply with tinting laws, getting a fine is the least of your problems. Even worse is being involved in an accident and having your dark windows considered by the court as a contributing factor to the accident. If this happens you could find your insurance policy becomes null, leaving you exposed to the full financial implications of the accident. And to rub salt into the wound, a criminal charge could even apply if property is damaged or people are hurt.
Then there’s the inconvenience of having your car declared un-roadworthy. If this happens the car can’t be driven again until it has been put through roadworthy testing, in which case the illegal tint will have to be stripped off the windows. What a waste of time and money!
So what do I really want you to get from this article? When it comes to window tinting, make sure you use a quality product and that your installer has the expertise to be able to offer you the best solution for your circumstances, which includes a legal VLT rating.