In trying to keep prying eyes at bay, we often forget to think about the effect a tinted window will have on our own ability to see outside our vehicles from within.
All tint percentages offer decent transparency during the daytime, but when the sun goes down and all we have are street lamps and establishment lighting, it’s a different story.
Fifty Percent Tint (50%)
50% tints are the mildest option available. Blocking half the light from entering your vehicle, they can help to keep temperatures at a reasonable level, preventing your car from turning into an oven on a scorcher. They can also help to reduce exposure to UV, which is another huge benefit.
As it’s only a very subtle tint, you should have absolutely no problem seeing out of your 50% windows in the evening.
The only issue with a 50% tint is that it doesn’t really prevent people from seeing inside your vehicle. They tend to be employed for the more practical applications I mentioned earlier.
Thirty-Five Percent Tint (35%)
35% tints are a little darker, but they still don’t completely prevent people from being able to see inside your vehicle, yet many people prefer this percentage for aesthetic purposes, the darker hue providing a very sleek look.
With this percentage tint, you shouldn’t have any problems seeing through your windows at night, but it depends on your overall setup. For example, if you’ve got 35% tints up front but a full limo (5%) rear, your interior will be much darker than if you have 35% all around, meaning you may have to crack a window for clear visuals at night.
If you’re using 35% tints exclusively, however, you shouldn’t have much problem seeing through your windows when darkness falls.
Twenty Percent Tint (20%)
While 20% tints are the minimum shade if you really want to improve the privacy of your vehicle. People will still be able to peep your interior from very close up, but from beyond three or four meters away, all they’ll see is their own dastardly reflections — take that, snoopers!
The only problem is that it’s at roughly 20% tint that seeing out of your windows at night becomes incredibly difficult, especially when paired with a darker tint around the back.
It’s not that you’ll be completely blind, but for safety, you should definitely wind down your side windows after dark. It’s going to get a little breezy in there and chilly in the winter, but as long as you throw on an extra layer or two, you’ll get by just fine.
Of course, having to open your windows when driving at night can be a problem if the forecast is showing rain, so perhaps a 20% tint is best for those who own at least two cars, so there’s always an alternative for nighttime driving in bad weather.
Side-Note – Did you know that most of the vehicles that come with tinted windows straight from the factory will have a 15-20% tint?
Fifteen Percent (15%)
While a 15% tint isn’t technically completely black, it certainly looks like it from upward of a meter away, but, as I’m sure you’ve surmised, they’re even harder to see through than 20% tints, so opening your windows at night for maneuvers is essential.
Five Percent Tint (5%)
Also known as limo tint due to its use on the rear window of limos to separate passengers from gawking passersby, 5% tint is the darkest option available and cuts out the majority of light in the daytime.
This degree of tint prevents onlookers from seeing into your vehicle from pretty much any distance — nice! The issue is that it’s pretty much impossible to see through at night, which means that you’ll definitely have to crack those windows if you fancy going for a night drive. It’s not an elegant solution, but it’s the price you pay for supreme privacy.
Just remember that 5% tints are illegal in many states, so always check up on the local laws and restrictions before tinting your windows.
There you have it, folks. This is how various tints will affect your visuals when the sun goes down, but do bear in mind that these are generalizations. Everybody’s eyes are different. I myself have terrible night vision, so 50% is probably my limit for safe driving with the windows up at night.
If you’re unsure about how a tint will affect your vision, my advice to you is to try out some non-permanent alternatives such as static cling tint before booking anything in with your local custom shop.
You can use this removable film to experiment with different levels of tint. Once you’ve found the one you can see out of comfortably at night, you can book your car in for a permanent tint with confidence.