Maksim Odnorozhenko tints a rear windscreen at his workshop in Al Quoz, Dubai. He said tinting film comes in three varieties— metallic, ceramic and regular carbon nano fibre. Image Credit: Clint Egbert/Gulf News

Dubai: The revised federal traffic law allowing darker car window tints will help some motorists stay cooler this summer season.

With the mercury within automobiles climbing, darker window tinting will help beat the heat, said workshop managers and car owners.

Since the introduction of revised federal traffic law on July 1, 2017, car owners are allowed to tint all windows up to 50 per cent, except the front windscreen. Earlier, the maximum tinting allowed was only 30 per cent.

The new rule does not cover trucks and taxis.

tinting allowed on all windows except the windscreen

Fines for tinting beyond the stipulated 50 per cent begin at Dh1,000 and rates vary in different emirates but they definitely go up according to the extent of the excess percentage of the tint.

Car tinting these days is less of a job and more of an art.

The variety of tints, the pricing, the purpose of each and their comparative merits and demerits are an important consideration for any consumer.

minimum fine for tinting beyond stipulated limit

Poonam C., a Dubai resident who recently got a new ceramic tint on her SUV, told Gulf News that she was very happy that she went ahead with the decision.
“It cost me Dh380, but my car definitely feels cooler. I do not have to wear cooling mittens to hold the steering wheel when I return to a parked car in the afternoon. The air-conditioning also seems to be working more efficiently. However, I have to be extra vigilant at night when the darker tint reduces visibility a little. I take care to roll down the windows to get a better view when I am manoeuvring the car in a side parking or reversing during the night. But I would definitely recommend residents to go ahead and get the tinting done.”

What is tinting?

Anil  Chacko, Business Development manager for Fantastic Auto Workshop, Sharjah, explained: “Car tints are made of Polyethelene Terepthalate (PET), a thermoplastic polymer resin that absorbs heat, provides thermal insulation, and filters out harmful ultraviolet rays. In this region where summer temperatures go close to 50 degree Celsius, it is important to tint your cars. Tinting not only provides privacy but can help prevent skin cancers and excessive sun and heat exposure that can cause skin cancers and tanning, among other things.”

He added that as the mercury spikes, he is getting an average of three tinting orders per day.

 Tinting not only provides privacy but can help prevent skin cancers and excessive sun and heat exposure that can cause skin cancers and tanning.”

 - Anil Chacko | Business development manager at Fantastic Auto Workshop, Sharjah 

How to make sure you have the right tint?

A poor quality film cannot not only blurs the vision, it can also damage the window glass when removed, said Maksim Odnorozhenko, managing director at Tint n Sun, Dubai and a veteran at car tinting, who insists it’s important to choose the right quality of tinting material.

“Poor tinting material can interfere with the automobile’s navigation, defrost and irrigation system and can also interfere with radio signals, creating disturbance in your phone conversations in your car. Besides, the cheaper material tends to bubble in a matter of a few months or changes colour, reducing visibility and leaves the glass surface damaged.”

Odnorozhenko added: “A good professional tint can cost anywhere between Dh300 and Dh1,200 depending on the size of your car, and the average life is up to five years. The best qualities come with a lifetime guarantee.”

He cautioned against sham workshops that charge Dh3,000 to Dh4,000 for tinting an SUV.

Listing the categories of tinting films available, Odnorozhenko said the three main types are metallic, ceramic and regular carbon nano fibre varieties. Ceramic tints which are the top-end option are the best ones available. They are made of ceramic nano fibres and allow for better UV absorption and cooling.

“The main work of a high-quality film is to block 99 per cent of the ultraviolet rays, and help in considerable heat and glare reduction and it must not fade, whichever type you decide to use. Anything lesser than that must be rejected outright. It is not about using a famous brand of tinting material. One can use an affordable quality but make sure the material used is professional grade and the individual doing the tinting knows his job.” explained Odnorozhenko.

How is tinting done?

1. Once the film is selected, the sheet is cut and heat-shrunk to fit into the contours of the window.

2. The tinting mechanic cleans the car’s glass surface to make sure no dirt is trapped between the film and the glass surface as that can affect visibility.

3. Masking tape is applied to the edges of the glass to seal the windows.

4. The pre-cut, heat-shrunk film is placed on the windows from the inside.

5. The professional mechanics use baby shampoo and water on the glass surface to dampen it. Any other chemical such as detergent or harsher shampoo can trap hazardous chemicals.

6. The adhesive coating of the film is placed on this damp surface and pressure is applied. The process is repeated until the entire surface is covered.

Normally, on an average sunny day, a car is ready to be driven after tinting within two hours. On damper or colder days, it takes anything between one to three days for the film to get completely dry.

How to manage the heat build-up in your car

When parking your car, roll your windows down an inch to allow for free air circulation

Use a front windscreen thermal insulation cover to reflect the sunlight

When getting back into the car, roll down the windows completely, start the engine, but do not start the air-conditioning. This is important as the heat inside reacts with the chemical coatings on certain things on the dashboard, so it is essential the breeze blows away any fumes that might have been built up

Once the car is running for a few minutes with open windows, switch on the AC

Use good quality window tinting to keep car interiors cooler and also to protect you from ultraviolet rays