The pros and cons of tinting your windows
Posted Thursday, October 10 2013 at 01:00
Has a car passed by you and you wondered what was inside? For the inside of the car is pretty dark and not even your curious eye can penetrate the windscreens to catch a glimpse. Yet as you stand in wonder, the people inside the vehicle see you and the objects around you in colour blue! Well, that car is tinted, and there are many such cars today.
The reasons for tinting cars are varied. “I just wanted that classy appearance on my car,” says Juma Kavuma. “It was an extra modification I put on my car so it would look nicer,” he says. The black tint on the windscreens of Kavuma’s Toyota Range Rover perfectly matches the rest of the car body colour. Kavuma explains that tinting his car has provided him with the privacy he needed.
“People will want to know who is inside and what you are carrying therein but tinting my car wades off the curious eye of the public,” he says. Others like Sara Mbabazi, tint their cars for security reasons.
“You know in Kampala, some people on the lookout for what their eyes can land on and snatch it away,” she says. “I may want to drop in at Nandos for five minutes and pick a snack. I don’t need to carry my laptop for such a small period of time yet if I left it in a car that is not tinted, it may easily attract a by-passer who may break in.”
Mbabazi, who works with one of the NGOs in Kampala explains why her Toyota Noah X is tinted; “Security experts dissuade us from leaving valuable items in cars but look, I don’t have to carry all the women stuff into the conference room, so I leave them in my car in the hotel parking yard. I know any car can be broken into but tinting provides some additional safety.”
George Amasha, the proprietor of Glory General Engineering Ltd and a mechanic notes that tinting vehicles is associated with security and intelligence agencies who want to keep the public away from their business. “Some of their activities are clandestine. They are always cautious that the public doesn’t necessarily know who and what they carry inside. So they tint their vehicles,” he says.
Amasha adds that some people tint their cars simply to prevent sun rays from directly heating the car occupants. The tint, he says, reduces the amount of heat that penetrates through the vehicle windscreens.
How it is done
Amasha explains that car tinting is laying a thin coloured sticker on the car windscreens. Apparently, not every part of the car can be tinted. The front windscreen for example can’t be tinted for the obvious reasons of the driver being able to see in front.
And because some tints reduce the clarity at which images outside are seen, when tinting, some space on glasses near the side mirrors on either side of the vehicle is not tinted to allow the driver clear visibility of the sides and behind the car. The water glass (emergency screen at the back of the car) is not tinted for the same reason.
Amasha says that car tint stickers are made in various colours. The common colours he says are black and light black, blue and light blue, and silver. He explains that people usually prefer to match the colour of their cars to the tint colour they apply where, for instance, a car in colour black will be matched with light black tint.
Others will even go for dark black depending on the reasons for tinting. “People who tint their cars for privacy and security reasons often apply dark colours so that no one outside can know what is inside,” he says.
On the other hand, those who tint for design and decoration purposes, often use lighter colours. For instance Amasha says one may blend a car in colour white with light blue tint. Colours like green and red are rarely used if at all.
Amasha explains that tint stickers can last for as longer as they are not damaged. The damage may be as a result of scratching, say by children or when the car is involved in accident. However, like any other sticker and depending on the quality of the material used, they can gradually fade with the exposure of the heat from the sun.
No particular tint stickers are made for a particular type or brand of vehicles. However, it appears tinting is associated with relatively expensive vehicles. Few people , if any, will tint their low cost cars. Amasha says this has to do with people’s luxurious lifestyle.
“Tinting is not a necessity but extra modification on the vehicle, and it’s often the people who are above the level of self-actualisation – the rich people who want to do that,” he says.
The charges for a tint job
According to Ssalongo Umar Kabenge, a mechanic with Kanyike Garage in Nansana says the cost for tinting vehicles varies with the design and colour being applied. “Colourless tint stickers are more expensive compared to those in colour,” he says. Kabenge adds that the cost for tints with particular designs and those that are plain is different with the former being more expensive. “We can charge Shs80,000 to tint a Toyota Noah (plain) and Shs120,000 with special designs as the customer wants them,” he says. The cost of tinting varies from where it is done. At Nissan Auto Garage for example tinting a Toyota Noah ranges between Shs50,000 to Shs70,000 depending on the material of the tint used. The designs applied in tints include company or individual names or graphics like flowers. It is the extra works on the designs that are made separately from the tint sticker that make this option slightly more expensive. Daniel Mbwike of Nissan Auto Garage Kampala says that the size of the vehicle or area to be tinted determines the cost of tinting. “With small cars, you apply few rolls of tint stickers as compared to big cars,” he says. Mbwike explains that to tint a Toyota Noah or Prado for example, three rolls of stickers are required and each roll costs about Shs10,000. He however notes that the cost varies with where one buys the tint sticker and the garage they choose to use. One has the option of buying their own stickers and source labour elsewhere or let a mechanic charge them a package for the stickers and labour. If they need to apply some designs which require additional modification on the windscreens, a packaged service might be better. Mbwike says that the cost for plain or coloured tints doesn’t vary much
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