I’ve driven many cars in my life, and my personal vehicles always had some form of “solar film”, which includes the basement bargain window tints, which do nothing to stop the heat from coming into the car.
When I got my Getz, it was a constant battle with heat especially when my previous job required me to drive around a lot under Singapore’s unforgiving sun. Adding on magnetic sunshades helped in reducing some of the heat and glare, but they are pretty unwieldy and can be a pain when you need to operate a parking gantry.
Boiling Down Choices
Being disappointed with five different local brands of window films, I set out to find the last film I will install. It has to have proper certification and from a manufacturer which is part of the International Window Film Manufacturers (IWFA).
Only LLumar, Avery Dennison, Zonling, 3M and Solar Gard have a Singapore presence, and only a handful offer an automotive solution. Then, it boils down to price. The Solar Gard Quantum LX Package went for $599.00, compared to 3M Crystalline at $850.
The Quantum LX package differs from the 3M package by using different products from Solar Gard range. The windshield is applied with Ultra Performance Plus 80, front windows were LX70 films while the rear half of the car received HP Quantum 28. The Total Solar Energy Rejected (TSER) rating for the three different films are: 43% (Ultra Performance Plus 80), 55% (LX70) and 50% (HP Quantum 28).
After hours of carefully removing the old tint and thoroughly cleaning the 10 year old glass, the new tints were installed almost trouble free, with only small barely noticeable bubbles. It was a hot day when I drove out of the air conditioned installation area and the difference was immediately noticeable. The dashboard area which receives most of the sun’s heat never felt uncomfortably warm even after 2 hours of afternoon driving.
After 5 months of baking in, most of the small bubbles had disappeared, although there was a bubble cluster issue with the front LX70 film which was replaced under Solar Gard’s 10-year warranty. It is still guaranteed against fading or colour change.
One Year Later, An Issue
The tints still work a treat, I can drive without the sunshades and not have a burning sensation on my arms. Still, I have one big beef about the Quantum LX package. Combining three different products gave the Getz a very odd appearance, with the front nano-ceramic based film looking bluish, the multi-stacked film for the front side windows looking purplish, while the sputter-metallized rear films had a greyish appearance. See above picture.
Still, the film has withstood non-car-appreciating passengers who excitedly point at objects outside the car with their fingernails touching the film. I am still taking extra care when loading the car with objects with sharp edges, like bicycles. Remember, it costs $599.