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Car Window Tint & Dash Cams

Can I install a dash cam even if my windows are tinted?

How we deal with window tint

One of the questions we get from our customers is “Can I install a dash cam even if my car windows are tinted?” Certainly, a dash cam can be mounted to tint. However, it’s important to be careful when removing the dash cam, and consider the effect tint will have on the footage.

In this article, we will review the effects of car window tints on dash cams, and tips to maximize your view.

How Car Window Tint Affects Dash Cam Footage

Having your car windows tinted is similar to wearing sunglasses. When the sun is up, the tint helps avoid too much exposure and reduces glare, without compromising the quality of your view, quite helpful with day-to-day driving.

However, the problem arises during night-time, or in lowlight areas. If the tinting is very dark or reflective, it could reduce the quality of the footage, making the dark spots darker. Car window tints tend to limit how much light gets through to the sensor, resulting in fewer details picked up by the dash camera. While the average-intensity car windshield tint should not have all that negative of an effect on dash cam footage, this darkening effect can be multiplied with other factors touched on below. Enabling night vision in your camera’s settings permanently can help offset this.

This darkening of the video can be further multiplied by using a CPL filter, as both the window tint and CPL filter fulfill similar roles in darkening the video. It is not recommended to use a CPL filter when you have tinted windows.

How Do You Mount a Dash Cam on Tinted Windows?

Whether your car windows are tinted or not, the way you mount your dash cam remains the same. There are two common ways to mount a dash cam: one through suction cups, and the other through adhesive mounts which we recommend for its discreteness and reliability. When mounting to Tinted Windows, it’s best to get the right spot the first time, so there is no need to adjust or re-angle the adhesive later, which must be done more carefully with the tint.

If the tint is after-market tint please wait a good few weeks after installing the tint for it to properly cure and fix to your windshield before installing a dash cam. Doing otherwise could potentially break the tint.

Need step-by-step help in mounting your dash cam? Check out our dash cam installation guide.

How Do You Safely Uninstall a Dash Cam from Tinted Windows?

Uninstalling a dash cam from a tinted window is a challenge, as it can chip off the tint if done incorrectly, depending on the quality of your tint. But don’t worry, as there are tools that can help you do this quickly. Our recommendation is to get tools like the BlackboxMyCar Vinyl Scraper or if not available, dental floss.

If you’re going to use a Vinyl Scraper, gently scrape the area of the attached dash cam until it gets removed. This scraper is designed for removing or mounting dash cams, so it’s less likely to damage your tint.

Alternatively, Dental floss or any other strong, thin wire can be placed between the windshield and adhesive, slowly sawing the tape off the windshield.

Using a heat gun can also prove beneficial here, used on the adhesive to loosen it before detaching it.

After that, you might notice some residue. Peel them off with your scraper and wipe it with a windshield glass cleaner. Some dash cams like Thinkware and VIOFO come with Heat Blocking Films and Static Stickers respectively, which you can mount on the windshield before attaching the dash cam. These add-ons should help move your dash cam from one car to another easily.

Does my Car Window Tint Also Impact my Dash Cam’s Sensors?

Window tint can have an effect on sensors, although this varies depending on the type of sensor. Infrared sensors will not be affected by window tints because tinted glass still enables infrared light to flow through. However, window tints have an effect on visible light sensors since it blocks some visible light from reaching the sensor. Getting a dash cam with high quality night-vision is best to balance out the effect of tinted windows.

Our Recommendations

As long as your tint is not the darkest (20% or lower), you should see no degradation in performance of your dash camera. The situation may also vary depending on your tint. While there are lots of tint options available in the market, aftermarket and cheaper ones are known to peel off easier, which is a concern when removing the camera at a later date. Choosing a standard, quality tint for your car ensures that you get better and much longer protection from the sun.

Moreover, when it comes to window tints, the only real concern is ensuring that the location of your dash camera is 100% accurate, since you don't want to peel the double-sided mounting glue on a tinted window, as you run the danger of damaging the window tint film.

Overall, it is also important to note that dash cams have wide-angle lenses and high-quality image sensors that can see through most types of window tint. If you want to have a better and more flexible view, get yourself a dash cam with superior night vision features, SONY STARVIS image sensors (which work best in all-lighting conditions), and multiple-channel configurations to make sure that you get to capture more details.