Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Dyed, Metalized, Hybrid and Ceramic Window Film. What's Best?

Each of the four types of film is named because of the primary component used to protect you and your car.  With so many options, which do you choose?

There are a lot of benefits to using window tinting; glare reduction, heat protection, fade protection, U.V. protection, safety, aesthetics, privacy.  You will have to decide, what you are wanting your window tint to do.  Window tinting is simply adding a layer of UV treated optical grade polyester film.  That film can be manufactured in several ways, not just in the components mentioned in this article, but more specifically how it is made.

Dyed Film
This type of window tinting relies on the absorbing properties of the dye to keep your car cool.  Because it does not contain any metal it gives your automobile the blackest look and does not have any "sheen" to it.  This film rejects the least amount of heat and is mainly used for its appearance.  It does reduce glare, and reduces fading to interior upholstery.

Metalized Film
This film is a good product for customers that desire crisp appearance, heat reduction, glare reduction, fade protection, and UV protection.  Metalized window film are either all metal or have a single layer of ceramics.  Metalized window tinting is very good at reducing heat and reflecting UV rays.  However, they are very shiny and can cause interference with radio, GPS, TPMS (Tire Pressure Monitoring System) sensors, and cell phones.  Its shade and color are mainly determined by the type of metal used to make it.  Metalized window film's purpose is to reflect.  These are rarely used anymore after the introduction of the TPMS.

Hybrid Film
Hybrid films use a combination of a dyed layer as well as a metalized layer.  Using Hybrid window tint offers the best of both worlds. A metal layer is used for its reflective qualities and a dyed layer is used for its absorptive qualities.  Because not a lot of metal is used by some manufacturers, these are the best bang for the buck as they don't block any of the signals the 100% metalized films do.

Ceramic Film
The fourth and final type of window tinting is ceramic.  Absorbing twice as much heat as dyed or hybrid films, it is considered to be the most technologically advanced type of window tinting.  It is capable of high heat absorption at relatively light shades.  It is definitely the ultimate in heat reduction; however, the cost is almost twice that of Hybrid films.  This film is optimal for customers desiring a highly durable material, with excellent clarity, and providing superior heat reduction versus other film choices.

It's easy to think that all lifetime warranty films are alike.  Many get caught up in the trap of comparing pricing rather than the film quality.  Be careful.  Some companies may install the dyed film rather than the hybrid, selling it at a lower price but actually making a higher profit.  Also, note thicker film may take up to weeks longer to dry out than other film choices.  Ultimately, it comes down to the purpose for getting your windows tinted.

- Bryan Lin | CEO, The Motorsports Authority, Inc. | MSAStore.com

Monday, February 4, 2013

Your Car 101 (Series) - Checking Tire Pressure

A: Checking the tire pressure isn't a very difficult task.  However, It is important to check in on a regular basis.

Air is comprised of my particles.  Air expands and contracts with temperatures - expands with heat, condenses with cold.  So you will find many times that when fall/winter comes, your tire pressure decreases, and just as spring/summer hits, your tire pressure increases.

Accurate tire pressures can affect several things.  Improper maintenance of your tire pressure can decrease your tire's life.  Too little air pressure causes more tire to contact the pavement but also puts the tire in a pinch between the surface and the wheel.  This creates almost a rubbing effect where each bump pinches the tire and wears away at the inside surface.  Eventually...this could cause the tire to pop while driving.  However you look at it, if your tire's air pressure is low, you're decreasing the life of your tire.

Two, improper maintenance of tire pressure can affect the car's gas mileage.  Crazy, huh?  Well, think of it this way.  Too little air pressure creates excess rubber to contact the road, creating a larger area of friction or resistance.  The car has to work harder on each rotation to push/pull (depending on how you imagine it) the car.  Have you ever tried pushing a wheel barrel with a low tire?  Your car feels the same way.  According to FuelEconomy.Gov, "under inflated tires can lower gas mileage by 0.3 percent for every 1 psi drop in pressure of all four tires."  That's huge considering you could gain almost 4% better fuel economy by just maintaining your tire pressure.

If you're unsure where your tire pressure should be, don't fret.  Car manufacturer's tell you!  Open the driver's door and look at the door jam.  Somewhere close to the door latch on either the body of the car or the door, you will find a sticker with tire sizes and the recommended tire pressures.  Sometimes, they will also tell you recommended pressures during hot and cold weather seasons.  If it's not in your door jam, other locations include the glove box, trunk, center console, or the owner's manual (if you have one).

Don't know how to check it?  Well...there's no reason for me to reinvent the wheel.  The DMV offers a very good instructional page, including what I was going to recommend - do NOT buy the cheapo tire pressure gauges.  DMV Webpage.

Bryan Lin | CEO, The Motorsports Authority, Inc. | MSAStore.com