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Automotive window tints were recently the source of much debate in Malaysia, amidst the so-called Ops Cermin Gelap, the proposed revision of acceptable Visible Light Transmission (VLT) levels and the ensuing reactions of both the public and select parties. Be that as it may, omnipresent issues surrounding security and protection from the unforgiving heat (which seems to get even more unforgiving by the day) make the adoption of window films an attractive proposition to many.

And the choices on offer to the Malaysian motorist who wants to take the plunge are not only many, but easily sought, and practically anywhere. With a dizzying array of brands and products available, the sales of which have yet to be officially regulated, how is one assured of the quality, durability and legality of their chosen product?

Well, the brand’s background is a good starting point. Take Llumar for instance. Born in the US in 1977, the brand’s window film is manufactured by Eastman Chemical Company, a 94-year old Fortune 500 specialty chemicals company founded by George Eastman (of Eastman Kodak fame), after it bought Llumar’s parent company Solutia Inc in 2012.

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Today, Llumar serves nearly 100 countries around the world, with its range of films having quickly developed a reputation for safety and security. The films hold the glass intact, keeping the shards in one piece. This serves to delay and deter break-in attempts, as well as reducing the likelihood of injury to vehicle occupants caused by shattering glass.

Additionally, Llumar films are claimed to block out up to 99% of harmful ultraviolet rays, thereby protecting passengers from skin damage, guarding against deterioration of the vehicle’s interior and reducing blinding glare. Of course, this also helps to keep interior temperatures in check, allowing the cabin to cool faster and resulting in less load on the air-conditioning system.

In the case of the Diamond 6 package, the films swap out metal for high-performance chemicals that disperse rather than reject heat; similar in principle to a wet towel. Heat enters and escapes the vehicle, preventing a build-up. Because no metal is present in the film, there is no expectation of corrosion nor rust, and they’re scratch resistant, too.

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Green in hue, the six-mil (150 micron) thick films have a VLT of 63% and a TSER (Total Solar Energy Rejection) of 59%. Out of Llumar Malaysia’s JPJ-compliant tint packages, only the premium Palladium 9 betters these figures, with super-strong nine-mil (225 micron) thick films of 75% VLT and 63% TSER.

We had the opportunity recently to try the Diamond 6 package out. The installers carefully removed the Santa Fe’s previous tint, ensuring the windows weren’t scratched in the process, and applied cleaning agents to expel any left-over adhesive. After making sure all the windows were dirt- and dust-free, the films were cut to size and carefully applied to the glass.

This took a lot of skill, patience and dedication – more so with the curved windscreen and rear window, which necessitated the use of a device not unlike a hair dryer to shrink-wrap the film into shape first. Meticulous care was taken throughout to ensure no pockets of air were trapped under the films.

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The finished product has served the Santa Fe well for four months now, and I am happy to report that it does a good job of keeping the heat at bay – the cabin cools faster, even after the vehicle is parked under the sun for some time. The reduced day or night glare is definitely appreciated by driver and passengers alike, and SmartTAGs, gate remotes and access cards work with no problem at all.

The Diamond 6 package cost RM3,900 for the Santa Fe; for smaller passenger cars, you’re looking at the low- to mid-three thousands. Included is an impressive 10-year warranty, which covers any discolouration, peeling or bubbling. The warranty is also one-time transferable to the next owner, and should JPJ-compliant tints be removed by the authorities for whatever reason, they will be replaced for free.

Llumar products have been exclusively distributed in Malaysia by Tint Auto Sdn Bhd for the past eight years. Today, the company has 27 branches nationwide, including the country’s first 3S tint centre, which opened on Jalan Chan Sow Lin in 2010.

This is an advertorial sponsored by Llumar.