Why darkened rear windows on minivans?

Why are the rear windows on minivans/SUVs tinted so dark that you cannot see into them? Anytime I’m parked next to one, I have to hope that there are no oncoming cars when I back up, because my view is totally blocked.

Is it that people don’t want anyone looking at their children in the back seat, or what?

People like tinted windows. It cuts the glare, and makes it easier on the eyes. However, in most jurisdictions, it is illegal to apply tinting to the windshield or forward windows that would prevent other drivers from seeing you (the driver)or that would obstruct your visibility. So, only the rear windows get tinted.

My minivan has tinting only on the passenger and read glass panels. The front seats ( and of course windshield ) are 100% transmission. The tinting’s not too dark, but it helps a bit. I’d think that transmission rates and the laws that govern them are varied from state to state. Tried to find a link for the laws governing that, and I’m coming up dry :frowning:


I think it’s primarily because there’s no trunk. The windows are tinted so passers-by can’t see what they have stored in the back of the minivan. Cars don’t have to worry about this because they can put their new $600 DVD changer in the trunk, and no one can see it. However, some would be robber walks by the minivan and can plainly see it sitting in there, he might be more likely to break into that van than if he couldn’t see into it. He knows there’s a big payoff.


As a SWAG, apart from the aesthetic and other concerns mentioned above, tinting the windows will help reduce the solar heat gain into the van. Vans have tons of window area, so adding tinting will reduce the amount of solar energy transmitted through the windows into the van, and thus lessen the burden on the van’s air conditioning system.

But I have no idea whether this is actually their motivation for doing that…

The person sitting by the window all the time won’t get a sunburn while going for a ride in the van, compared to a window that’s full view. (Usually, these people are children of paranoid parents that are worried that their kids will get skin cancer from all the exposure to the sun just by sitting by the window seat in the sun in a long ride.)

I remember the old van we used to have. The van had all full-view windows; no tints. I always got the middle seat in the back, while my brother got the window seat. On the end of long trips, I would walk out of the van unharmed :cool:, while my unlucky brother would end up red from the sun on his arm and his face :mad:.

I used to own a 1995 Suburban with tinted windows.

There are several reasons why the tinted windows, mainly to keep the car cooler in the summer. However with that said, in Colorado it is illegal to have the front passenger and driver side windows tinted. My understanding is so a cop can see the driver. Also, in certain cities you can only have a certain percentage of tint on your windows, they have some rules here on that.

I may be off base but that is my understanding in my part of the world.

Oh and I wish I had tinted windows in my current car, it really makes a difference in the summertime. I don’t trust after market tints as a lot of the time you see them bubble up and it looks like crap so I will wait till I get a new car.

Most cars these days have green-tinted glass all round, but not very heavy.

In Florida, you can tint all your windows so long as they allow at least 20% transmission, and your front windshield down the the AS1 line (look for it… it’s on every windshield).

Should you choose to leave the front two windows untouched, you can tint the rest darker.

Of course, there’s no equipment to test the tint, and no enforcement, cuz nobody gives a damn, so lots of folks my age (college) have 6% tint and nobody says a word about it.

I personally have 22% all the way around, cept the windshield. It cut down ont he heat down here in 90-100-higher degree summer weather, especially when the car is parked. Also, it makes the headlights from cars behind me much less a nuisaince (sp?), and besides that, it looks pretty cool (my car is teal colored, and teal and black go together well)

I imagine the hot weather here is the main reason for the lax laws. As I understand it, tint is illegal all together in New York

I have aftermarket tinting on my car. While cheap tint from walmart will start to look really nasty fairly quickly, tinting from a professional shop can/should last for years before needing replacement. Additionally, a good shop will offer a lifetime garantee… if my tint starts to bubble or get ripples, I take the car in, and they peel it off and apply new tint for free.

To reduce glare. Glare sucks. More privacy is nice too.

In addition to the reasons stated, I’d like to emphasize that keeping the sun out of a baby or toddler’s eyes in the car is a real pain in the butt. We want to get our rear windows tinted (not a minivan) because of this. Wee ones don’t wear sunglasses and when they’re tiny, they can’t put their arms up to shield their faces. They just squint and cry. We have spent a lot of time jerry-rigging blankets, etc for shade. We have the window shades made for parents, but they don’t cover everything.

As a parent, this would be a minivan option I’d love.

No, but I wish it was. :mad: I can’t believe no one else has mentioned what a nuisance it is to back out of a parking space when there is a tinted-windowed minivan parked next to you, or even worse, one on each side. I would imagine this would be a nuisance even for other minivan drivers. ::sigh::

Maybe something like this would help.

This would help even more. Cheaper too.

Clearly, this belongs in GD.

I don’t get why it would matter. :confused:

Do you look thru their windows to maneuver? Do you roar out of the parking space with disregard to all other vehicles? What, exactly, is the problem?

If the car next to you is your regular sedan with clear windows, you can spot approaching traffic and hit the brakes before you’re blocking their path. With a van or a vehicle with tinted windows, you have to back out further in order to see what’s coming, possibly obstructing someone who has the right of way, or even causing an accident.

Nobody’s mentioned this fact…that most tinting material is designed to be sort of “one way.” People can’t see in as easily as the driver can see out. I have a topper on my work truck with tinted windows along the side. I can see out quite easily (like wearing sunglasses), but it’s difficult to see in.

It just occured to me, perhaps it’s the same technology as sunglasses, which can look opaque from one side, but the wearer sees easily?

BTW, I’m also in Colorado. A friend of mine moved here three years ago from Phoenix. Her car has tinted windows all around, as dark as is legal in Arizona. She’s never been stopped for this here, and having driven her car I can say I don’t feel like my sight is obstructed.

There could of course be differences between factory-tinting, and various methods of tinting.