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Measuring window tint with a visible light transmission (VLT) meter.

The Globe and Mail

Several years ago, when the province of Ontario changed its passenger and light duty safety inspection guidelines, all licensed inspection facilities had to purchase a visible light transmission (VLT) meter to be able to check the window tint. A VLT meter is a two-piece tool where one piece is placed on the inside of the glass. The operator then activates the unit, which beams a laser through the glass to an adjacent receiver on the outside, which measures light transmission loss.

While speaking with another shop owner about this subject recently, he noted that he had seen a rise in vehicles failing provincial safety inspections, due to the window tint being too dark. However, I’m not necessarily convinced that there has been a rise in vehicles with illegal tint.

The Ontario government introduced clearer guidelines on the matter that took effect in 2017. This would naturally lead to a stricter enforcement of window tint standards. Though it has been a few years since the regulations changed, I’m confident that some shops are still performing safety inspections the old way, which is with one eye closed.

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But that’s a subject for another day. Given that, I started looking at tint regulations across Canada. The Yukon territory doesn’t seem to have clearly laid out regulations, so I have left them out. Here is a quick summary for the rest of Canada. A VLT reading of 70 per cent means that 70 per cent of the visible light will be allowed to pass through. Therefore, the lower the number, the less visible light.

  • Rear glass: Most of Canada allows an any-tint rating, except for Manitoba which states a minimum VLT rating of 30 per cent.
  • Rear, side glass: Once again Manitoba has the toughest regulations with a 35-per-cent rating, while the rest of Canada allows any tint.
  • Front, side windows: Here’s where things get a little trickier. In Ontario, for vehicles manufactured on or after January 1, 2017, a light transmission of less than 70 per cent on any window directly to the left or right of the driver is not allowed. Older vehicles simply “may not have normal vision restricted or limited,” which is really quite ambiguous. New Brunswick and Quebec are 70 per cent, Manitoba is 50 per cent and the rest of Canada is does not allow any tint.
  • Windshield: British Columbia allows a 7.5 cm top band to be tinted. Manitoba allows 12.7 cm band to be tinted with no less than 25 per cent. Quebec allows a 15 cm top band. In Ontario, vehicles manufactured after January 1, 2017, are not allowed any aftermarket tint. For vehicles older than that, light transmission of less than 70 per cent or a tint that extends beyond 75 mm from the top of the windshield is not allowed. The rest of the country is a no go for any windshield tint.

A couple more points: most provinces do not allow any reflective tint and require both side mirrors to be present if the rear window is tinted. Also, many vehicles already have a factory-installed tint. When adding an aftermarket tint to vehicles which are already tinted, the total VLT rating must be considered, which is the sum of the factory and aftermarket tint.


Your automotive questions, answered

Hello Lou, I have some questions comparing the lower trim levels of a given model with the higher-end trims of the same model. The higher-end trims have more gadgets and convenience features, e.g. moon roof, power tailgate, power seats. These add complexity and weight to the base model. What is the extra weight of a moon roof with its frame, glass and motor? Is the extra weight of a high-end trim over the base trim significant enough to adversely affect acceleration and fuel economy? Secondly, does the increased complexity result in reduced reliability and increased repair costs?

Regards, Neil

To quote Colin Chapman of Lotus Cars, “Simplify, then add lightness.” To that end, the serious racer will shed every expendable gram of weight, components are trimmed of mass until the very brink of failure. Weight reduction is just as important, if not more, as adding horsepower. Therefore, the reverse is also true: adding weight does hinder acceleration and fuel economy. The question is, how much?

In the mundane day-to-day life of the commuter, the results are measurable, but barely. I know that some reader who scrutinizes their fuel economy to the third decimal point will disagree with me. But most fuel rating organizations don’t differentiate between trim levels unless there is an engine or transmission difference. To your second question: Yes, more electronics and accessory components leads to the potential of elevated repair costs.


Hello, I recently bought a new Jeep Wrangler 2019. It had only 14 km. I drove it till 4,000 km and something bad started happening.

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On Sept. 30, my car wouldn’t start. An antitheft code screen appeared. I turned off the car and used my fob key to press the start button and it started working. After a few hours, got in the car to drive and antitheft code appeared, not letting the car start. I spent one hour trying to turn on the car. Finally, it suddenly started to work

On Aug. 31, I used my spare key and got into my Jeep. It worked fine the whole day. After I finished work, I got into the Jeep and an antitheft code appeared AGAIN. This time, I had the code my dealer gave me. I punched it in and it was invalid. After 10 minutes, the Jeep worked and I drove to gas station to get gas. I got gas and went in to get a car wash code for the touchless car wash

I went back into my Jeep to get it washed, BUT THE ANTILOCK KICKED IN. Then my fob key was not recognized. I called the roadside assistance after 30 minutes of being stuck at the pump. I couldn’t even get my car washed because it didn’t start, so I left the wash code on the dashboard, as it expires in November (I was going to wash it right after I got my car fixed). The tow truck came and tried to jump start (I don’t know why, because the battery was fine). The guy thought it was strange, since it’s a new Jeep, and called a flatbed. They dropped my car off at a Chrysler dealership close to home. then dropped me off.

On Sept. 1, I got a call from the service manager asking me to tell them what happened because they were trying to figure things out. I told them everything, but he just wanted me to get to the point. After I finished, he asked if I got a car wash, because that may have damaged the car. I said, ‘Oh no, I didn’t get it washed, as my car was stuck by the pump since it wouldn’t turn on.’ He said, ‘Oh, are you sure, because we saw the car wash receipt on your dash’ I said, ‘I didn’t go to the wash and kept the code because it’s valid till November, so I left it on the dash.’ And he was like, ‘Oh okay, we will get back to you.’ At around 5 p.m., I called them, as they didn’t update me for six hours. I spoke with the service manager, and he said ‘You did some water damage to the (I don’t know what it is, some sort of electrical thing), and there’s water all over the mattress.’ I have no clue why we are talking about me damaging anything with water, and how can water damage the car? What rain? Am I not supposed to let water touch my car? So, then he says, ‘Because of this, your warranty won’t cover, but I’ll let you know how much it’ll be out of pocket tomorrow.’ I was shocked. I asked if I could get a rental car, and he said no, because this may not be covered under warranty, so I wouldn’t get a rental covered. And then he hung up.

I’m sorry for the long essay. They’re making me pay, for something I didn’t do. I have extended warranty and the car is brand new. What water damage?! Shouldn’t a Wrangler be waterproof?! If it’s damaged by water, then isn’t it a manufacturer problem that the waterproofing, or whatever, didn’t protect it?

Respectfully, Tommy N.

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That is quite the misadventure and I feel your frustration. I’m confident the problem lies within the vehicle’s wireless control module (WCM). This unit has been very problematic for Chrysler for many years and several recalls have been issued for multiple older models. The dealer’s water damage theory is highly suspicious. If I remember correctly, the WCM location is in a remote location tucked away behind covers in the steering column. In order to have water penetrate this unit, surely there would have been water everywhere. At this point. I would pursue the recall angle. If it has been repaired out of pocket already, maybe you will have some recourse to seek reimbursement, assuming that this unit is indeed recalled. Good Luck.

Lou Trottier is owner-operator of All About Imports in Mississauga. Have a question about maintenance and repair? E-mail globedrive@globeandmail.com, placing “Lou’s Garage” in the subject line.

Shopping for a new car? Check out the new Globe Drive Build and Price Tool to see the latest discounts, rebates and rates on new cars, trucks and SUVs. Click here to get your price.

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