Taillights, you may not see them but they protect you from a rear-end collision by telling drivers behind you that you’re slowing down, changing lanes, or reversing. The array can also be home to a fog light or two. That being said, they’re undoubtedly important, and they are supposed to be seen at all times.
For the sake of “style,” some people opt to cover the lenses with a layer of tint that makes reds, ambers, and whites darker overall, depending on the tint’s light-blocking ability. While we’re all for owner empowerment, there are a few things that you cannot touch, simply because they’re there to keep you safe, whether implicitly like a taillight, or explicitly like an airbag. So here are a few reasons why tinting your taillights are a customization that you should avoid.
It does not improve output or visibility
As a general rule of thumb, if you’re going to touch something on the car to “upgrade” it, then it must be extending the function of the system in question. In this instance, you’re going to cover the light source and make it harder for people to see your lights. Manufacturers take this seriously, and issue recalls if a vehicle’s experiencing light output problems.
Perhaps you could make the argument that your lights are strong enough to pass through the lens and the tint, but a car’s tails must be visible at least 100 meters away while braking. Which leads us into our next reason.
It’s implicitly illegal
In this case, the law doesn’t tell you explicitly that tint on your taillights is illegal, but since they hamper the functionality of your rear lights, then the law can be interpreted as such.
(d) Taillights. – Every motor vehicle and trailer shall, during the above-mentioned hours, also bear on each side in the rear a lamp showing a red light visible at least one hundred meters from the rear of the vehicle and a lamp throwing a white light upon the number plate issued for such vehicle.
It won’t do you any favors in bad weather
When visibility drops in either fog or a downpour, odds are, you’re going to need all the visibility you can get. There is no escaping nature during our stints on the road, and every precaution must be made to ensure our safety by keeping our lighting systems visible even in inclement conditions.
As stated earlier, tinting will put another layer of material between the light source and the recipient of this light source, making it a counter-intuitive addition to a properly-working component.
Are style points worth getting rear-ended?
You have to ask yourself if risking an accident is worth the extra “pogi points” that you and your car might merit. Here’s the thing though, you won’t be impressing a lot of people with these kinds of modifications because they’re tacky and a bit pointless because of the aforementioned reasons.
Form follows function – that has been misunderstood. Form and function should be one, joined in a spiritual union.
If you’re looking to change the look of your car, try investing in improvements to the light’s output. Possibly consult a professional regarding a change like this as well, since electric components are not always the best things to DIY.
If you truly want your lights to be just a shade darker, we’d still advise against that. Also, tints that change your lights’ lens color aren’t advised since the color is a major factor in the meaning of the lights in question. And don’t get us started about blinking taillights.