By on July 13, 2018


TTAC Commentator Sam Hell Jr writes:

A few questions in follow-up to the discussion of blind-spots and glare… I drive a current-gen Malibu and live in a fairly well-heeled suburb on the edge of farmland, so a lot of my miles are coming on unlit roads surrounded by extra-tall SUVs and and extra-legally illuminated pickups. (With special commendation for the tailgating lifted Ram driver who, upon seeing me adjust my rearview mirror to avoid his aftermarket LED glare, flipped on the high-beams. Boo this man!)

The Malibu’s left sideview mirror adjustment is fairly limited, meaning I’ve still got to check over my shoulder around the driver-side B-pillar before changing lanes, even with the mirror at its widest angle.

  • I’m thinking about installing one of those fisheye mirrors, but doesn’t a fisheye mirror’s shape basically guarantee that I’ll be blinded by brodozers irrespective of my side-view mirror position?
  • Also, you mentioned the possibility of a light rear-windshield tint to combat headlight glare, is there a difference in tints if the priority is night visibility and glare reduction? Some sunlight shading would be welcome, because I do occasionally drive in my glasses, but that would be a lesser priority.
  • The Malibu’s auto-dimming rearview mirror already needs a fair amount of optical prodding before it engages. Would tinting the windows impede the rearview mirror’s light sensor?
  • I live in Ohio and use the rear defroster an awful lot. Is that something to take into account when choosing a tint?
  • Last one’s addressed to Sanjeev: for the next time that Ram pulls up behind me, your thoughts on installing a powered rear-facing reflector styled after the bullet-proof shield on the Goldfinger DB5?

Sajeev answers:

Sorry to hear your Malibu’s mirror isn’t Blindspot Glare Elimination (BGE) savvy! Window tinting is almost mandatory in my part of the country, so perhaps we can hammer this one out quickly:

  • My limited experience with fish eye mirrors is they’re small enough to keep a large amount of reflections in your face. I guess its okay to try it, because if you gotta do it…
  • Do keep in mind that everyone’s rod and cones are a bit unique. Visible Light Reflectance is real and I will vouch for both clear and (especially) darkened tint giving illegal headlights a serious wallop. This link is the only one I’ve googled with a clear ranking of glare reduction: perhaps going to a tint shop and reading their spec sheets is in order!
  • Yes, window tint impedes an auto dimming mirror’s duty cycle (so to speak). But the on/off switching still happens, and the mirror dims less frequently because the need is less dire. That said, I lament the days of adjusting mirror sensitivity (see the lighted #8 in the video below), because the original, 1980s GENTEX mirror had a 0-10 sensitivity thumbwheel which really comes in handy in this era of illegal headlights.

  • Nope. Granted my Houston home ain’t Ohio, but the defroster always works in every tinted car I’ve experienced for decades.
  • Son, never listen to Sanjeev. Never ever.

[Image: Chevrolet]

Send your queries to [email protected] Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice. 

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22 Comments on “Piston Slap: Blinded by the Light or BGE Clarity? (Part II)...”

  • avatar

    “thoughts on installing a powered rear-facing reflector styled after the bullet-proof shield on the Goldfinger DB5?”

    This is the answer, when blinded by illegal lighting in my rear view mirror a simple push of a button pops my tailgate and a large mirror drops down to settle the score. If that doesn’t work light seeking missiles installed fore and aft should do the trick

    • 0 avatar

      I like it. I use a handheld beauty mirror. I keep it between the seats and when a “brohole” does things such as stated by the OP, I pick it up and flash his lights back into his eyes. That usually ends that though a few have come next to me to menace me…I ignore them and hold my line with no movement. F-em.

    • 0 avatar

      That’s what I was thinking. A 3’x2’ section of mirror on the rear deck powered by a small actuator will have them locking up their brakes, lol.

  • avatar

    “ (With special commendation for the tailgating lifted Ram driver who, upon seeing me adjust my rearview mirror to avoid his aftermarket LED glare, flipped on the high-beams. Boo this man!)”

    I know the type. Probably some inbred in his 20s named “Cody” who spends most of his time watching MMA when he’s not busy rolling coal in people’s faces.

    • 0 avatar

      Yes, “Codys” are everywhere these days. When this kind of thing happens to me, I like to take both of my outside mirrors and aim them upwards until they get the message. The downside is, I have to readjust my mirrors again… Grrr…

    • 0 avatar

      “I know the type. Probably some inbred in his 20s named “Cody” who spends most of his time watching MMA when he’s not busy rolling coal in people’s faces.”

      Is that before or after popping steroids?

  • avatar

    The only rear defroster issue I’ve noticed with window tint is present in my current Infiniti. Because the space around the defroster wires is dark, I get glare off of the defroster lines themselves when a car is behind.

    Perhaps it’s particular to the tint installation, because I’ve never noticed this before.


    Purchase a car with a powered rear sun shade.

    • 0 avatar

      I’ve never had a tint related defroster issue. However on my Highlander the aftermarket tint is applied over the slight factory tint – but the auto-dimming mirror still dims when light hits it.

      Unfortunately Ohio’s tint laws are ridiculously restrictive compared to many states. If the OP lived in the Southwest I’d tell him to get chrome mirror tint on the back window and fight fire with fire.

      • 0 avatar

        Good thing there is my car came from Michigan (via North Carolina). So it was tinted dark before being here. You can’t really see who’s inside if the sunroof is closed.

        I’ve never had a police issue.

        • 0 avatar

          In my college years (1995-1999) I knew a frat bro with a ford Probe that had chrome mirror tint, but still within Ohio regulation. A misty morning or one where there was significant dew would turn his windows almost opaque.

          He was in his final year of classes and had an internship that required him to make a run from Defiance, OH up to almost Toledo on US 24, usually departing in the early morning hours.

          He had so many run-ins with Ohio Hwy Patrol over his tint he started to factor it into his travel time.

  • avatar

    Come on Sajeev, we all know that Sanjeev is the one feeding you all of the answers.

  • avatar

    A very good friend of mine had and ingenious way for enticing following vehicles to either dim their lights or pull off and check the aim. A skilled Navy electrician, he installed a 6″ diameter aircraft landing light atop the toolbox behind the cab of his truck, carefully pre-aiming the light to a point about 100′ behind. He wasn’t a bad guy with this installation – he’d first readjust his inside mirror and attempt to live with it but when the glare would just be too much in the trailer-tow mirrors, he’d flip the toggle switch and, for the offending high-beam perpetrator following, the sun would appear to rise out of the pickup bed. Never saw it fail to achieve the desired result.

    • 0 avatar
      Secret Hi5

      How about a rear battery of laser pointers? Just be prepared to jump into hyperspace, in case the blinded offender loses control of his bro-dozer.

  • avatar
    Sam Hell Jr

    Thanks to Sajeev for taking my question.

    I should have been more specific — I’ve seen a lot of cheap tint jobs deform along the defroster lines. Is that something to worry about, especially in a cold-weather state where the defroster gets a lot of use?

    • 0 avatar

      Being at 6500 ft (and having lived in the Midwest) I feel that we use the defrost quite a bit.

      Find a tint company that’s worth a dang. There are easily a dozen places to have tint done in my immediate area. However there is ONE that I trust to do it and has done 4 vehicles for me, no issues.

      Ask around.

  • avatar

    I consider limo tint a necessity for driving a car at night. I never adjust/flip my mirror. Any lights that are bothersome through that are either the brights, illegal, or improperly aimed. I simply let off the gas until they find a way around me.

  • avatar

    When I got my Lexus 10 years ago, the auto-dim rear view mirror did the job. Now with so many cheap-ass HID kits, raised trucks and light bars, it can’t keep up. As for factory lights, the new Honda Acura LED headlamps are the worst for glare.

  • avatar

    Never had a problem with defroster lines and rear window tint, but I got a decent place to put it in each time.

    I put little round fish-eye mirrors on both of the side mirrors of my car- mostly to help spot the lines on each side of a parking spot. I like to back in to spots but it’s hard to judge side to side lineup (I also despise people who park cockeyed and I’ve given out many door dings to the most cockeyed of parkers, but I digress). I put the little fisheye mirrors in the bottom inside corners of my side mirrors after trying them in a couple other places on the mirrors. This works best for parking and it doesn’t detract from the using the mirrors to see my blind spots when I’m driving (I always adjust my mirrors out so that I can’t see the edge of the car in them… no point adjusting them so close that you can’t see anyone until they’ve already hit you!). Here is the lucky part- they’re in the perfect spot so that when there is some dummy behind me and offset slightly to one side, who left his high beams were on, then these little fisheye mirrors are covering that part of the mirror that would normally reflect that headlight straight at my eyes.

    So I say go for the small fisheye mirrors. If you don’t like them then they’re a cheap experiment and you can take them off. I’ve had mine on for a few years and I love them.

  • avatar

    My Fusion has the same problem. I am almost completely reliant on the mirrors.

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