Mike Valentine
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radar detector questions answered


  I have a 2000 Lexus LS400.  Do I have one of those windshields that impair radar or laser warning?
- R.T., Texas

  Sorry, but we haven’t been able to test the windshields of every car for every model year. Here’s what to watch out for; any glass with a metallic film, usually put there either as a heating element for defrosting, or as a solar barrier to reduce interior heat from the sun.

You can usually tell by looking carefully which windshields have the film—if you see an unusual bronze or reddish tint, check with your dealer.

Be especially watchful of GM front-drive minivans (1989 to present), older Ford Taurus, Mercury Sable and Lincoln models with the optional InstaClear windshield, and the "insulated glass" option on Audi A8 models. This insulated glass is more common in Europe; BMW-3-Series models sold in Europe have it, for example.

One other point; if the tint band at the top of your windshield looks a lot darker than others you see in the parking lot, I suggest you avoid placing V1 behind it if you’re driving in laser territory. Most windshield tint bands are okay but why take a chance.

For more information.

  My rear window has lines through it for defrosting. Does that hurt V1’s rear reception?
- J. B., Nebraska

  When V1 is mounted on or near the windshield, don’t worry about defroster lines, or the fine antenna wires you see on the rear window of some cars. Radar and laser zip right past these distant obstructions.

Be careful of wires in the windshield though, because they’re close to V1. Usually the horizontal wires are no problem, but I recommend that you stay a few inches away from vertical wires.

The plastic rear windows on convertibles are transparent for radar, even when the plastic gets old and foggy. But the harder it is for you to see behind, the harder it will also be for rear laser to get through. Because rear laser warnings are rarely helpful however, I wouldn’t lose much sleep over the loss.