Can Car Screen Protectors Cause Problems?




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Just like you’d slap a screen protector on your smartphone, plenty of car owners cover their car screens with thin covers to shield the displays from all kinds of potential damages.

Screen covers are super easy to install, and they are affordable. But can they cause any issues? Well, let’s find out!

If not installed properly, car screen protectors can interfere with the touch screen’s sensitivity. Also, poorly installed protectors might trap air bubbles or impede the screen’s clarity, and low-quality protectors degrade over time, affecting visibility.

Key Takeaways
While screen protectors aim to shield your car’s display, they can introduce issues such as reduced touch sensitivity and the rare but problematic ghost touch issue.
Different types of screen protectors, particularly tempered glass and plastic, offer varying degrees of protection and touch sensitivity.
Incorrect application or removal of screen protectors can result in damage to your car screen, yet, on a brighter note, if your car screen is already cracked, a screen protector can prevent further damage.
Deciding to use a screen protector depends on a variety of factors, such as the original sensitivity of your car’s screen, the risk of ghost touch, and the potential for added protection against damage.

If your car radio display has stopped working, it can greatly affect your driving experience. Learn how to diagnose and solve this issue in our in-depth article on Why Is Car Radio Display Not Working.

Brief Overview of Car Screen Protectors

A car screen protector is a thin, transparent shield that adheres to your vehicle’s touchscreen display.

Much like the screen protectors you might put on your smartphone or tablet, these are specifically designed to fit the screens in cars, from your Tesla Motors’ infotainment system to your everyday GPS display.

There are several reasons why someone might choose to use a screen protector in their car:

  • Screen protectors are there to safeguard your display from scratches, smudges, or even more significant damage that can occur over time.
  • They can also reduce glare, improve visibility, and some specific types, like the Spigen Matte or protectors privacy types, can even enhance privacy by limiting the viewing angle of your screen.

However, it’s worth noting that not all screen protectors are created equal. Typically, you’ll find two main types on the market: plastic screen protectors and glass screen protectors.

can car radio screen protectors cause problems

Car Screen Protectors and Touch Sensitivity

The fear of reduced responsiveness or altered touch experience is often at the forefront of our minds when considering whether to apply a protector to our car’s display.

Do Screen Protectors Affect Touch Sensitivity?

Firstly, most high-quality screen protectors are designed with touch sensitivity in mind. Their purpose, after all, is to protect without causing any impairment to the normal use of your display.

However, in some cases, users may notice some changes in touch sensitivity after applying a screen protector, especially a tempered glass one.

So, what could be behind these changes? Here are a few possible reasons:

#1. Improper application: If a screen protector isn’t correctly aligned or if there are air bubbles trapped underneath, it can result in touch sensitivity issues.

#2. Thickness: Tempered glass screen protectors are generally thicker than their plastic counterparts, which, in some cases, could impact the touch experience.

#3. Quality: Not all screen protectors are created equal. Lower-quality protectors might interfere more with the touch sensitivity than higher-quality ones.

The Case of Tempered Glass Screen Protectors

It’s important to understand that, by and large, tempered glass screen protectors do not negatively impact the touch screen experience.

They’re designed to mimic the feel and responsiveness of your original screen as closely as possible, and many users report no noticeable difference in touch sensitivity at all.

That said, in some isolated instances, a tempered glass protector might seem to affect touch sensitivity. However, as I mentioned earlier, this is often due to issues with the protector’s application or quality, not the inherent nature of tempered glass.

If a high-quality tempered glass screen protector is correctly applied, you can expect your touch screen to function just as smoothly as it did without the protector.

Screen Protector Interference and Touch Screen Performance

The question still stands: Can a screen protector interfere with your touch screen’s function? The short answer is – not in the way you might think.

As we’ve seen, a well-made, correctly applied screen protector should not negatively impact your touch screen’s performance. Any perceived changes are likely due to external factors, such as improper application or reduced quality of the protector itself.

It’s also worth noting that over time, car screens – like any other touch screens – can lose sensitivity. This can happen with or without a screen protector.

Various factors contribute to this, such as the screen’s age, wear and tear, and exposure to elements like heat and dust.

Addressing Screen Protector Problems: Ghost Touch

Moving on from general touch sensitivity, let’s focus on a more specific issue that some car screen users might encounter – the ghost touch problem.

Understanding Ghost Touch

“Ghost touch” refers to the screen behaving as if it’s being touched, or receiving input, when there’s no human interaction.

In other words, your car’s screen might seem to have a life of its own, opening apps, changing settings, or zooming in and out without you even laying a finger on it.

So, you might be asking, can a screen protector contribute to or cause this ghost touch problem? The answer is a little complicated. The issue is generally more associated with the touch screen technology itself, software bugs, or physical damage to the screen.

However, certain circumstances related to screen protectors might exacerbate or seem to trigger ghost touch issues. For instance, if a protector is not properly installed and air bubbles or dust are trapped beneath it, these could mimic touch and cause phantom inputs.

Solutions for Ghost Touch Problems

The good news is, ghost touch issues are usually solvable, and you don’t need to call in the Ghostbusters! Here are a few tips on how you can get rid of ghost touch issues on your car screen:

#1. Check your screen protector: Ensure that your screen protector is correctly installed without any air bubbles or dust trapped underneath it. 

If you suspect that your protector might be causing the problem, consider removing it temporarily to see if the issue persists.

#2. Restart your car’s system: Sometimes, a simple restart can do wonders. It can help clear any software bugs that might be causing the ghost touch issue.

#3. Update your system: Make sure your car’s infotainment system is updated to the latest software version. Manufacturers often release updates to fix bugs, including those that might cause ghost touch issues.

But what if the ghost touch issue arises after water damage? Water and electronics, as we know, don’t mix well. If your screen has been exposed to water, the first step is to try and dry it out as much as possible.

Use a soft, absorbent cloth to remove any visible moisture. If the problem persists, consider seeking professional help. Most car manufacturers or specialized electronics repair services can diagnose and fix these types of issues.

Damage and Protection: A Two-Way Street

Let’s shift our focus to a more physical aspect: can a screen protector actually cause harm to your car’s display? And on the flip side, can it help if your screen is already cracked? Let’s explore these intriguing questions.

Can a Screen Protector Damage Your Car Screen?

To give you a straight answer, under normal circumstances, a screen protector itself should not damage your car screen.

After all, they’re designed with the express purpose of protecting screens, not harming them. However, there are scenarios in which damage can occur, usually indirectly, and often due to incorrect application or removal.

When applying a screen protector, if not done properly, it could potentially lead to minor scratches or marks. This is especially true if you’re not careful when using tools or if dust and dirt particles get trapped during the application.

Similarly, improper removal of a screen protector can also cause issues. If you pull it off too quickly or at a wrong angle, it can lead to unwanted stress on the screen, potentially causing damage.

Can a Screen Protector Help a Cracked Screen?

A screen protector can help prevent further cracking or shattering of the glass, at least temporarily.

It can hold the cracked pieces together and provide a smoother surface for interaction, which can be a practical short-term solution.

Remember though, a protector in this case is just a band-aid. It won’t fix the underlying problem, and depending on the severity of the crack, your touchscreen functionality may still be impaired.

In the long run, if your car’s screen is seriously cracked, it’s best to get it professionally repaired or replaced.

Driving around with a damaged screen isn’t just an aesthetic issue; it can also affect the functionality of your vehicle’s infotainment system and, potentially, your safety on the road.

Evaluating the Worth of Car Screen Protectors

After diving into various issues surrounding car screen protectors, it’s natural to ask: Are they actually worth it?

Should we invest in a high-quality screen protector or is a cheaper one sufficient? And should we even bother using a screen protector at all? Let’s assess these points.

Quality Versus Cost: Are Quality Screen Protectors Worth It?

Deciding whether to invest in a higher-quality screen protector largely comes down to your individual needs, preferences, and, of course, your budget.

As with many products, you often get what you pay for.

More expensive, high-quality screen protectors usually offer better protection, more clarity, and smoother touch sensitivity. Plus, they tend to have better longevity, meaning you won’t have to replace them as often.

In the realm of quality, tempered glass protectors, while generally more expensive, offer superior protection against scratches and impact. They also provide a feel closer to your car’s original screen, which can be a significant advantage for some drivers.

On the other hand, plastic protectors, such as the Spigen Matte or other matte protectors, are cheaper and more resistant to smudges and fingerprints, but they might not offer the same level of protection or clarity as tempered glass.

Is It Worth Using a Car Screen Protector?

Although a screen protector can cause some issues like reduced touch sensitivity or ghost touch, these are often exceptions rather than the rule. 

Most users will find that the benefits of a screen protector — namely, protecting your car’s screen from scratches, smudges, and potential impact damage — greatly outweigh these possible drawbacks.

In addition, some users appreciate the added privacy that certain screen protectors offer. If you’ve ever used your car for a conference call or want to keep your information private, you’ll appreciate a protector that limits viewing angles.

A screen protector on your car screen is similar to using one on your smartphone.

It’s not absolutely necessary, but it can certainly save you from potential headaches. Considering the cost of replacing a car’s touchscreen, meaning it’s a small investment that could pay off in a big way.

Maintenance and Longevity of Car Screen Protectors

After addressing the worth of car screen protectors, it’s crucial to understand their lifespan and maintenance.

How Long Can a Screen Protector Last?

Like most products, the lifespan of a car screen protector can vary widely based on a few factors.

For instance, the quality of the screen protector itself plays a significant role. As I mentioned earlier, high-quality screen protectors, like tempered glass ones, tend to outlast their cheaper plastic counterparts.

On average, a good-quality screen protector should last anywhere between 1 to 2 years under normal usage. However, the actual lifespan can be influenced by various factors, including:

#1. How often and intensively you use the car’s touch screen.

#2. The environment in which the car operates. Extreme temperatures or high humidity can reduce a screen protector’s life.

#3. The quality of the screen protector’s installation. A well-installed protector will likely last longer than a poorly installed one.

How to Remove a Screen Protector

Removing a screen protector is a delicate process that should be done carefully to avoid damaging your car’s screen. Here’s a basic step-by-step guide:

#1. Start at a corner: Use a credit card or similar thin, rigid item to gently lift one corner of the screen protector. Be careful not to scratch the screen underneath.

#2. Lift slowly: Once the corner is lifted, slowly pull the protector off at an angle, being careful not to crack or break it.

#3. Clean the screen: After removal, clean the screen thoroughly using a screen cleaner and a microfiber cloth to remove any residue.

Remember, patience is key! If the protector isn’t lifting, don’t force it. Apply a little more pressure or try from a different corner.

Further Reading on Car Radio Screen Issues

Why is Car Touch Screen Not Working After Cleaning?

Many vehicle owners have encountered situations where their car touch screens stopped working after cleaning.

This is often due to improper cleaning techniques or solutions used, which can inadvertently damage delicate electronics. It’s vital to be cautious and informed about the materials and methods you’re using to keep your car’s touchscreen clean and functional.

Why is CarPlay Not Appearing on Car Screen?

Apple CarPlay enhances the in-car experience by bringing the power of the iPhone to your vehicle’s display. But what happens when CarPlay does not appear on car screen?

This could be due to various reasons, including a faulty USB cable, outdated iOS or infotainment system, or compatibility issues. Understanding these potential problems can help you troubleshoot effectively.


Screen protectors can lead to some complications, especially concerning touch sensitivity. But the frequency and severity of these issues largely depend on the quality of the protector and the installation process. 

This issue seems to be more prominent in plastic screen protectors compared to tempered glass ones.

Ghost touch problems, although not common, are another potential challenge resulting from improper installation or inferior quality protectors.

Luckily, these issues are generally not without solutions. For touch sensitivity issues, using a high-quality screen protector, particularly tempered glass, might help. Regarding ghost touch, removing and reinstalling the protector, or replacing it with a better-quality one, might resolve the problem.

Invest in a good-quality protector, ensure it’s installed correctly, and maintain it well. A well-chosen, well-installed, and well-maintained screen protector is more likely to offer protection than cause problems.