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Is It Worth Using Car Radio Screen Protectors?

A car radio screen protector is a device that attaches to your dashboard and protects your vehicle’s radio from damage.

The screen protector has adhesive on the back, which means it can be applied directly to the surface of most car radios without any additional tools or materials. However, many are wondering whether it is worth using a car radio screen protector? Well, let’s find out.

In general, every radio installed in the car should have screen protection. The protector gives the radio a brand new look, and it also makes the screen easier to clean. More importantly, the screen protector prevents the display from scratches and cracks. When comparing the cost of replacing a damaged radio screen with the cost of the protector itself, having one installed on the radio seems to be a no-brainer.

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Tip: Choosing a screen protector for a car radio is the best option to avoid marks or scratches on the screen.

If you value quality and visual effect, go for tempered glass screen protectors KYKR or LFOTPP (both links to Amazon).

KYRK protectors are stronger and made from thicker glass but not available for every car radio model, so it is worth checking with both producers.

In the article below, I will explain why car radio screen protectors are valuable for drivers who want to protect their displays from scratches and other types of damage.

Do Plastic Screen Protectors on Car Radios Actually Work?

Plastic screen protectors for a long time have been most popular for protecting car radio screens. The screen protectors are made of thin transparent plastic with adhesive tape on one side, which is then applied to the screen, and it becomes a shield and protects the screen from scratches and other damages.

While screen protectors might be an affordable option for people who want to make sure their car stereos do not get damaged over time, many think this is an unnecessary cost because scratches on the screens are minor damages and are easy to remove.

My personal opinion is that a screen protector is needed regardless of the display type you have, and I would rather invest a few dollars than try to fix a cracked screen afterward. But, this is me.

Does a Screen Protector Make a Difference?

A screen protector can definitely improve the general look of a screen and might help with visibility in sunlight conditions, especially if you have a radio with a matt display.

Especially KYKR glass protectors make crystal glass effect on the screens and are easy to be cleaned.

The difference on the screen is noticeable when the screen protector is installed because the screen becomes so shiny that it reflects everything in the surroundings. At the same time, the display can get a bit blurry when the light source is not in the right position.

Do Screen Protectors Ruin Quality?

Many opinions say that adding a screen protector to the touch screen radio makes it work worse, but is this true?

From my experience, no, and when installed correctly, protectors do not reduce pictures quality or touch screen responsiveness, but they can create some “mirror effect” on the screen when installed wrong.

If the radio screen is not perfectly clean before the installation, or a cheap screen protector has some marks, you can see air bubbles appear.

To avoid a bubble problem, you have to perfectly clean the display from sand or dust before applying a screen protector, which ideally you should do before installing a new radio in the car.

Of course, you will not disassemble the radio that is already installed, but you need to make sure the screen is clean, although cleaning it can be more difficult than the phone’s screen.

How Long Do Screen Protectors Last?

With good care, quality screen protectors can last a lifetime together with the car radio.

On the other hand, cheap screen protectors (made of thin plastic) can last a few months as a protecting device, but their surface will get easier dirty, and it may quickly become scratched.

There are a few cases of when you should replace the screen protector:

  • If the screen protector becomes cracked in a way that you can see that it affects screen visibility
  • If the screen protector starts to curl up and disturb the screen usage even when it is not in direct contact with the screen surface.

LFOTPP Fit for 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022 CRV EX EX-L Touring 7-Inch Car Navigation Screen Protector, Clear Tempered Glass Infotainment Display In-Dash Center Touch Stereo Screen Protector

Unfortunately, screen protectors can’t protect the screen against powerful impacts from heavy and sharp objects, but these happen mostly during accidents when the screen is hit by something heavy flying from the backseat.

During normal usage and when regularly cleaned, screen protectors will last for a long time and should not require replacement.

Do Screen Protectors Affect Touch Screen Sensitivity?

Manufacturers usually mention touch screen sensitivity, screen accuracy, and screen clarity in the product description.

Some screen protectors may interfere with or affect the level of sensitivity for the radio screen.

This can vary from protector to protector but is more common with thicker ones. But generally, when the screen protector is installed correctly, it won’t affect the properties of the radio display.

For radios with resistive screens, screen protectors don’t typically interfere with screen sensitivity as much as in the case of capacitive screens.

Capacitive radio display, which is more sensitive for any touch in the first place, can become slightly less responsive, especially with thick tempered glass protectors. This is however a minor difference and not noticeable during normal daily usage.

Do Screen Protectors Hide Scratches?

When it comes to existing scratches, the screen protector will do well to hide them, especially those made out of tempered glass.

If the screen is already scratched up pretty badly, the screen protector will not eliminate all existing scratches, but it will prevent new ones from occurring.

To have scratches removed from the display, you may need to clean it entirely using toothpaste or baking soda or, in some cases, polishing paste.

This will reduce the visibility of the scratches, and the screen protector will do well. This is not the most effective way to remove screen scratches, but it does wonders in terms of screen protectors.

One thing to remember, do not install a screen protector on the cracked screen. Doing this will make it worse, and while the glass will keep the screen from falling apart, you will have a lot of bubbles and not clear visibility.

Screen protectors also don’t change the screen’s color temperature, nor do they make screen monochrome. The only exception is applying trimmable screen protectors, which darken the screen by tinting its light output.

This effect is similar to activated dimming on the screen, but you do not have to turn the lights on to see the effect.

What Brand of Screen Protector Is the Best?

There are many screen protectors to choose from, and research can be overwhelming, but the ones worth considering because of their quality are either KYKR or LFOTPP.

After I tried both on several radios, let me show you the main differences:

KYKR screen protectors are made from the thickest and strongest glass in the industry. Once installed on the radio screen, it is almost impossible to tell it is on.

With its anti-glare protection, there are no glaring issues for your passengers or yourself while driving at night, nor does it affect the sensitivity of touch screens.

KYKR are known as bubbles free, and this is true. Because the glass is so thick and not too flexible, having bubbles locked between the shield and the screen is nearly impossible. Well, I tried but could not make any on the radio.

If you’re looking to maintain the original sleek appearance of your dashboard and looking for a long time lasting, clean screen in good condition, KYKR screen protectors are definitely worth their price.

The only downside is their higher price, but I prefer quality at the end of the day, and if I have a radio worth several hundreds of dollars or more, why do not protect it?

To summarize, the KYKR is the first choice for me, and there are also glass matt options, but they are not available for all car radios as of yet.

KYKR Premium Tempered Glass Screen Protector Compatible with 2019 2020 2021 2022 1500 2500 3500 TRX Uconnect 12 Inch Dodge Ram - Anti Glare Scratch Fingerprint Navigation Protection

LFOTPP is the second choice with also good quality. These screen protectors are thinner but also made from polished glass with rounded edges. Installation of the screen cover is easy and does not affect the color, icon size, and touch screen capabilities.

LFOTPP screen protectors are easy to wipe with a microfiber cloth but do not use any harmful substances, like interior cleaning spray. For some reason, it may leave marks like the glass layers were absorbing the oil.

What I noticed is that the LFOTPP screen protector does not reduce glare as much glare as KYKR, and I heard from a friend that they can have a blue tint effect that was visible under natural light, but I did not notice this in my Passat.

LFOTPP protectors are cheaper but still worth the price, and if you are looking for something for the money, I would definitely use them in the car.

LFOTPP Control Screen Protectors for 2016-2020 2021 GMC Sierra 1500/2500HD 3500HD 8 Inch IntelliLink,PET Plastic Center Touch HD Crystal Clear in-Dash Navigation Protective Film PET 8-Inch

What Is the Toughest Screen Protector?

The most rigid screen protectors are made of tempered glass and are absolute number one when it comes to screen protection.

They are more expensive, but a few dollars difference for the top product quality should not make a big difference in the long term.

These screen protectors are scratch-proof and shatterproof. You can even use car keys to scratch them without damaging them at all.

Toughest screen protectors won’t start getting scratched with their 9H hardness, but with their hardness, they are thin, easy to install on screen, and their anti-smudge coating allows for easy cleaning.

What Is Better Screen Protector or Tempered Glass?

There are two main types of protectors you can apply to the radio, and the main difference is their material and finishing look.

The standard screen protector is an adhesive film that can be applied to the radio display.

However, some plastic screen protectors, especially those thinner of a lower quality, develop bubbles while applying them on the screen. This doesn’t look good on the car radio screen and inhibits visibility.

Different class represent screen protectors made of tempered glass. They are more expensive, but they come with full-screen coverage and prevent them from getting scratches even by hard and sharp objects.

They are stronger and have a much harder surface that is nearly impossible to damage during normal usage.

Tempered glass is more robust, and it lasts much longer than plastic. Also, the plastic one gets dull over time, but the tempered glass looks new.

Below few benefits of tempered glass over standard plastic protectors:

  • Unlike cell phones, Tempered glass does not get cracks on the edges and corners because the radio screen is usually placed deeper than control buttons and car radio screens are flat.
  • Tempered glass does not affect screen responsiveness, but it can have a slightly different effect on different screen types.
  • Tempered glass is stronger than plastic screen protectors and does not get easily scratched and ruin the visibility of your HD screen.

Can Tempered Glass Break Easily?

Although tempered glass is solid and thick, it can’t protect against heavy impacts.

For instance, if something hard hits the radio screen, the tempered screen protector will be fine.

But if that same thing happened and the radio had been hit by something heavy and sharp, it would crack because of the force impact. Large force can also damage the screen itself.

Conclusion

Having a great car radio is fantastic, but even better is to have it in good condition, so remember to protect it from any screen damages.

Choosing a screen protector for a car radio is the best option to avoid screen problems. The screen can suffer from scratches, cracks, and problems with visibility if it is not protected.

To choose the right screen protector, you need to find out which one fits your stereo model, and regardless of the radio type you have, go for tempered glass screen protectors.

They are flexible, can absorb pressure, and are shatterproof. Of course, you need to read the instructions carefully, perfectly clean the screen, affix it on your screen, and voila!

If you decide to add a protective layer to your radio of the best quality, go for KYKR or LFOTPP tempered glass protectors.

They have slight differences and a price tag, but both will do great at screen protection.