There is no doubt that tinted windows make your car look cooler but that is not all.
It also protects your car interior and passengers from harmful UV and IR rays that are the main cause of skin cancer and damaging car interior.
Tinted windows also add privacy to your vehicle so you can leave your valuables inside without the risk of theft.
How I know all of this?
I have spent 24 days and 13 hours, and:
- Made 68 phone calls to law enforcement authorities.
- Sent 117 emails.
- Met 13 law enforceent officers.
- Visited 32 tint shops.
- Travelled 1821 miles.
To find out the the most accurate tinting laws in each state.
Where there are a lot of benefits of tinting your windows, at the same time there are some serious drawbacks too. Window tints that are too dark can cause visibility and security issues. Window tint laws are there to make everyone safe.
Especially at night times or in states where the sun doesn’t shine bright, darker tints can make your visibility poor which can lead to road accidents and risk the safety of other pedestrians, cyclists and cars around you.
It also makes the vehicle suspicious hence grabbing more attention of police. If police and law enforcement authorities can not see the driver in the vehicle they can stop it and search for drugs and narcotics.
The government is serious about safety and has placed some rules to regulate window tinting.
Window tinting laws tell you how dark the tint should be of each window, so it doesn’t affect visibility (in day or at night time) and cause any safety and security problems.
Here are some things that you need to know to decode window tint laws across united states.
- Window tint is measured by Visible Light Transmission through windows after the tint is installed. Often as VLT%.
- Front windows are driver’s and passenger windows only. This does not include windshield.
- Rear windows are any windows that are behind the front windows. This does not include back window glass.
- The windshield band is the film that extends down from the top of the windshield.
- The AS1 line is the marking from the windshield glass manufacturer on the top side.
- Reflection of window tint usually refers to the amount of sun light reflecting off of metallic tint film.
- VLT percentages are for Sedan Type vehicles / SUVs. if there is no / then the VLT% is same for both vehicles.
Here is a representation of how VLT% for window tints affect visibility.
I have made this map with the minimum visible light transmission percentage that is allowed in each state.
In the map bellow, VLT percentages are shown as Front Windows / Rear Windows.
Search in the table bellow to find the window tint law for how dark you can go inyour state.
|State||Front Windows||Rear Windows||Back Window||Windshield Visor||Reflection||Restricted Color|
|Alabama (AL)||32% VLT||32% VLT / no limit||32% VLT / no limit||6" Shade||No more than 20%||None|
|Alaska (AK)||70% VLT||40% VLT||40% VLT||5" Shade||Non-reflective||Red|
|Arizona (AZ)||33% VLT||No limit||No limit||To AS1 marking||Not more than 35%||Red|
|Arkansas (AR)||25% VLT||25% VLT / 10% VLT||10% VLT||5" Shade||Non-reflective||None|
|California (CA)||70% VLT||No limit||No limit||4" Shade||Non-reflective||Red|
|Colorado (CO)||27% VLT||27% VLT||27% VLT||4" Shade||Non-reflective||Red|
|Connecticut (CT)||35% VLT||35% VLT / No limit||No limit||Down to AS1 marking||Front: 21%, Rear: 27%||None|
|D.C||70% VLT||50% VLT / 35% VLT||50% VLT / 35% VLT||5" Shade or down to AS1 marking||No limit||None|
|Delaware (DE)||70% VLT||No limit||No limit||Down to AS1 marking||Non-reflective||None|
|Florida (FL)||28% VLT||15% VLT||15% VLT||Down to AS1 marking||Front: 25%, Rear: 35%||None|
|Georgia (GA)||32% VLT||32% VLT / No limit||32% VLT / No limit||6" Shade||No more than 20%||Red|
|Hawaii (HI)||35% VLT||35% VLT / No limit||35% VLT / No limit||70% on whole windshield||Non-reflective||None|
|Idaho (ID)||35% VLT||20% VLT / No limit||35% VLT / No limit||Down to AS1 marking||No more than 35%||None|
|Illinois (IL)||35% VLT||35% VLT / No limit||35% VLT / No limit||6" Shade||Non-reflective||None|
|Indiana (IN)||30% VLT||30% VLT / No limit||30% VLT / No limit||Down to AS1 marking||No more than 25%||None|
|Iowa (IA)||70% VLT||No limit||No limit||Down to AS1 marking||Non-reflective||Red|
|Kansas (KS)||35% VLT||35% VLT||35% VLT||Down to AS1 marking||Non-reflective||Red|
|Kentucky (KY)||35%||18%/ No limit 8" from top||18% / No limit 8" from top||Down to AS1 marking||No more than 25%||None|
|Louisiana (LA)||40%||25% VLT / No limit||12% VLT / No limit||Down to AS1 marking||No more than 20%||None|
|Maine (ME)||35%||35% VLT / No limit||35% VLT / No limit||4" Shade||Non-reflective||None|
|Maryland (MD)||35% VLT||35% VLT / No limit||35% VLT / No limit||4" Shade||Non-reflective||Red|
|Massachusetts (MA)||28% VLT||28% VLT||28% VLT||Down to AS1 marking||No more than 35%||None|
|Michigan (MI)||Only top 4" and no limit to tint||No limit||No limit||4" Shade||No more than 25%||None|
|Minnesota (MN)||50% VLT||50% VLT / No limit||50% VLT / No limit||No permitted||No more than 20%||None|
|Mississippi (MS)||28% VLT||28% VLT / No limit||28% VLT / No limit||Down to AS1 marking||No more than 20%||None|
|Missouri (MO)||35% VLT||No limit||No limit||Down to AS1 marking||No more than 35%||None|
|Montana (MT)||24% VLT||14% VLT / No limit||14% VLT / No limit||Down to AS1 marking||No more than 35%||None|
|Nebraska (NE)||35% VLT||20% VLT / 35% VLT||20% VLT / 35% VLT||5" Shade||No more than 35%||None|
|Nevada (NV)||35% VLT||No limit||No limit||Down to AS1 marking||None||None|
|New Hampshire (NH)||Not permitted||35% VLT / No limit||35% VLT / No limit||6" Shade||Non-reflective||None|
|New Jersey (NJ)||Not Permitted||No Limit||No Limit||Not Permitted||Non-reflective||None|
|New Mexico (NM)||20% VLT||20% VLT / No limit||20% VLT / No limit||5" Shade||No Limit||None|
|New York (NY)||70% VLT||70% VLT / No limit||No Limit||6" Shade||Non-reflective||None|
|North Carolina (NC)||35% VLT||35% VLT / No limit||35% VLT / No limit||Down to AS1 marking||No more than 20%||Red|
|North Dakota (ND)||50% VLT||No limit||No limit||70% VLT applied to whole windshield||Non-reflective||None|
|Ohio (OH)||50% VLT||No limit||No limit||70% VLT applied to whole windhshield||Non-reflective||None|
|Oklahoma (OK)||25% VLT||25% VLT / No limit||25% VLT / No limit||5" Shade||No more than 25%||None|
|Oregon (OR)||35% VLT||35% VLT / No limit||35% VLT / No limit||6" Shade||No more than 13%||Red, Green, Amber|
|Pennsylvania (PA)||70% VLT||70% VLT / No limit||70% VLT / No limit||Not permitted||Non-reflective||None|
|Rhode Island (RI)||70%||70% / No limit||70% / No limit||Down to AS1 marking||No limit||None|
|South Carolina (SC)||27% VLT||27% VLT / No limit||27% VLT / No limit||Down to AS1 Marking||Non-reflective||Red|
|South Dakota (SD)||35% VLT||20% VLT / No limit||20% VLT / No limit||Down to AS1 marking||Non-reflective||None|
|Tennessee (TN)||35% VLT||35% VLT||35% VLT||Down to AS1 marking||Non-reflective||None|
|Texas (TX)||25% VLT||No limit||No limit||5" Shade or Down to AS1 marking||No more than 25%||Red|
|Utah (UT)||43% VLT||No limit||No limit||Down to AS1 marking||Non-reflective||None|
|Vermont (VT)||Not permitted||No limit||No limit||Down to AS1 marking||Non-reflective||None|
|Virginia (VA)||50% VLT||35% VLT / No limit||35% VLT / No limit||Down to AS1 marking||No more than 20%||Red|
|Washington (WA)||24% VLT||24% VLT / No limit||24% VLT / No limit||6" Shade||No more than 35%||Red|
|West Virginia (WV)||35% VLT||35% VLT / No limit||35% VLT / No limit||5' Shade||No more than 20%||Red|
|Wisconsin (WI)||50% VLT||35% VLT||35% VLT||Down to AS1 marking||No limit||None|
|Wyoming (WY)||28%||28% / No limit||28% / No limit||5" Shade or Down to AS1 marking||No more than 20%||None|
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What is VLT%?
Window tint film comes in different VLT % like 70%, 50%, 35% and more.
Some people often think that the lesser the percentage the less dark the tint would be. But that is WRONG.!
VLT stands for Visible Light Transmission. It is the amount of (total) visible light that is allowed into the cabin after the tint is installed on windows.
Learning about VLT is really simple, the higher the VLT number is, the lighter the tint film and the lower the VLT number, the darker the tint film.
This picture will make it more clear and easy to understand.
Why each state is different?
Each state is different when it comes to weather conditions.
For example, Alabama receives a lot of sun in summers and has very mild winters hence it will be safer with front window tints that allow around 32% visible light on all the windows and a 6-inch tint for visor on windshield.
For the states that won’t see as much sun as New York, your tints (on front windows) are limited to allow 70% visible light and you can’t go darker than that.
Which state is more restrictive?
California is well known for its (extra precautionary) safety laws and window tints are no different.
California has very dry and warm summers and very mild winters but still, you are restricted to tints for front windows that allow at least 70% light inside the cabin.
On the other hand, back windows can go as dark as you would like so passengers on the back seat can have shade and privacy.
Is limo tint “dark black” illegal?
Yes. Dark black tint to the point where you can’t see inside is illegal and will probably cause you to get pulled over. Driving with dark tints on the front windows is like driving with no registration plate.
Why limos are tinted black?
When it comes to limos, the front windows are tinted (or not tinted at all) to allow maximum visible light inside (according to state’s law) to allow law enforcement authorities to know is driving and the passengers are given full privacy and protection from the sun by black tints. This makes them road illegal.
Front windshield tint?
You can put a clear ceramic film that does not affect any visible light transmission, on you whole windshield.
But when it comes to dark tints, you are allowed to put a sun visor tint on the top 4 – 6 inches depending on the state.
This allows maximum visibility at night and don’t risk any security.
What are our benefits in tint laws?
You might say to your self that “who cares?” I’m going to install any tint I like but that is unlawful, unethical and most probably dangerous for everyone on road, including yourself.
Tint laws are there to ensure safety and security on the road for everyone.
Too dark of tints can make it very difficult to identify objects when driving at night and always carry a security threat. Law enforcement authorities need to see inside a vehicle to identify any possible crime or theft.
Vehicles with darker tints that allow only 10% or 5% visible light are more prone to getting pulled over as it is a crime.
Driving with dark tints (or darker then what your state allows) is like driving with no registration plate.
Medical Exemptions and Waivers.
Some states give relaxation on darker window tints for individuals with medical conditions that may suffer from exposure to sun or heat.
Unfortunately, some states do not accept any medical exemptions for any reason.
You have to carry a medical permit, that recommends you darker tints in your vehicle so if you get pulled over you can show it to the officer.
Can you get pulled over for tinting your car windows?
Yes but only if you tint too dark.
If you tint your windows too dark to the point where law enforcement authorities like the police can not see who is inside the vehicle then you are going to get pulled over and searched for illegal weapons and drugs.
Can you get a ticket for tinting too dark?
Yes. Really Dark tints installed on front windows are illegal. If your tints are darker then what the state has allowed, you have violated the state law and will be handed over a ticket.
For the first time, the ticket might be around 150$ for illegal tinting.
If you know your tints are violating law then the easiest way of getting out of a ticket is to peel them off.
How police measure VLT%?
Law enforcement authorities and tint workshops use VLT meter. They mount it on the window to measure visible light inside the cabin, as compared to light present outside and mark your vehicle tints road-legal according to the measurements.
This device uses a laser to take precise measurements.
Can you get jail for failed VLT tests?
No. You can only get a ticket but not go to jail for failed VLT tests. But, if you get caught with illegal drugs and weapons, then you are going to get jail.
Are window tints crime?
No. If your window tints follow state’s law guidelines then you are not committing any crime. But, if your tints are darker than what state has allowed then you might be in trouble.
About Frank Diaz
Hi everyone, my name is Frank Diaz and I am the face behind GaragestPicks. I studied Mechanical Engineering at Georgia Institute of Technology and worked as a mechanic for over 20 years. I love working on cars and doing DIY projects around the house. I write this blog to share my knowledge and help others fix their cars with most common tools.
Believe it or not, California laws on tinted windows are considered among the strictest in the nation. Yet, that hasn't stopped repair shops and drivers from tinting glass beyond federal guidelines, which specify that light transmittance must be at least 70%.
Section 375 (12-a) of the NYS Vehicle and Traffic Law does not allow a windshield or front side windows that are dark. The windshield and front side windows cannot block more than 30% of the light. Seventy percent or more of the light from the outside must pass through the window.
Window Tint Darkness
The 2022 California window tint laws requirements are for the front windshield and front side windows to have a 70% VLT. California car window tint law has no restriction on how dark the tint on the rear and back side windows can be.
The combination of the 77% transmission window and 43% transmission film results in a darkest legal tint of 35%.
Below are the laws on the types of tint reflection you can legally have: Front Side windows: No more than 20% reflective. Back Side windows: No more than 20% reflective. Other restrictions: red and amber not allowed.
Florida tint laws allow you to have ceramic tint on your car. However, ceramic tint is only permissible if combined with factory-tinted windows. You'll also need to ensure that the total light transmission of your car windows is equal to or above 70%.
How Much Are NY Tint Fines? If your windows do not meet the 70% light threshold, you can face fines up to $150 for windows that are too dark. Police can issue one ticket for all non-compliant windows or tickets for each window failing to meet regulations.
What are the 3 ways that you can 'get around' the NYS Window Tint law?
- Xeroderma pigmentosum.
- Severe Drug Photosensitivity.
NY Window Tint law- Medical Exemption
To apply for authorization from the DMV, The Driver must obtain a letter signed by a physician or optometrist indicating that the special window treatment or application is a medical necessity.
A tint darkness rated at 70% means that the tinted window allows 70% of all visible light to pass through the window. This means in turn the tint rejects just 30% of the visible light. This is a very light tint option, and one that appears clear to many viewers.
The front windscreen must allow a minimum of 75% of light in at all times. The front side and passenger windows must allow at least 70% in. This means that if you are pulled over and have the tints on an officer will not ask you to remove it or issue a ticket.
California Window Tinting Laws. California window tint law restricts windshield tint on top 4 inches. Front side windows must have 70% light transmission or more. Back side windows and rear window may have any tint darkness.
Five percent shade is also called "Limo Tint". This shade only allows in 5% of the available light. Auto One locations may offer different shades.
Chameleon tint is also legal to have on the front windscreen in most vehicles as it lets in more than 75% of the light.
Window tints are not prohibitively expensive, even for higher end brands. Average prices range from $100 – $400 to tint your whole car.
Windshield: 25% VLT tint is allowed above the manufacturer's AS-1 line or top 5 inches, with less than 25% reflection. Front Side windows: Must allow more than 25% of light in. Back Side windows: Any darkness can be used. Rear Window: Any darkness can be used with side outside mirrors, 25% VLT without.
Under this TN law, you must allow for more than 70% of light for any tint installed on a windshield. As for side and back windows, you must allow for 35% of visible light transmission. You cannot have metallic or mirrored tint installed on any of your vehicle's windows.
Michigan window tint laws accept tint up to 4 inches from the top of your windshield and front side windows. Any level of tint is allowed for the back-side and rear windows. If you want to add extra privacy to your vehicle, you can't go wrong with tinted windows.
Windshield: Non-reflective tint is allowed above the manufacturer's AS-1 line. Front Side windows: Must allow more than 35% of light in. Back Side windows: Must allow more than 18% of light in. Rear Window: Must allow more than 18% of light in.