Window tint laws by State Chart + Mystery of VLT: Solved! (2022)

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:

  1. Made 68 phone calls to law enforcement authorities.
  2. Sent 117 emails.
  3. Met 13 law enforceent officers.
  4. Visited 32 tint shops.
  5. 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.
Window tint laws by State Chart + Mystery of VLT: Solved! (1)
  • 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.

Window tint laws by State Chart + Mystery of VLT: Solved! (2)

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.

Window tint laws by State Chart + Mystery of VLT: Solved! (3)

Search in the table bellow to find the window tint law for how dark you can go inyour state.

StateFront WindowsRear WindowsBack WindowWindshield VisorReflectionRestricted Color
Alabama (AL)32% VLT32% VLT / no limit32% VLT / no limit6" ShadeNo more than 20%None
Alaska (AK)70% VLT40% VLT40% VLT5" ShadeNon-reflectiveRed
Arizona (AZ)33% VLTNo limitNo limitTo AS1 markingNot more than 35%Red
Arkansas (AR)25% VLT25% VLT / 10% VLT10% VLT5" ShadeNon-reflectiveNone
California (CA)70% VLTNo limitNo limit4" ShadeNon-reflectiveRed
Colorado (CO)27% VLT27% VLT27% VLT4" ShadeNon-reflectiveRed
Connecticut (CT)35% VLT35% VLT / No limitNo limitDown to AS1 markingFront: 21%, Rear: 27%None
D.C70% VLT50% VLT / 35% VLT50% VLT / 35% VLT5" Shade or down to AS1 markingNo limitNone
Delaware (DE)70% VLTNo limitNo limitDown to AS1 markingNon-reflectiveNone
Florida (FL)28% VLT15% VLT15% VLTDown to AS1 markingFront: 25%, Rear: 35%None
Georgia (GA)32% VLT32% VLT / No limit32% VLT / No limit6" ShadeNo more than 20%Red
Hawaii (HI)35% VLT35% VLT / No limit35% VLT / No limit70% on whole windshieldNon-reflectiveNone
Idaho (ID)35% VLT20% VLT / No limit35% VLT / No limitDown to AS1 markingNo more than 35%None
Illinois (IL)35% VLT35% VLT / No limit35% VLT / No limit6" ShadeNon-reflectiveNone
Indiana (IN)30% VLT30% VLT / No limit30% VLT / No limitDown to AS1 markingNo more than 25%None
Iowa (IA)70% VLTNo limitNo limitDown to AS1 markingNon-reflectiveRed
Kansas (KS)35% VLT35% VLT35% VLTDown to AS1 markingNon-reflectiveRed
Kentucky (KY)35%18%/ No limit 8" from top18% / No limit 8" from topDown to AS1 markingNo more than 25%None
Louisiana (LA)40%25% VLT / No limit12% VLT / No limitDown to AS1 markingNo more than 20%None
Maine (ME)35%35% VLT / No limit35% VLT / No limit4" ShadeNon-reflectiveNone
Maryland (MD)35% VLT35% VLT / No limit35% VLT / No limit4" ShadeNon-reflectiveRed
Massachusetts (MA)28% VLT28% VLT28% VLTDown to AS1 markingNo more than 35%None
Michigan (MI)Only top 4" and no limit to tintNo limitNo limit4" ShadeNo more than 25%None
Minnesota (MN)50% VLT50% VLT / No limit50% VLT / No limitNo permittedNo more than 20%None
Mississippi (MS)28% VLT28% VLT / No limit28% VLT / No limitDown to AS1 markingNo more than 20%None
Missouri (MO)35% VLTNo limitNo limitDown to AS1 markingNo more than 35%None
Montana (MT)24% VLT14% VLT / No limit14% VLT / No limitDown to AS1 markingNo more than 35%None
Nebraska (NE)35% VLT20% VLT / 35% VLT20% VLT / 35% VLT5" ShadeNo more than 35%None
Nevada (NV)35% VLTNo limitNo limitDown to AS1 markingNoneNone
New Hampshire (NH)Not permitted35% VLT / No limit35% VLT / No limit6" ShadeNon-reflectiveNone
New Jersey (NJ)Not PermittedNo LimitNo LimitNot PermittedNon-reflectiveNone
New Mexico (NM)20% VLT20% VLT / No limit20% VLT / No limit5" ShadeNo LimitNone
New York (NY)70% VLT70% VLT / No limitNo Limit6" ShadeNon-reflectiveNone
North Carolina (NC)35% VLT35% VLT / No limit35% VLT / No limitDown to AS1 markingNo more than 20%Red
North Dakota (ND)50% VLTNo limitNo limit70% VLT applied to whole windshieldNon-reflectiveNone
Ohio (OH)50% VLTNo limitNo limit70% VLT applied to whole windhshieldNon-reflectiveNone
Oklahoma (OK)25% VLT25% VLT / No limit25% VLT / No limit5" ShadeNo more than 25%None
Oregon (OR)35% VLT35% VLT / No limit35% VLT / No limit6" ShadeNo more than 13%Red, Green, Amber
Pennsylvania (PA)70% VLT70% VLT / No limit70% VLT / No limitNot permittedNon-reflectiveNone
Rhode Island (RI)70%70% / No limit70% / No limitDown to AS1 markingNo limitNone
South Carolina (SC)27% VLT27% VLT / No limit27% VLT / No limitDown to AS1 MarkingNon-reflectiveRed
South Dakota (SD)35% VLT20% VLT / No limit20% VLT / No limitDown to AS1 markingNon-reflectiveNone
Tennessee (TN)35% VLT35% VLT35% VLTDown to AS1 markingNon-reflectiveNone
Texas (TX)25% VLTNo limitNo limit5" Shade or Down to AS1 markingNo more than 25%Red
Utah (UT)43% VLTNo limitNo limitDown to AS1 markingNon-reflectiveNone
Vermont (VT)Not permittedNo limitNo limitDown to AS1 markingNon-reflectiveNone
Virginia (VA)50% VLT35% VLT / No limit35% VLT / No limitDown to AS1 markingNo more than 20%Red
Washington (WA)24% VLT24% VLT / No limit24% VLT / No limit6" ShadeNo more than 35%Red
West Virginia (WV)35% VLT35% VLT / No limit35% VLT / No limit5' ShadeNo more than 20%Red
Wisconsin (WI)50% VLT35% VLT35% VLTDown to AS1 markingNo limitNone
Wyoming (WY)28%28% / No limit28% / No limit5" Shade or Down to AS1 markingNo more than 20%None

I have tested a lot of window tint films and found some really good that are worth your money. Do you want to find my top pick? Here is my review.

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.

Window tint laws by State Chart + Mystery of VLT: Solved! (4)
Window tint laws by State Chart + Mystery of VLT: Solved! (5)
(Video) Window Tinting | How to find what tint percentage is Legal in your state.

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.

(Video) What Do Tint Percentages Mean? | Window Tint Basics (VLT)

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.

(Video) Window Tint: Things to Know When Picking Up Your Car

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.

(Video) California Cop Drags 20-Year-Old Woman Out of Car by Her Hair

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.

Window tint laws by State Chart + Mystery of VLT: Solved! (6)

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.

(Video) Window Tint in a CAN?!? *Spray Painting Car Windows*

FAQs

Which state has the strictest tint laws? ›

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%.

Is 35% VLT legal in NY? ›

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.

Is 20 VLT legal in California? ›

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.

What is the most darkest legal tint? ›

The combination of the 77% transmission window and 43% transmission film results in a darkest legal tint of 35%.

Can you have 20 tint in Georgia? ›

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.

Is ceramic tint legal in Florida? ›

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 is a tint ticket in NY 2022? ›

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.

How do you get around the tint law in NY? ›

Here are the reasons or ways that you can get around the law and get an exemption, keep in mind, these are all listed as medical reasons and you will need a form signed by your doctor.
...
What are the 3 ways that you can 'get around' the NYS Window Tint law?
  1. Porphyria.
  2. Xeroderma pigmentosum.
  3. Severe Drug Photosensitivity.
15 Feb 2022

How do I get tint exemption in NY? ›

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.

Is 70 percent tint dark? ›

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.

What percentage of tint is legal? ›

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.

What is the highest legal tint in California? ›

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.

What is limo tint percentage? ›

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.

Are chameleon tints legal? ›

Chameleon tint is also legal to have on the front windscreen in most vehicles as it lets in more than 75% of the light.

How much does it cost to tint a 4 door car? ›

Window tints are not prohibitively expensive, even for higher end brands. Average prices range from $100 – $400 to tint your whole car.

What is the darkest legal tint in Texas? ›

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.

What tint is illegal in Tennessee? ›

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.

Is 5 tint legal in Michigan? ›

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.

What is illegal tint in Kentucky? ›

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.

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