The first official legislation pertaining to the use of tinted windows in California State was introduced in 1999. If that seems quite recent, it’s because it is. Addressing the issue fairly late in the game, California was the 32nd of all 50 states to form its own laws on automotive window tinting, and this is how they stand currently.
California State Automotive Window Tinting Rules
How Dark Can Window Tint Be in California?
Tint VLT: Windshield: The State of California permits drivers to install up to 4 inches of tinted film on their windshields.
Tint VLT: Front Side Windows: Your front side windows must allow 70% light transmission at the very least.
Tint VLT: Back Side Windows: California permits the use of any shade of tint on the back side windows.
Tint VLT: Rear Window: You can also take your rear window as dark as you like.
How Reflective Can Window Tint Be in California?
Tint Reflection: Front Side Windows: Your front side window tints must be no more reflective than a bare window.
Tint Reflection: Rear Side Windows: It’s more of the same on this count. The tint should have the reflective properties of a normal window.
Other California Automotive Window Tinting Rules and Regulations
Restricted Colors: State law prohibits the use of red, amber, and blue tints.
Side Mirrors: You must pair a back window tint with the installation of dual side mirrors.
Certificate Requirements: Film does not need to be certified by Manufacturers in California.
Stick Requirements: None required for legal tints.
Penalties for Non-Compliance: A “fix-it-ticket” will be given to first-time offenders. Second offenders are fined $25 and ordered to remove the illegal tint. Upon a third violation, you’ll be fined $197 and fined with an infraction.
California Tint Law Reference
Exterior Window VLT Tint
How Much Does Car Window Tinting Cost in California State?
Generally speaking, to get your car windows tinted professionally in California, you can expect to pay out anything between $150 and $500.
Much like anywhere, the exact cost of the tint installation depends on a few variables, the most significant of which is the type of tint you choose. For example, ceramic tints are far more expensive than carbon, metalized, and dye tints. Quotes will also likely differ from fitter to fitter for the same job.
If you’re feeling confident enough to try and DIY tint your windows, you can save money on labor, but quality materials will still cost a pretty penny.
How Does Car Window Tinting Work?
Window tinting consists of applying a tinted film onto the window surface glass. The film is placed on the inside of the window instead of the outside, allowing it to be more protected from the elements.
The window tint film is made from polyester laminate with another layer over the top of it. This extra thin layer is made up of the tinting agent chosen, such as metal, dye, ceramic, or more. This second layer is the one that is responsible for protecting the inside of your car from harmful UV rays and bright light.
What Is The Best DIY 70% Tinting Product?
There are plenty of 70% tinting films on the market, and it can be difficult knowing which is the best for your vehicle. From extensive research, we have found that the best 70% tinting product is the G Greenfilm Static Cling Window Tint 70% Window Film.
Why Is This The Best?
This tinting film only blocks 17% of visible light, which is considerably less than other tinting films on the market. This keeps your car bright and safe while you still benefit from its high-quality UV blocking technology.
The manufactured PVC film is lightweight and able to stick to your window through static instead of glue, making it easy to install. You don’t need to worry about enlisting the help of a professional with this 70% film!
Nanotechnology blocks up to 99.9% of UV rays as well as 85% IR. This film offers an impressive amount of protection to you and other passengers without blocking too much of the natural sunlight.
The manufacturer of this tinting film also offers an installation kit to purchase separately, making it even easier for you to apply to your windows.
How To Apply To Your Car
Applying the G Greenfilm Static Cling Window Tint could not be easier, with the manufacturer only needing three steps to explain it fully. However, you should cut your film before applying it to the windows.
This film comes in seven different sizes, so make sure that you opt for the correct roll of film to sufficiently cover your car windows.
Once you have cut all of the window shapes from your tinting film, it is time to apply the tint to the window.
The first step is to clean the window with a high-quality window cleaner, ensuring that there are no streaks or dust left. Next, spray both the window and film on both sides with the specialized solution.
Apply the film to the window, as straight as possible, to the window. It doesn’t matter which side of the film you use.
Now use a squeegee to remove the solution from under the film, using firm pressure. Make sure that no bubbles are left underneath the film and that it is completely applied to the glass. You will need to leave this to dry for several days.
Pros & Cons Of DIY vs Professional Fitting
For starters, DIY fitting is cheaper and more economical than having it professionally fitted. You also have more of a say of which film to go for depending on your budget if you were to DIY the job yourself.
However, fitting window tints is not easy, and therefore you might be left with poorer results if you were to DIY it rather than using a professional. If you made a mistake, repairing it can also be very expensive. You also won’t get a warranty on the tint like you would if you were to use a professional, so DIYing the job can actually cost you more money in the long run if you were to do a bad job.
Professionals might be more expensive, but they are likely to have much more experience than you. They’ll also have access to more films in terms of technology and colors. You are also more likely to get a warranty on your purchase.
As of September 2017, the State of California stipulates that medical exemption to State automotive tint laws should be given to those whose health will benefit significantly from a darker tint.
You can only apply for exemption to the State tint laws if a physician deems it absolutely necessary. If this is the case, they will supply you with a signed letter stating that legal tints would be detrimental to your health, and the state will respond after a short processing period.
If approved, you must keep the exemption certificate with you in the vehicle at all times.