Window tinting is an incredibly desirable vehicle modification that is only growing in popularity over recent years. It is one of the most favorable aftermarket modifications that you can do to your car, truck or vehicle, and can really improve your driving experience.
For instance, many people decide to tint their windows because of the aesthetic appeal and value that it brings to their vehicles. But there are more positives to having tinted windows than you may realize. For example, tinted windows can also help to prevent glare from the sun, and from other vehicle’s headlights, which can make for much safer driving.
In addition, tinted windows can give you more privacy, whilst also helping to regulate heat inside the vehicle as there is much less UV exposure, and sunlight warming up the car on a hot day. Whatever your reasoning is for wanting tinted windows, you will need to know the rules and regulations to this modification.
Tinted windows are great for improving your comfort when driving, but there are laws around how dark the windows can be, and what percentage of tint is allowed. This window tint percentage is gauged by how much visible light is transmitted through the window.
The higher the percentage, the more light that is coming through, and the more visibility the window has. On the other hand, the lower the percentage, the less light that is transmitted. So, how dark are you allowed to tint your windows?
How Dark Are You Allowed To Tint Your Windows?
How dark you are permitted to tint your windows depends on your location, as every state has different laws and regulations around the percentage of window tint. That being said, for the most part, the common percentage is limited to 50% for the driver’s front and passenger windows, and 35% for the rear passenger windows and the back window.
What this typically means is that the front windows have to allow more light in, whereas the back windows can allow less light in legally. However, when you actually look at the windows, the difference between 35% and 50% is actually minor. Also, front windshield windows are further regulated, and with a ‘shade band’ that extends down from the top of the windshield. This means that the whole window cannot be tinted, only a small part of it can be.
What Are The Rules On Tinted Windows?
The specific rules on tinted windows vary from state to state, so you have to be aware of the local laws wherever you are traveling. For instance, in Alabama, the rules are that the front side windows, back window and the rear side windows cannot be less than 32%, with the windshield at a 6” shade band.
In other states, such as California, you are only permitted to tint the front side windows to 70%, have the windshield shade band at 4”, yet there is no limit on the rear side windows and back windows. If you are unsure about your state, check out our State Window Tint Law pages to find out what your limits are!
The reason that tinted windows are so regulated is because the more tinted they are, the less visibility you have as the driver, which can pose a risk to yourself and to other road users. This risk is even more magnified if you are driving at night or in dark conditions.
In addition, law enforcement need to be able to visibly see occupants of a vehicle during a traffic stop for their own safety, as windows that are too dark will hide occupants that could potentially pose a danger to the law enforcement officer. If window tint regulations are not met or adhered to, then you can be pulled over by police, and ticketed for windows that are too dark. This may include a fine, and the obligation to change your window tints in accordance with the law, or remove them immediately.
Tint Darkness Percentages
There are many options when it comes to window tint percentages. For instance, you can have 10%, 20%, 30%, 40%, 50%, 60%, 70%, 80% and 90% window tints. Each percentage will allow more or less visible light into the vehicle. Whilst you can purchase tints with 35%, 45% and other percentages, you have to use them in accordance with the law, unless you want a traffic stop and a ticket.
As these percentages go higher, the more light there is able to come through. Therefore, if you go any lower than 50%, your visibility is greatly reduced and limited, which can be dangerous on the road. This is why the majority of states require a window tint percentage of 50% or higher for the front windows, and a small shade band on the windshield, as this gives the driver optimal visibility, whilst also reducing glare.