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Car Window Tinting- Stay on the Right Side of the Law

Car Window Tinting: Stay on the Right Side of the Law

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There’s no denying that window tinting is useful for many people. Not only does it keep the inside of your car cooler and reduce glare, but it also adds to the look of your vehicle and can even increase the resale value. But most states have regulations that govern the amount of tint you’re allowed to have, and it’s wise to pay attention. If not, you’ll likely start piling up the annoying (and sometimes costly, depending on the state) tickets. Here’s a guide to staying on the right side of the law when it comes to window tinting.

General Guidelines

It’s always a good idea to check your state’s laws before you have window tint applied. Do this even if you’ve checked before, because laws and the specific requirements change frequently. Don’t go by what a garage is willing to do—you can always find unscrupulous people who are willing to bend or break laws to make a buck.

There are often different limits that apply to front and back windows. Keep in mind that you may be able to tint the back windows quite a bit, even if you aren’t able to get the front ones as dark as you would like. This will still help reduce the amount of light and heat that gets into your car overall.

State-Specific Laws

You’ll find wide variations in the vehicle tinting laws for each state. Current laws for front windows range from allowing 20% tint (which means it lets in only 20% of visible light) all the way to allowing no tint at all on front windows. Back windows are more lenient for nearly every state—some allow any level of tint, while others specify a limit like 20%, 35%, or 50%.

In general, you’ll find that sunny southern states allow for darker tint, but there are exceptions. California is a big one—only 70% tint is legal there, which is generally what a new car gets at the factory, so most aftermarket tint is illegal in this state.

You can usually look up the specific tint laws for your state on its DMV or BMV website. Try this site for a general overview of the laws for each state.

Legal Exceptions

Most states have specific situations where a greater level of tint than the state law is acceptable, such as vision problems or conditions that may be made worse by the sun. If the driver has a medical condition like photosensitivity, melanoma, or lupus, they may be covered under these exceptions. The official DMV or BMV website for your state is the best place to find a complete list of these exceptions.

See also: 

Guide to Window Tint Percentages

Types of Car Window Tint

Health Benefits of Window Tinting

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