Car Window Tint - What's Legal in Your State

Whether you do car window tint yourself or hire the work out, you need to know laws in your state governing the amount of light the tinting allows in and the visibility both for the driver and for those looking in the car. The following information describes the basics of car window tint, general tenants of laws that affect it and how to find laws in your state.

Understanding Window Tinting

Though most commonly associated with light-reducing film applied to the windshields and side windows of a vehicle, car window tint is considered by law as anything that reduces the flow of light into and out of your car.

Most safety glass that comes with new cars is tinted already to filter ultra-violet rays. But many car owners want additional car window tint for their vehicle for comfort, aesthetic or medical reasons.

For a new car sold legally in the United States, the driver can expect the factory car window tint to be in compliance with state laws. The after-market car window tint - often installed by firms specializing in the procedure and often done by individuals - creates a greater chance that laws might be violated.

Understanding Laws of Window Tinting

As after-market car window tint has grown in popularity, most states have enacted laws to regulate it based on the need for drivers to have a given visibility level and the need for law enforcement officials to see inside vehicles. Typically, the car window tint laws are in the vehicle and traffic regulations under the jurisdiction of the state department of transportation or public safety. The rules cover heat-shrinking car window tint - the most common form - but also include temporary light-blocking devices such as shades.

The laws generally regulate what is termed the luminous reflectance and the light transmittance allowed by the car window tint application. These figures will be expressed in the form of a percentage variance from 100 percent, which means no tinting of any kind.

In addition, depending on your state, the laws will regulate where on the car window tint may be applied and the color of the tint allowed.

Knowing Your Laws

Car window tint laws vary by state. The best place to start for your car window tint laws is the state department of transportation or public safety which will list allowable light transmittance and luminous reflectance limits. These allowable limits often are listed online.

There also are several web sites that have a list of links, by state name, to each state’s regulations on car window tint.

Being in Compliance

You can head off car window tint problems before they start by choosing a reputable after-market car window tint firm that guarantees its work to be in compliance with state regulations.

For the do-it-yourself car window tint application, know your state regs before buying any product. Ensure your produce meets the minimum or maximum light and visibility levels and apply the car window tint where legal to do so.

Checking Your Tint

If you have car window tint that may be out of compliance or are considering purchasing an already-tinted car, have the tinting checked out by a vehicle inspection station or a reputable after-marketing tinting firm. There often is no cost for the service, but a small fee is worth it if it means heading off the cost of a ticket and retinting for car window tint that is out of compliance.