Features

Legal Window Tint Percentages and How They Work

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Window tinting is a great way to spruce up your new or used car. Some car owners prefer windows with tint because of the following reasons:

  • Enhances your vehicle’s aesthetics
  • Adds more privacy
  • Helps manage the temperature in your cabin
  • Provides protection against harmful UV rays
  • Helps maintain uncompromised vision by preventing glare from sunlight

It’s common for cars to already have very light window tint coming out of the factory. The windows may look clear, but they usually don’t let all of the light through. Anyway, you can easily get window tint installed by consulting any window tinting professional. If you’d like to tint your windows yourself, DIY window tinting kits are also available. Either way, you’ll need to understand how window tint percentages work to make sure you keep your car’s window tint within legal limits, according to your state’s regulations.

car window with tint
Window tint is regulated by law for various road safety reasons.

How Does Tint Percentage Work?

Your window tint is measured by the percentage of light that can pass through it, which is called visible light transmission (VLT). If the percentage is higher, it means more light is visible through the tint, which appears lighter. Lower VLT percentages appear darker because less light is able to pass through the tint.

It’s possible to tint your windows from 5% to 90%. However, window tint is regulated by law for various road safety reasons. You can get pulled over and fined if your window tint doesn’t comply with state regulations.

How to Calculate Window Tint Percentage

Whether you plan on getting your car professionally tinted or doing it yourself, you’ll need to understand how window tint percentage is calculated to make sure you don’t go beyond your state’s window tint limits. If your car’s windows are clear, it’s easy to determine. However, your vehicle may already have an existing window tint. If so, you’ll need to calculate the output VLT percentage by multiplying the percentages of both existing tint and the additional tint you’ll be installing.

For example, your window has an existing VLT of 80% and you’d like to make it darker by installing a window tint film with 50% VLT. The calculation to get the combined VLT percentage is: 80% X 50% = 40% VLT. This means you’ll end up with a 40% VLT tint after installing your film. It’s best you calculate accordingly even before purchasing window tint film to make sure you stay within state legal window tint levels.

How Dark Should You Tint Your Car Windows?

Legal window tint percentages may vary depending on the state you live in. Some states allow a wide range in terms of how dark your window tint can be, but it’s best to not push it too far and keep it within your comfort level. Dark window tint can compromise your vision in low-light conditions, so you shouldn’t make your tint too dark so that you can avoid accidents.

What Is The Darkest Window Tint That’s Legal?

Most states allow up to 50% VLT for the driver’s and passenger’s front windows. For the rear passenger and side windows as well as the back window, the most common limit is 35% VLT. You can go darker depending on the indicated window tint limits of the state where you live.

dark window tint of a car
Most states allow up to 50% VLT for the driver’s and passenger’s front windows.

Legal Window Tint Levels According to State

Window Tint Terms and Definitions

  • Tint darkness is presented by visible light transmission (VLT) percentage.
  • Front side windows are the driver’s and passenger’s adjustable windows at the front.
  • Rear side windows are the rest of the side windows, including the rear-seat passenger windows.
  • A shade band is a rectangular band of window tint film located at the top of the windshield which extends downwards.
  • The AS1 line is a marking around the upper corner sides of the windshield left by its glass manufacturer.
  • Tint reflection refers to the window tint’s reflective or metallic feature.
  • VLT percentages parted by a slash (/) means that the first value is for cars and the next number is for SUVs or vans.
State Front Side Windows Rear Side Windows Back Window Windshield Shade Band Height Reflectivity
Alabama 32% 32% / No limit 32% / No limit 6 in. Up to 20% reflective
Alaska 70% / No limit 40% / No limit 40% / No limit 5 in. Non-reflective
Arizona 33% No limit No limit Until AS1 line Up to 35% reflective
Arkansas 25% 25% / 10% 10% 5 in. Non-reflective

California

70% No limit No limit 4 in. Non-reflective
Colorado 27% 27% 27% 4 in. Non-reflective
Connecticut 35% 35% / No limit No limit Non-reflective tint above the AS1 line Front windows up to 21% reflective / Rear windows up to 27% reflective
Delaware 70% No limit No limit Until AS1 line Non-reflective
Florida 28% 15% 15% Non-reflective tint until AS1 line Up to 25% reflective
Georgia 32% 32% / No limit 32% / No limit 6 in. Up to 20% reflective
Hawaii 35% 35% / No limit 35% / No limit no inch limit, tint must be 70% Non-reflective
Idaho 35% 20% / No limit 35% / No limit Until AS1 line Up to 35% reflective
Illinois 35% 35% / No limit 35% / No limit 6 in. Non-reflective
Indiana 30% 30% / No limit 30% / No limit Until AS1 line Up to 25% reflective
Iowa 70% No limit No limit Until AS1 line Non-reflective
Kansas 35% 35% 35% Until AS1 line Non-reflective
Kentucky 35% 18% / No limit, 8 in. from top 18% / No limit, 8 in. from top Until AS1 line Up to 25% reflective
Louisiana 40% 25% / No limit 12% / No limit Until AS1 line Up to 20% reflective
Maine 35% 35% / No limit 35% / No limit 4 in. Must be Non-reflective
Maryland 35% 35% / No limit 35% / No limit 5 in. No limit
Massachusetts 35% 35% 35% 6 in. or until AS1 line Up to 35% reflective
Michigan 4 in. from top only, No limit No limit No limit 4 in. Up to 35% reflective
Minnesota 50% 50% / No limit 50% / No limit No shade band Up to 20% reflective
Mississippi 28% 28% / No limit 28% / No limit Until AS1 line Up to 20% reflective
Missouri 35% No limit No limit Until AS1 line Up to 35% reflective
Montana 24% 14% / No limit 14% / No limit Until AS1 line Up to 35% reflective
Nebraska 35% 20% / 35% 20% / 35% 5 in. or until AS1 line, whichever comes first Up to 35% reflective
Nevada 35% No limit No limit Until AS1 line No limit
New Hampshire no tint 35% / No limit 35% / No limit 6 in. Non-reflective
New Jersey no tint No limit No limit no tint Non-reflective
New Mexico 20% 20% / No limit 20% / No limit 5 in. or AS1 line, whichever comes first No limit
New York 70% 70% / No limit No limit 6 in. Non-reflective
North Carolina 35% 35% / No limit 35% / No limit Until AS1 line Up to 20% reflective
North Dakota 50% No limit No limit Up to 70% to whole windshield Non-reflective
Ohio 50% No limit No limit Up to 70% to whole windshield No more reflective than a standard window
Oklahoma 25% 25% / No limit 25% / No limit 5 in. or until AS1 line, whichever comes first Up to 20% reflective
Oregon 35% 35% / No limit 35% / No limit 6 in. Up to 13% reflective
Pennsylvania 70% 70% / No limit 70% / No limit No tint Non-reflective
Rhode Island 70% 70% / No limit 70% / No limit Until AS1 line No limit
South Carolina 27% 27% / No limit 27% / No limit Until AS1 line Must be Non-reflective
South Dakota 35% 20% / No limit 20% / No limit Until AS1 line Non-reflective
Tennessee 35% 35% 35% Until AS1 line Non-reflective
Texas 25%  No limit No limit 5 in. or until AS1 line, whichever comes first Up to 25% reflective
Utah 43% No limit No limit Until AS1 line Non-reflective
Vermont no tint No limit No limit Until AS1 line Non-reflective
Virginia 50% 35% / No limit 35% / No limit Until AS1 line Up to 20% reflective
Washington 24% 24% / No limit 24% / No limit 6 in. Up to 35% reflective
Washington, D.C. 70% 50% / 35% 50% / 35% 5 in. or Until AS1 line No limit
West Virginia 35% 35% / No limit 35% / No limit 5 in. 20% reflective
Wisconsin 50% 35% 35% Until AS1 line No limit
Wyoming 28% 28% / No limit 28% / No limit 5 in. or Until AS1 line Up to 20% reflective
installing tint on a car window by a professional
You can easily get window tint installed by a window tinting professional.

Car Window Tinting Advice Based on Window Tint Legal Limits

Check your local window tinting laws before adding tint to your windows. When in doubt, you can simply let professionals handle calculations and installation. They have experience dealing with legal window tint levels, which gives you the reassurance that your car upgrade isn’t breaking any state laws and regulations.

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