Window Tint Laws: What You Need to Know About Window Tint Percentages

Desiring tinted windows for your vehicle can stem from various reasons, medical or aesthetic. However, you need to know the suitable window tint percentage to suit your desired preferences while staying within the ambits of applicable state window tint laws.

Understanding this delicate balance can be a challenge for many, as it is surprisingly complicated. You desire a comfortable and trouble-free time behind the steering wheel with the best shade possible during the hot summer days and do this without breaking the law.

Some vehicles come equipped with tinted windows (particularly for rear passengers), so knowing whether or not it is sufficient for your driving and comfort needs requires that you first understand your options. It requires that you first acknowledge the available types and percentages of window tint applicable to your state laws before committing to modify your vehicle.

Here’s what you need to know about tinting windows.

Window Tint Percentages: The Basics

The primary job of a window tint is simple:  To control the degree of visible light transmission (VLT for short) into your vehicle interior.

VLT is graded in percentages meaning that higher VLT percentages allow less visible light transmitted into your vehicle and vice versa.

For example, a VLT of 65% means that only 65% of visible light goes through the tinted window. On the flip side, a VLT of 35% means that 65% of visible light is blocked by the tinted glass, allowing only 35% to pass through.  Therefore a window tint with VLT of 35% will be significantly darker than that with only 65%.

One thing to consider is to understand that most cars do not come with transparent glass.

Most cars come with a VLT of about 80-85%. So this must be considered when calculating the final desired glass tint.

For Example, If you were planning to apply a 10% tint to a window glass that already has an 80% factory tint, you would need to multiply these two values: 80%x10% = 8%. Meaning you would have a slightly darker tinted window than anticipated.

Laws Governing Vehicle Tint

Vehicle window tint laws differ from state to state, so while deciding the best window tint percentage for your car, you might want to consider the laws in your locality.

Sunshine states like Texas and Florida have different window tint rules for sedans, SUVs, and vans.

Sedans in Florida can only apply a minimum of 28% tint on front windows and 15% for rear windows and rear windshield. Anything below this is illegal. SUVs and vans shall have a minimum of 28% tint on front windows and as low as 6% for rear windows and rear windshield.

Interpreting these laws can become complicated in some other states, so it is a good idea to speak with a professional before getting a vehicle window tint.

Violations of these rules could earn you a window tint ticket.

The charge for a window tint ticket is different from state to state and determined by the tint variation from legal tint level. Another determinant of the window tint ticket charge is how long the ‘fix it’ warning or ticket has passed.

Ticket costs could range from $25 for a first warning or ‘fix it’ ticketing to over $200 for a second tint ticket, not including court processing fees, removal verification fees, and other fees.

Exceptions And Exemptions From The Rule

Medical conditions like lupus, albinism, vitiligo, and melanoma require controlled and restricted exposure to sunlight. People diagnosed with such diseases are usually exempt from car window tint laws, as limited exposure to sunlight is a must.

Documentation like a Physician’s Statement of Certification from a certified healthcare professional (usually a dermatologist) is required. It is needed to verify your claim before applying for an exemption.

Your exemption certificate must be in your vehicle at all times in the event it is required for sighting by law enforcement officials.