Window Tinting Laws in California, A Complete Guide

If you own a car in California and are considering getting your windows tinted, it’s crucial to be aware of the state’s window tinting laws. Window tinting can offer various benefits, such as reducing glare, heat, and UV radiation, but it must comply with the regulations set forth by the state. In this article, we’ll provide you with all the essential information you need to know about window tinting laws in California.

What is Window Tint Darkness in California?

The darkness of window tint is measured by Visible Light Transmission (VLT), which refers to the percentage of visible light allowed to pass through the tinted windows. California has specific VLT requirements for different types of vehicles.

Window Tinting Laws in California
Window Tinting Laws in California

Tint Darkness for Sedans

Windshield: Non-reflective tint is allowed on the top 4 inches of the windshield.
Front Side Windows: Aftermarket film must allow more than 88% of light in, or a minimum of 70% VLT if combined with factory-tinted windows.
Back Side Windows: Any level of darkness can be used.
Rear Window: Any level of darkness can be used.

Tint Darkness for SUVs and Vans

Windshield: Non-reflective tint is allowed on the top 4 inches of the windshield.
Front Side Windows: Aftermarket film must allow more than 88% of light in, or a minimum of 70% VLT if combined with factory-tinted windows.
Back Side Windows: Any level of darkness can be used.
Rear Window: Any level of darkness can be used.

Window Tint Reflection in California

Window tint can reflect incoming light, reducing glare and heat inside the vehicle. However, California has specific regulations regarding the level of window tint reflection allowed.

Tint Reflection for Sedans, SUVs, and Vans

  • Front Side Windows: The tint must not be more reflective than a standard window.
  • Back Side Windows: The tint must not be more reflective than a standard window.

Other California Window Tint Rules and Regulations

In addition to tint darkness and reflection, California has several other important laws and regulations related to window tinting that you should be aware of:

  • Side Mirrors: If the rear window is tinted, dual side mirrors are required.
  • Restricted Colors: California does not permit the use of red, amber, or blue tint colors on side windows; they must be colorless.
  • Certificates: Manufacturers of window tint film must certify the film they sell in the state, and the driver is required to have the certificate in their possession.
  • Stickers: State law requires a certificate or a sticker from the installing company, including the manufacturer’s name and address.
  • Medical Exceptions: California law allows medical exemptions for lower tint on all windows, but proper documentation must be provided.

Key Takeaway

When it comes to window tinting laws in California, it’s essential to adhere to the specific regulations to avoid potential legal issues. For sedans, the top 4 inches of the windshield can have non-reflective tint, while front side windows must allow more than 88% of light in or have a minimum of 70% VLT when combined with factory-tinted windows. Back side windows and rear windows can have any level of darkness.

For SUVs and vans, the rules are similar, with non-reflective tint allowed on the top 4 inches of the windshield, and front side windows requiring more than 88% VLT or a minimum of 70% VLT with factory-tinted windows. Again, back side windows and rear windows can have any darkness.

Additionally, California prohibits the use of red, amber, or blue tint colors on side windows, and dual side mirrors are required if the rear window is tinted. By understanding and following these laws, you can ensure a safe and legal window tint installation for your vehicle in California. Always double-check with your local DMV or law enforcement authorities to ensure compliance with any changes or interpretations of the law.

FAQs on window tinting california law

What is the darkest legal tint in California?

The darkest legal tint in California varies depending on the type of vehicle. For sedans, the front side windows must allow more than 88% of light in, or have a minimum of 70% VLT if combined with factory-tinted windows. However, there are no restrictions on the darkness for back side windows and the rear window.

Are 20% tint in front legal in California?

No, 20% tint in front is not legal in California for sedans. The front side windows must allow more than 88% of light in, which means they must be lighter than 20% tint.

Can I get away with 35% tint in California?

Yes, you can have 35% tint on the back side windows and the rear window in California. However, for the front side windows of sedans, the tint must allow more than 88% of light in, so 35% tint is not allowed for the front.

Can I have 15% tint in California?

No, 15% tint is not legal for the front side windows of sedans in California. The tint on the front side windows must allow more than 88% of light in.

Is 30% tint legal in California?

Yes, 30% tint is legal for the back side windows and the rear window in California. However, for the front side windows of sedans, the tint must allow more than 88% of light in, so 30% tint is not allowed for the front.

Is 5% tint legal in California?

No, 5% tint is not legal for any windows in California. The front side windows of sedans must allow more than 88% of light in, and there are no restrictions on darkness for back side windows and the rear window.

Is ceramic tint legal in California?

Yes, ceramic tint is legal in California as long as it complies with the VLT requirements. The front side windows of sedans must allow more than 88% of light in, and there are no restrictions on darkness for back side windows and the rear window, so ceramic tint can be used within these guidelines.

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