Iowa Window Tinting Laws: Understanding the Standards

Discover everything you need to know about window tinting laws in Iowa. Whether you’re a car owner or simply interested in understanding the regulations, this comprehensive guide will provide you with essential information on tint darkness, light transmittance, reflections, and more. Stay informed and ensure compliance with Iowa’s window tinting standards.

iowa window tinting laws
iowa window tinting laws

Iowa Window Tinting Standards

To maintain transparency and safety on the roads, Iowa has established specific standards for window tinting. Let’s explore the key regulations:

Light Transmittance Requirements

  • Front Windshield: Your front windshield must allow at least 70% light transmittance. This means that 70% of visible light should pass through the window.
  • Front-Side Windows: Similar to the front windshield, the front-side windows must also have a minimum light transmittance of 70%.
  • Back Seat Side Windows: You have the freedom to use any tint darkness for the back seat side windows.
  • Rear Window: The same applies to the rear window, where any tint darkness can be used.

It’s important to note that Iowa law strictly prohibits the operation of a motor vehicle with front windshield or front-side windows that don’t meet the 70% light transmittance requirement.

Medical Exceptions

Previously, medical exemptions were allowed for reduced transparency. However, under the current Iowa law, medical exceptions can no longer be approved. Any medical exemptions granted before July 4, 2012, may still apply to operators or passengers of motor vehicles, provided the appropriate documentation is carried in the vehicle.

For further information or clarification, please contact the Motor Vehicle Division Central Programs at [email protected].

Understanding Window Tint Darkness

The darkness of window tint is measured by Visible Light Transmission (VLT), which indicates the percentage of visible light allowed through the film and glass. Let’s explore the tint darkness requirements for different vehicle types:

Tint Darkness for Sedans

WindowTint Darkness Requirement
WindshieldMust allow more than 70% light
Front SideMust allow more than 70% light
Back SideAny darkness can be used
Rear WindowAny darkness can be used

Tint Darkness for SUVs and Vans

WindowTint Darkness Requirement
WindshieldMust allow more than 70% light
Front SideMust allow more than 70% light
Back SideAny darkness can be used
Rear WindowAny darkness can be used

Window Tint Reflection

Window tinting not only reduces heat and glare but can also reflect incoming light. Here’s what you need to know about window tint reflection in Iowa:

Sedans: The law does not specify a maximum level of reflectiveness for the front and back side windows.

SUVs and Vans: Similar to sedans, there are no specific restrictions on excessive reflectiveness for front and back side windows.

Additional Iowa Window Tinting Rules and Regulations

In addition to the aforementioned standards, there are several other important rules and regulations pertaining to window tinting in Iowa. Let’s take a look at them:

  • Side Mirrors: Iowa does not impose any restrictions on side mirrors in relation to window tinting.
  • Restricted Colors: There are no explicit prohibitions on the colors of tint that can be used in Iowa. You have the flexibility to choose the tint color that suits your preference.
  • Certificates: Manufacturers of window tint film are not required to certify the film they sell within the state of Iowa.
  • Stickers: Unlike some other states, Iowa does not require a sticker to identify legal tinting. However, it’s always recommended to comply with the tint darkness and light transmittance requirements.
  • Medical Exceptions: Since July 2012, Iowa no longer permits darker window tinting due to medical exemptions.

Ensuring Compliance and Staying Informed

While we’ve provided a comprehensive overview of Iowa’s window tinting laws, it’s essential to keep in mind that interpretations may vary in different counties or places of residence. To ensure compliance and stay updated with the latest information, we recommend double-checking the details with your local DMV or law enforcement authorities.

Remember, understanding and adhering to Iowa’s window tinting laws will not only help you avoid legal consequences, but also contribute to safer road conditions. Stay informed, comply with the regulations, and enjoy the benefits of window tinting within the specified guidelines.

Please note that the information provided in this article is based on the most recent update in 2023. If you come across any outdated or incorrect information, kindly reach out to us so that we can rectify it promptly. Your safety and satisfaction are our priorities.


Iowa Department of Transportation – Window Tinting Standards(.pdf file)


What is the darkest legal tint in Iowa?

The darkest legal tint in Iowa varies depending on the window. For the front windshield and front-side windows, the tint must allow at least 70% of light to pass through. However, there are no specific darkness restrictions for the back seat side windows or the rear window, meaning you can use any tint darkness.

Can you get pulled over for tint in Iowa?

Yes, you can get pulled over for tint in Iowa if your windows do not meet the state’s window tinting standards. The law requires the front windshield and front-side windows to have a minimum light transmittance of 70%. If your tint is too dark and does not allow enough light to pass through, law enforcement officers may pull you over and issue a citation or ticket.

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