Is Colored Window Tint Legal? Laws & Regulations Explained

is colored window tint legal

Are you considering getting colored window tint for your vehicle? Maybe you’ve seen cars with sleek, tinted windows and wondered if it’s legal to have colored tints on your own ride. The legality of colored window tint varies depending on your location and the specific laws and regulations in place. No, In this complete guide, we’ll explore the ins and outs of colored window tint laws, addressing common questions and concerns to help you make an informed decision.

Understanding Window Tint Laws and Regulations

Window tinting laws and regulations are in place to ensure the safety of drivers, passengers, and others on the road. These laws typically focus on maintaining proper visibility and preventing potential hazards caused by excessive window tinting.

The rules and regulations surrounding window tints often differ based on the location of the tinted windows. For example, there may be separate guidelines for front windshields, front side windows, rear side windows, and rear windows.

One of the most crucial factors in determining the legality of window tints is the concept of Visible Light Transmission (VLT) percentages.

Visible Light Transmission (VLT) and Tint Darkness Levels

Visible Light Transmission (VLT) refers to the percentage of visible light that can pass through a tinted window. The lower the VLT percentage, the darker the tint.

Common VLT levels and their corresponding tint darkness include:

  • 5% VLT: Often referred to as a “limo tint,” this is the darkest tint available, blocking 95% of visible light.
  • 20% VLT: A very dark tint, allowing only 20% of visible light to pass through.
  • 35% VLT: A popular tint choice, providing a balance between privacy and visibility.
  • 50% VLT: A moderate tint level, often considered the maximum legal limit in many states.
  • 70% VLT: A light tint, allowing 70% of visible light to pass through.

It’s essential to note that different states have varying VLT limits for different window locations, such as front side windows, rear side windows, and rear windows. Understanding and adhering to these state-specific regulations is crucial to avoid potential fines or penalties.

Legality of Colored Window Tints by State

legality of colored window tints by state

The legality of colored window tints can vary significantly from state to state. Some states have strict regulations prohibiting certain colors, while others may allow colored tints with specific limitations or exceptions.

States Where Colored Tints Are Legal (With Exceptions)

In some states, colored window tints are generally legal, but there may be exceptions or specific guidelines to follow. Here are a few examples:

  • Illinois: While Illinois does not have legal limits on colored tint application, there are restrictions on VLT percentages for different window locations.
  • Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania allows any color of tint to be used, as long as the VLT requirements are met for each window location.
  • North Carolina: Colored tints are permitted in North Carolina, but certain colors like red, amber, and yellow are prohibited.

It’s important to research the specific laws and regulations in your state, as well as any potential exceptions or special cases that may apply to your situation.

States Where Colored Tints Are Illegal (With Exceptions)

In contrast, some states have outright bans or strict limitations on the use of colored window tints. Here are a few examples:

  • California: California prohibits the use of red, blue, or amber tinted windows, and side windows must be colorless.
  • Texas: In Texas, red, amber, and blue tints are illegal for window tinting.
  • Georgia: Colored tints like red and amber are not permitted in Georgia.

Even in states where colored tints are generally illegal, there may be exceptions made for medical reasons or specific vehicle types. It’s crucial to thoroughly research your state’s laws and regulations to ensure compliance.

Restricted Colors and Their Reasons

Certain colors, such as red, blue, and amber/yellow, are commonly restricted or prohibited for window tinting in many states. These restrictions are often in place for safety reasons or to prevent potential confusion with emergency vehicles.

Red Window Tint Restrictions

Red window tints are frequently restricted due to concerns that they may resemble the lights of emergency vehicles, potentially causing confusion or putting other drivers at risk. Additionally, red tints may impair visibility or distort the perception of traffic signals and brake lights.

Many states, including California, Texas, and Georgia, have specific laws prohibiting the use of red window tints for these reasons.

Blue Window Tint Restrictions

Blue window tints are also commonly restricted due to potential visibility issues and concerns about resembling the lights of emergency vehicles. Some states, like California, have outright bans on blue window tints for these reasons.

Amber/Yellow Window Tint Restrictions

Amber or yellow window tints are sometimes restricted due to their potential resemblance to emergency vehicle lights or warning signals. These colors may also impair visibility or distort the perception of traffic signals and other important visual cues on the road.

States like North Carolina and Arkansas have specific laws prohibiting the use of amber or yellow window tints.

It’s crucial to research and understand the specific restrictions on colored window tints in your state, as well as the reasoning behind these regulations, to ensure compliance and maintain safe driving conditions.

Other Considerations for Window Tinting

In addition to the legality of colored window tints and VLT requirements, there are several other factors to consider when tinting your vehicle’s windows.

Reflectivity Regulations

Some states have regulations regarding the maximum reflectivity levels allowed for window tints. Reflective tints can potentially cause glare or impair visibility for other drivers, which is why these regulations are in place.

For example, in Illinois, tints should not increase reflectivity for the front and back windows, while in Alabama, no more than 20% reflective window tint is permitted.

Dual Side Mirrors and Rear Window Tinting

Many states require vehicles with tinted rear windows to be equipped with dual side mirrors. This is to ensure proper rear visibility, as tinted rear windows can obstruct the driver’s view.

For instance, in California, dual side mirrors are required if the rear window is tinted, while in Pennsylvania, dual side mirrors are mandatory if the vehicle’s back window is tinted.

Tint Certification and Sticker Requirements

In certain states, manufacturers of window tinting films are required to certify the films they sell, and drivers may be required to have a certification sticker or label in their possession.

For example, in West Virginia, tint shops can only work with certified films, while in Illinois, no such certification requirement exists for manufacturers.

It’s important to research and comply with any certification or sticker requirements in your state to avoid potential fines or penalties.

Consequences of Illegal Window Tinting

Failing to comply with window tinting laws and regulations can result in various consequences, ranging from fines and penalties to safety concerns and visibility issues.

Fines and Penalties

Most states have specific fines and penalties in place for violating window tinting laws. These fines can vary in amount and may escalate for repeat offenses.

For instance, in Texas, courts can levy fines of up to $1,000 for window tinting violations, while in California, you may face a $25 fine and be ordered to remove any illegal window tinting.

Safety Concerns and Visibility Issues

Illegal or excessive window tinting can pose significant safety risks by reducing visibility for drivers. This increased risk can lead to accidents or collisions, putting the lives of drivers, passengers, and pedestrians at risk.

Real-life incidents and accidents related to illegal window tinting serve as a reminder of the importance of adhering to legal requirements and prioritizing safety on the road.


Understanding the legality of colored window tint is crucial for car owners who wish to enhance their vehicle’s appearance while remaining compliant with state laws and regulations. The laws surrounding window tinting can be complex, varying from state to state and taking into account factors such as tint colors, VLT percentages, window locations, and specific exceptions.

By thoroughly researching and adhering to the window tinting laws in your state, you can enjoy the benefits of tinted windows while avoiding potential fines, penalties, and safety concerns. Remember, it’s always recommended to consult with professionals or authorities for guidance on legal window tinting options in your area.

Ultimately, the decision to tint your vehicle’s windows should strike a balance between personal preferences and legal and safety considerations. By prioritizing compliance and visibility, you can create a safer and more enjoyable driving experience for yourself and others on the road.

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