What Car Tint Is Legal in California

Driving around in California with tinted windows is a common sight. But, do you know if your car’s window tint is legal?

Having the wrong tint can lead to hefty fines and legal trouble. You need to know what car tint is legal in California so you can stay on the right side of the law and not risk your safety or financial stability.

This article will answer all your questions about window tint laws in California, from the darkest legal tints to medical exemptions. We’ll also cover special exceptions for limousines and classic cars.

Read on to learn how to get your vehicle’s windows legally tinted so you can enjoy your ride without any worries!

In California, cars are only allowed to be tinted in shades that allow more than 70% of light to pass through the windows.

Overview of California Car Tint Laws

California has some of the strictest laws when it comes to car tinting. The state requires that all vehicles must have a minimum level of visibility in order to be considered legal. The tint percentage allowed by law varies depending on the type of car and the location.

When it comes to front windshields, no tinting is allowed at all. The front side windows must allow more than 70% of light in. The rear window can have a tint, but must also allow more than 70% of light in. The rear side windows are allowed to be slightly darker, allowing only 25-35% of light in.

It should be noted that there are exceptions to these laws for certain types of vehicles, such as limousines and buses. In addition, some counties may have stricter laws than others when it comes to car tints. It is important for drivers to check with their local law enforcement agency before applying any kind of tints on their cars.

It is also important for drivers to understand that car tints can be beneficial in many ways, such as reducing glare from the sun and providing a certain level of privacy from the outside world. However, it is important for drivers to keep in mind that if they choose to tint their car windows beyond what is legally allowed, they may face legal consequences or fines.

When it comes to installing car tints, drivers must make sure they obtain an official sticker from the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). This sticker serves as proof that the installation was done according to California law and should be kept with the vehicle at all times.

Finally, drivers must understand that it is illegal for them to drive around with excessively dark tints on their cars as this can impair their vision and put themselves and other road users at risk. It is always best for drivers to check with their local law enforcement agency before installing any type of tints on their vehicle.

Types of Tint Allowed in California

When it comes to tinting the windows on your car, there are several types of tint that are allowed in California. Each type of tint has its own benefits and drawbacks and it is important to understand the various types before deciding which one is right for you.

The most common type of tint used in California is the factory-installed window film. This type of tint is applied directly to the glass at the time of manufacture and offers a range of benefits such as UV protection, privacy, and glare reduction. Factory-installed window film typically has a light hue, but can also be available with a darker color if desired. The downside to factory-installed window film is that it can be difficult to remove if you decide you no longer want it.

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Another type of tint commonly used in California is aftermarket window film. This type of tint is applied by a professional after purchase, allowing for more customization and better control over how dark or light the windows will be. Aftermarket window film also offers additional benefits such as heat rejection and improved energy efficiency. The downside to aftermarket film is that it can be more expensive than factory-installed window film.

The final type of tint allowed in California is reflective window film. Reflective window film offers all the same benefits as other types of tints but with an added bonus – it reflects light away from your car, reducing glare from headlights and other sources. While reflective window tints do provide superior protection from UV rays, they also tend to be less aesthetically pleasing than other types due to their highly reflective nature.

No matter which type of tint you choose for your car, make sure you check with your local authorities on any restrictions or regulations that may apply before installation. And remember – no matter how dark or light your windows are, driving safely should always be your top priority!

How Light May Car Window Tint Be in California?

Window tinting is a common practice for vehicle owners and drivers in California, as it helps reduce glare and heat entering the car cabin. It also provides privacy, protects the interior from fading, and makes the car look more attractive. But there are limits on how dark a vehicle window can be tinted in the state of California.

The California Vehicle Code states that all windows to the right and left of the driver must allow at least 70% of visible light through, while rear windows must allow at least 50% of visible light through. This means that if you are applying window tint film to your vehicle’s windows, you need to ensure that it allows at least 70% of visible light through for front side windows and 50% for rear side windows.

If you are caught with excessive window tinting, you may be issued a traffic ticket by law enforcement officers who will check your vehicle’s tint level with a special device. The fines for violating these regulations can range from $25 to $100 per violation, plus applicable court fees. So make sure you comply with the law when it comes to window tinting in California!

It is important to note that some vehicles may be exempt from these regulations altogether – such as those equipped with aftermarket privacy glass or those vehicles used by certain public officials or law enforcement officers. So if you are not sure whether your vehicle is exempt or not, it is best to double-check with your local DMV office before applying any window tint film.

Finally, when choosing window tint film for your car in California, make sure you opt for high quality materials that won’t fade over time. Poor quality films tend to crack or peel after a few months, making them look unsightly and potentially causing further legal issues if they fail to meet the minimum required light transmission levels set out by law enforcement authorities.

Dark Car Window Tint in California

In California, the darkness of car window tint is regulated by law. The darkness of tint is measured by Visible Light Transmission percentage (VLT%). This percentage refers to the amount of light that is allowed to pass through the tint film. To be legal in California, car window tint must allow at least 70% VLT on the windshield and the front side windows. For other windows on the rear and sides, the minimum VLT requirement is 50%.

It’s important to note that there are no restrictions on how dark a car window tint can be in California. However, if you choose a tinting film that is darker than these legal limits, your vehicle could be stopped by law enforcement and you may receive a citation.

When selecting a window tint for your vehicle, it’s important to consider the type of film you choose. There are two main types of film available: dyed films and metalized films. Dyed films are made from dyes that absorb light and heat; they provide good privacy but may not last as long as metalized films. Metalized films are made from metal particles embedded in the film; they block more heat and provide better longevity than dyed films.

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To ensure that your car window tint meets all legal requirements in California, make sure to select a reputable company with experience installing high-quality tints. Additionally, it’s best to avoid using any DIY kits or unlicensed installers as this could result in an illegal installation and hefty fines.

No matter what type of car window tint you choose for your vehicle, make sure it meets all applicable regulations for your state. In California, this means ensuring that your windshield allows at least 70% VLT while other windows allow at least 50%. Choosing a reputable company with experience installing tints can help ensure a safe and legal installation.

Visible Light Transmission (VLT) Requirements for Car Tints in California

In California, visible light transmission (VLT) requirements are important for car window tints. VLT is the amount of light that can pass through the tinting material, measured in a percentage. Different states have different laws regulating the percentage of VLT allowed on car windows. In California, the rules are very strict.

There are different requirements for each type of window on a car. The windows behind the driver and front passenger must have a VLT of at least 70%. The rear windows and rear windshield must have a minimum VLT of 50%. Side windows must have a minimum VLT of 35%. However, there are exceptions to this rule. For example, if you have medical conditions that require extra protection from sunlight, you may be able to get an exemption from this rule.

It is important to note that these regulations only apply to tinted glass on cars, not any other type of window film or tinting material. Additionally, it is illegal to use any type of tinting material that alters or obscures your vision while driving. This includes mirrors, reflective materials and stickers.

The following types of tinting materials are not allowed:

  • Any material that alters or obscures your vision while driving
  • Any material that has a matte finish
  • Any mirrored or metallic film
  • Any mirrored stickers

In conclusion, it is important to be aware of the visible light transmission (VLT) requirements for car tints in California. The laws are strict and failure to comply can result in fines or other legal action. Make sure to check with your local law enforcement before installing any window tinting materials on your vehicle.

Understanding the Reflectivity Limitations of Car Window Tin in California

Car window tin is used to protect car windows and enhance their reflective properties. In California, this material is subject to reflectivity limitations that must be met in order to keep the car’s windows safe and legal. Car owners must understand these limitations in order to ensure they are compliant with California regulations.

The reflectivity limitation requirements for car window tint in California are as follows:

  • Front side windows may have up to a 28% VLT (visible light transmittance).
  • Back side windows may have up to a 27% VLT.
  • Windshields may only have a 4-inch strip at the top of the windshield with up to a 70% VLT.

The visible light transmittance (VLT) measurement indicates how much light passes through the film. The lower the VLT percentage, the darker the window tint. It is important for drivers to be aware that different states have different regulations regarding window tinting so it is important for drivers to check with their local DMV before having their vehicle windows tinted.

When installing car window tin, it is essential that it meets all of California’s standards. If it does not, then it could be deemed illegal and can put you at risk of getting a ticket or other penalties. It is important that you purchase your window tin from a reputable dealer who can guarantee that their product meets all state requirements.

Additionally, you should always follow any instructions provided by the manufacturer when installing your car window tin. This will ensure that your installation process goes smoothly and that your product meets all state requirements. If you follow these steps, then you can rest assured knowing that your car’s windows are safe and legal in California.

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California’s Window Tint Requirements for Side Mirrors

California has strict regulations when it comes to window tinting a vehicle. One of the requirements that must be met is the use of side mirrors. The state requires that any car with window tint must have two outside mirrors on the driver and passenger sides. These mirrors must provide a clear view of the roadway for at least 200 feet behind the vehicle.

It is important to note that in California, any mirror used for tinted windows must be an approved type. The California Vehicle Code Section 26708 states that all approved side mirrors must either be an original manufacturer’s mirror, or a DOT-approved replacement mirror for that type of vehicle.

The law also states that it is illegal to use any other type of mirror, such as a convex or fish-eye mirror, as these are not approved by the Department of Transportation (DOT). Furthermore, it is illegal to obstruct or reduce the vision from either side view mirror, regardless if they are tinted or not.

In addition to passing California’s requirements for window tinting with side mirrors, it is important to make sure your vehicle meets all other window tint regulations. Any window that is rearward of the driver’s seat must have a minimum visible light transmission (VLT) percentage of 70%. This means there can be no more than 30% window tint applied on these windows.

Front side doors and front windshields can also have window tint applied but only with certain limitations. Front side doors can have up to 50% VLT and front windshields can have up to 20% VLT.

It is important to keep in mind that all laws regarding window tinting in California are subject to change at anytime without notice. It is always best to contact your local authorities before applying any kind of window tinting or making modifications to your vehicle.


In conclusion, car tint in California is regulated by the Department of Motor Vehicles. The regulations state that windshields and front side windows must allow 70% of light to pass through. Back side windows and rear windshields may have tint that allows any level of light to pass through, as long as the vehicle has two outside mirrors. All tints must be non-reflective. Drivers can choose from a variety of window tints, such as solid black, colored or mirrored tints. When choosing a tint for your car in California, make sure it follows the regulations set out by the Department of Motor Vehicles to avoid fines or penalties.

It is important to research car tint laws and regulations before applying any type of tint to your car windows in California. Remember that it is illegal to drive with window tints that exceed the legal limits in California and you could face fines or other penalties if caught doing so. Following the guidelines set out by the Department of Motor Vehicles will ensure that your car is up to code with the law in California and you can enjoy your window tint without any legal issues.

About the author

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William Getty lives and breathes cars. He started driving cars as a 12 year old on the racetrack with his dad. Since then cars has always been a big part of Williams life.

In his garage you can find his beloved 2005 Ford Mustang, as well as a 2020 Audi A3.