Tint Regulations

The Ultimate Guide to Vehicle Window Tinting Laws

Vehicle Classification for Window Tint Laws

Its hard to argue that car window tinting isnt beneficial. It keeps the interiors of cars cooler, reduces glare, and offers a degree of privacy.

However, different states have very distinct laws that regulate how tinted vehicle windows can be. As such, it is critical to know what the law is in your state before you invest in window tinting.

One of the main factors that affect the legality of automotive window tinting is the type of vehicle you own.

Types of Vehicles

There are four primary types of vehicles that states use to classify cars for window tinting purposes. They are;


Passenger Cars

2. Multi-Purpose Vehicles (MPVs)



4. Sport Utility Vehicles (SUVs) or Vans

Each type of vehicle is classified based on its design and function.

In general, a passenger car is a small vehicle with four wheels designed to transport individuals or small groups. In contrast, MPVs like SUVs, vans, and pickups are larger and primarily designed to carry cargo and people.

Federal ID Label

The federal classification label is a VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) that is located on the left front door panel. This label provides information such as the manufacturer’s name, country of origin, and the model of the vehicle.

It also specifies the type of vehicle, which helps to determine the legality of automotive window tinting.

Passenger Cars vs Multi-Purpose Vehicles

The federal government categorizes vehicles according to the purpose they are designed to serve. However, different states might have their definition and categorization of cars.

For instance, according to the federal government, a Sedan is classified as a passenger car, while an SUV is an MPV.

Multi-Purpose Vehicles and Factory Tint

Since MPVs are designed to carry cargo, people, or both, manufacturers have to consider the needs of such vehicles passengers when designing them. One of the considerations is visibility from inside the vehicle, which affects factory-installed window tints.


Vehicle Classification

Multi-Purpose vehicles come in different shapes and sizes. They include SUVs, recreational vehicles, pickups, and vans.

Unlike passenger cars, whose primary focus is on transport, MPVs can also be called large transport vehicles. As such, window tinting for such vehicles should be done with this in mind.

Factory-Installed Window Tint

Many MPVs come with factory-installed window tinting. If you own an MPV and are considering additional window tinting, it would be wise to check if the factory tint is in compliance with your state’s law.

For instance, if you live in California, where the legal tinting limit is 70%, ensure that your factory tint plus any other you might add adheres to the limit.

Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards


Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) specify the requirements for glazing materials in vehicle windows. A windows VLT (

Visible Light Transmission) percentage is a critical factor in determining whether it meets the federal guidelines.

The FMVSS ensure that all vehicles on the road meet a certain level of safety and that window tinting does not impede a driver’s vision.

Aftermarket Tinting

If you purchase an MPV that does not come with factory-installed tinting, you can always get aftermarket tinting. However, ensure that you comply with your state’s laws regarding the VLT percentage.

Some states such as Tennessee allow up to 35% tinting, while others such as New York only allow up to 70%.


In conclusion, knowing the type of vehicle you own is critical in ensuring that you comply with your state’s window tinting laws. For MPVs, it is essential to consider what their primary function is and ensure that any window tinting you get accounts for this.

Most importantly, always check your states laws regarding window tinting before installing any such product. Failure to comply could result in unwanted fees or even legal troubles.

3) Importance of VLT

When it comes to automotive window tinting,

Visible Light Transmission (VLT) is an essential factor to consider. VLT refers to the amount of visible light that is allowed to pass through the glass of your car windows.

Different speeds and driving conditions require different tint strengths to ensure optimal safety, comfort, and visibility.

Visible Light Transmission

The VLT percentage limits the amount of light entering the vehicle. All states in the US have established a minimum VLT requirement for all car window tinting.

In general, most states require a minimum VLT of 70% for the windshield, 40% for the front side windows, and no limit for the back side windows. The Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 205 is a federal guideline for vehicle window tinting.

The standard specifies the maximum VLT percentage for each window and is applied to any vehicle manufactured since May 1984.

Aftermarket Tinting

Aftermarket tinting is the term used to describe window tinting applied to a vehicle after purchase. When installing aftermarket tinting, it’s crucial to abide by the state laws regarding VLT percentage.

These laws often vary from one state to another and depend on the type of vehicle you own. In some states, the VLT percentage for the windshield is lower than that of the front side windows.

States like Wisconsin limit front-side windows to a VLT of 50%, while others like Florida only require a VLT of 28%.

State Laws

It’s important to recognize that the laws regarding window tinting are subject to change depending on the state. Some states are more lenient, allowing darker windows, while others have stricter regulations.

You should be aware of the laws in your particular state, as this ensures the safety of both yourself and anyone operating the vehicle.


One of the most strict laws regarding VLT is in regards to the windshield. Most states have a minimum VLT of 70% for the windshield, which makes it quite difficult to add any further tinting to the windshield.

Factory-Tinted Windows

Vehicles such as SUVs, pickups, and MPVs often come with factory-tinted windows. While it generally meets the minimum requirements, it’s still recommended to ensure that the VLT of the windows are at the required percentage.

One way to accomplish this is through the use of a Tint Tester tool, which accurately and easily measures the VLT of a window.

Legal Window Tint Darkness

The maximum darkness allowed for window tinting may vary from one state to another. At the time of manufacture, most vehicles come with a slight tint that falls within the legal requirements of the driver’s state.

However, this doesn’t mean you can add more tint to the windows. Vehicle owners whose cars have a factory tint may need to make adjustments to ensure their VLT percentage falls within the state’s legal requirements.

4) Other Vehicle Types

Not all vehicles are created equally. Tinting requirements might differ depending on the specific type of vehicle.

Here’s a look at some common vehicle types and their definitions as per the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).


Trucks are vehicles that have an enclosed cab. They include pickup trucks and semis.

Pickup trucks can significantly differ from one another in size, so it’s important to check the state laws for tinting before applying any after-market tint.


Buses are vehicles that are designed to carry more than ten people at once. In general, buses have primary glazing designed to regulate both light and heat concerns.


Motorcycles are two or three-wheeled vehicles. They are often exempt from window tinting laws since they don’t have a car roof.

That said, it’s still vital to check the regulations of your specific state.


Trailers are towed vehicles that can include RVs, campers, and travel trailers. They are subject to the same window tinting laws as passenger cars and SUVs, especially in a state that requires a sticker outlining the VLT percentage, which must be prominently displayed on the window.

Low-Speed Vehicles

Low-speed vehicles (LSVs) have limited functionality and typically don’t exceed 25 miles per hour. They are often used in residential or urban areas as a more efficient mode of getting around.

LSVs have maximum VLT limits depending on specific vehicle functions and designs. Drivers should always check the regulations of their state before applying any tinting.

Vehicle Classification

The vehicle classification system provides a way to define and categorize different types of vehicles. This system is often used by vehicle manufacturers to match specific car models with state requirements.

As highlighted before, different states may recognize different classifications for MPVs like crossover SUVs.

Glazing Materials Standard

The code of federal regulations (CFR) governs the safety standards for all automotive glazing materials used in vehicles. It requires that all auto glass be able to meet specific impact resistance requirements for safety and durability.

Because of this, it is important that your window tinting is installed with these regulations in mind. In conclusion, understanding VLT is critical in ensuring your vehicle is in compliance with your states specific tinting laws.

Different vehicle types have varying requirements, so it’s important to know the classification of the vehicle you own. The laws regarding window tinting vary significantly from state to state.

Therefore, its important to check the regulations of your state before getting your car windows tinted. In conclusion, understanding the importance of VLT for window tinting in vehicles is critical.

The federal and state laws governing VLT percentage are in place to ensure optimal safety, comfort, and visibility while on the road. It’s imperative to check the laws in your state before getting aftermarket tinting, and knowing the exact classification of your vehicle is essential.

Vehicle owners need to check the tint level of factory windows and make adjustments to comply with the laws. And remember, window tinting laws vary significantly from state to state, so always check the regulations of your state to avoid any legal troubles.

Popular Posts