Tint Regulations

Understanding North Carolina’s Car Window Tinting Laws: What You Need to Know

North Carolina Car Window Tinting Laws: Everything You Need to Know

As a North Carolina driver, you want to protect yourself and your vehicle from the sun’s harmful UV rays and heat. If you’re considering window tinting for your car, you need to be aware of North Carolina’s window tint laws.

In this article, we will cover the various aspects of North Carolina’s window tinting laws, exemptions, fines, and legality of smoked headlights.

Tint Darkness for Sedans

In the state of North Carolina, sedans must have a visible light transmission (VLT) of no less than 35% for the front windshield and no less than 35% for the front driver and passenger side windows. The rear windshield and back side windows can be tinted with any shade of darkness.

Tint Darkness for SUVs and Vans

SUVs and vans must have a VLT of no less than 35% for the front windshield and the front driver and passenger side windows, the back side windows and rear windshield may have any shade of darkness.

Tint Reflection for Sedans and SUVs

Tint reflection, glare, and heat is regulated in North Carolina. For sedans and SUVs, the front windshield can have no more than a 5% tint reflection, and side and back windows may have up to 35%.

If a tint film has a metalized finish, the front side and back windows may have no more than a 20% tint.

Other Window Tinting Rules and Regulations in North Carolina

Drivers must have side mirrors if the rear window is tinted. The law prohibits the use of red, blue, and amber colors for window tinting purposes.

In addition, all tint films must have a variance under 3% of the VLT as reported by the NC-approved window tint meter. Finally, a certificate must be issued by the installer of the tint in the event law enforcement needs to verify the legality of the tint.

Vehicles Exempted from Tinting Laws in North Carolina

Several types of vehicles are exempt from North Carolina’s window tinting laws. These categories include excursion passenger vehicles, motorhomes, ambulances, property-hauling vehicles, limousines, multipurpose vehicles, law enforcement vehicles, and vehicles with a medical exception.

However, it’s important to note that even exempted vehicles have regulations and restrictions that must be followed. For example, vehicles with medical exceptions require a permit issued by the NCDMV and a medical exception sticker.

This sticker must be applied to the lower left corner of the rear window.

Darkest Legal Tint in NC

The darkest legal tint in NC for sedans and SUVs is 35%. However, the front windshield must not exceed 35% tint darkness specified by AS1 line.

The AS1 line is a marking located on the windshield that helps the technician determine the appropriate level of tint and is present on most modern-day vehicles.

Getting a Tint Exemption in NC

There are some exemptions to North Carolina’s window tinting laws, as we previously mentioned. Vehicles with medical waivers or permits can receive an exemption from the laws under certain circumstances.

To apply for a medical exception, you must submit an application with the NCDMV along with a medical waiver from a licensed physician.

Fines for Tinting Violations in NC

The fines for tinting violations in North Carolina depend on the number of offenses. The first violation results in a warning.

Subsequent violations are subject to a ticket and court costs. Fines range from $10 to $250.

Smoked Headlights Legality in NC

Smoked headlights, along with tinted taillights and clear lens covers, are prohibited in the State of North Carolina. Any aftermarket headlight assembly cannot alter the original configuration of the cars lighting.


When it comes to window tinting, it’s essential to know North Carolina’s regulations to avoid costly fines. Abiding by the tinting laws not only keeps you safe, but it also ensures the integrity of law enforcement activities, particularly for surveillance purposes.

We hope that this guide has provided you with a comprehensive overview of North Carolina’s window tinting laws, exemptions, fines, and the legality of smoked headlights. Remember, even though certain exemptions exist, meeting state regulations and following the laws is still a crucial responsibility for all drivers.

In summary, North Carolina has regulations on the darkness levels, reflection, and use of colors for car window tinting. Sedans must have a VLT of no less than 35% for front windows and the front windshield, while SUVs and vans follow the same rule, but the back side windows and rear windshield can be tinted with any shade of darkness.

Vehicles exempted from tinting laws include law enforcement vehicles, ambulances, property-hauling vehicles, motorhomes, and more. Smoked headlights, tinted taillights, and clear lens covers are prohibited.

To avoid costly fines, it’s important to abide by North Carolina’s regulations to protect oneself and ensure the integrity of law enforcement activities. Meet state regulations and follow the laws to stay safe and ensure the legitimacy of vehicle operations.

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