Whether for medical reasons or simply stylization, adding tint to the windows of a vehicle is extremely common. Tint restricts the amount of light that enters your vehicle; however, this can also introduce safety issues when driving. To counter the risks, states enforce laws regulating the tint levels on your vehicle’s various windows. Learning these laws for your respective state, such as the California window tint law, can help ensure you adhere to the law when adding this feature to your vehicle.
What Is Window Tint?
Almost all vehicles roll off the manufacturing lot with some level of tint applied. This helps drivers avoid being blinded on the road by bright lights, keeping car temperatures cooler, and can even reduce the fading of interior surfaces. Aftermarket window tint can be applied on top of this natural manufacturer tint to increase these effects.
Tint is a thin layer of film that is adhesively applied to the interior surface of a vehicle window, darkening that window and reducing ultraviolet (UV) light. The darkness of the tint directly impacts how much light is able to penetrate the window of the vehicle, with the tradeoff being a reduction in a driver’s ability to see.
While individual states determine tint laws, tint levels are all measured the same nationally. The most common levels of tint include:
- 90% Window Tint: 10% of UV light is blocked from entering through the window
- 80% Window Tint: 20% of UV light is blocked from entering through the window
- 70% Window Tint: 30% of UV light is blocked from entering through the window
As evident above, the measurement of window tint appears slightly backward. Tint percentages can go as low as 5-10%, which is illegal in most states, meaning that 90-95% of UV light is blocked from entering the window. Despite offering a vast amount of privacy, tint levels this low severely restrict a driver’s ability to see.
California Window Tint Laws
For drivers in California, tint laws differ slightly from other states. Based on each of the windows on your vehicle, California window tint law states:
- Front Windshield: Non-reflective tint may be used on the top 4 inches of the windshield.
- Front Passenger Windows: Up to 70% tint allowed in combination with tint, if any, provided by manufacturer.
- Rear Passenger Windows: Any darkness is allowed.
- Rear Windshield: Any darkness is allowed.
Is 35% Tint Legal in California?
If there is no factory tint on your vehicle, aftermarket film must allow at least 88% of light to enter your car on the front passenger windows. In California, tint levels below 70% are illegal and cannot be added to your vehicle. Therefore, unless you have a specific disease that requires you to have a darker tint, 35% tint is not legal in California.
Other Tint Regulations in California
While the above tint laws are the primary items to consider, there are additional regulations that drivers should keep in mind before adding window tint to their vehicles. First and foremost, tint colors of blue, red, or amber are all illegal and cannot be used. On top of this, if your rear window is tinted, then you are required to have a dual-side mirror attached to your vehicle.
If you have a medical condition requiring a higher level of tint on your vehicle, the State of California has exception rules. Always ask about any specific local regulations that may be in place before applying tint to your car to ensure you are also following local laws.
Protect Your Enhanced Vehicle Today
Window tint is one of the most common additions to vehicles nowadays, with many manufacturers even incorporating tint into their cars right off the lot. Some people, whether for looks or medical reasons, may look into adding additional tint to their vehicle. Understanding the laws in place can help ensure you don’t get pulled over on your next drive while keeping you safe by maintaining visibility from the driver’s seat.
Whether tint is your first addition to your vehicle or one of many, enhancements can significantly increase the personal value of your car. That’s why protecting your vehicle when you hit the open road is essential. Start this process by looking at our reviews for top-rated extended warranty providers to see how the competition stacks up against each other so that you can find the best protection option.