How Dark Should A Window Tint Be In California?
While window tinting has certain advantages, it is also a fact that the reduced visibility of dark tints has been the cause of many a road accident, some with fatal consequences.
The state of California has come up with certain laws that make it relatively safer for cars using legal window tint for California to ply on the roads.
California window tinting rules
These window tinting rules are specific to the state of California only, and they pertain to:
- The darkness of the window tint: The unit of measurement of light transmission through the window tint is VLT or visible light transmission. California state laws dictate the VLT percentage, which is deemed as legal for window tints. But it makes no differentiation between cars and hence they are universally applicable for sedans, SUVs, vans and all other vehicles registered in California. The applicable legal laws governing the same are:
- Windshield: Transparent shield put on top of the window shield has to be within 4 to 5 inches in breadth, and it should be non-reflective.
- Front side windows: The front side windows should enable the passage of at least or more than 70% light within the car, in case of factory tinted windows, and 88% in case of aftermarket window tints. This means that the VLT for the front side windows is 70% when the tint comes inbuilt with the car and 88% when installed separately by professionals like http://solarcareinc.com/ later on.
- Backside and rear windows: There are no restrictions placed on the rear and backside windows.
- Reflection of window tint: There are many window tint films sold, which produce a mirror-like effect on the outside. Such window tints help to reflect most of the incoming light and also bring about a reduction in the heat and the glare which enters the car. But the state of California has strict rules which govern the same. The rule states that for sedans, SUVs, vans, etc., the reflection of the window tint installed on both the front side and rear windows should be equal to or less than that experienced in a standard window.
- Other miscellaneous rules: There are specific different rules and regulations which also need to be followed regarding the same as:
- Side mirrors: California state laws specifically state that any car applying window tints on the rear window needs to have dual side mirrors installed.
- Tint color restrictions: It is not only the percentage of the darkness of a window tint that has been regulated; it is also the color of the window film which needs to be as per the California state laws. Thus amber and red-colored window tints have been banned explicitly for application on the front windshield. On the other car windows, color altering window tints also cannot be legally used.
However, the state of California makes certain concessions with regards to window tinting of vehicles to be used for medicinal purposes or those that are driven by people with specific skin conditions. Thus now people requiring added protection from UV rays have permission to install transparent, clear, and colorless window tints on all the windows of the car they drive. But these medical exceptions need to be applied for and supported with the relevant documents.
Window tint certificate
All drivers installing window tints on the windows of their cars need to obtain a certificate signed either:
- From the window film establishing a company or
- The manufacturer of the window film.
This certificate needs to clearly state the VLT percentage of the window film along with the name and address of the manufacturer. The manufacturers need to get the film certified by the state of California before he is even able to sell the same in the country mentioned.
In case of any dispute regarding the rules and regulations which legally govern the application of the window tint in California, it is always better to get in touch with either the DMV officials or local law enforcement officials and get the doubts cleared before choosing to invest in the same