California Window Tint Laws: A Guide for Drivers [2023]

Car window tinting laws in California – Are you thinking about tinting your car windows in California? If so, you must know the state’s window tinting laws.

California has specific rules and regulations on how dark your window tint can be. Violating these laws can result in a hefty fine or even jail time. In this article, we will outline the legal limits on window tinting in California.

We will also discuss the exceptions to these Window Tinting Laws in California and the penalties for violating them.

Window tint darkness in California

The percent of visible light allowed via your car windows is called Visible Light Transmission (VLT). The percentage of light allowed through your glass and film in California is particular and different for sedan cars and vans or SUV cars.

Darkest legal tint for Sedans in California

Front Side windows: Aftermarket film must allow more than 88% of light in, or minimum 70% VLT if combined with factory-tinted windows.
Back Side windows Any darkness can be used.
Windshield Non-reflective tint is allowed on the top 4 inches of the windshield.
Rear window Any darkness can be used.

Darkest legal tint for SUVs and Vans in California

Front Side windows:  Aftermarket film must allow more than 88% of light in, or minimum 70% VLT if combined with factory-tinted windows.
Back Side windows: Any darkness can be used.
Windshield: Non-reflective tint is allowed on the top 4 inches of the windshield.
Rear window: Any darkness can be used.

Window Tint Laws California

Window Tint Reflection in California

Window tints reflect light, reducing heat and glare. California window tint law allows the reflection of a specific window when tinted; you should be aware of this, too.

Tint reflection for sedans:

Front Side windows: Must not be more reflective than a standard window.
Back Side windows: Must not be more reflective than a standard window.

Tint reflection for SUVs and vans:

Front Side windows: Must not be more reflective than a standard window.
Back Side windows: Must not be more reflective than a standard window.

California window tint rules and regulations

California has several other significant laws, regulations, and guidelines relating to window tinting. These include:

Side Mirrors: Dual side mirrors are required if the rear window is tinted.
Certificates: The film manufacturers must certify all films they sell to the state, and drivers must possess the certification.
Restricted Colors: California tint law prohibits using red, amber, or blue tint colors. The side windows must be completely colorless.
Medical Exceptions: California law allows medical exemptions to lower tints on all windows.
Stickers State laws require that the installer provide a certificate or an adhesive with the name and address of the manufacturer.

Remember that California tinting regulations and laws could differ in your locality or residence. Always make sure to double-check the accuracy of our information with your nearby DMV as well as law enforcement authorities.  

Tint Law References:

FAQs California Window Tint Laws

Is 35% tint legal in California?

California has strict tinting laws that make it illegal to tint at 35%. Only if you have a disease that demands a darker tint can you get a tint of 35% on your car. A doctor must obtain it and clearly state that the treatment is being recommended due to a particular disease. This permit should be carried at all times to prove your exemption.

What is the darkest legal tint allowed in California?

You can legally comply with the law by tinting your windows to 70% if you don’t want to encounter unnecessary problems when you come across police traffic control. You can use any level of darkness for the rear and back windows.

What tint can you get away with in California?

You can choose any tint for the rear windows and side windows. For the driver’s and passenger’s front windows, a maximum of 70% tint is allowed if factory-tinted glass is used.

How much is a ticket for tinted windows in California?

It depends. You will have to remove tinted glass if you only receive a $25 fine, according to Vehicle Code 26708. If you are also charged with an offense, your penalty will be $197.

Is 20% tint illegal in California?

Yes, that is illegal. The only percentage allowed is 70% if combined with factory-tinted windows.

Can you get pulled over for tinted windows in California?

You know that the legal tint percentage allowed in California is 70% and that other laws must be kept, too; if you do not comply and violate the state regulations, you may be pulled over and fined. You may also be required to remove your vehicle tint.

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