California window tint laws


Window tinting is a very controversial topic in California. Many different opinions are surrounding the issue, and it can be difficult to know where you stand. There are laws and regulations regarding window tinting for safety reasons. This post will help you understand the window tint law in California as well as give you some insight into what it means for your business or personal vehicle.

We will cover all aspects of window tint law to help keep drivers safe and legal on the roadways. We will look at what kinds of window tints are allowed, how dark you can go with your tints (tint darkness), and what penalties are associated with breaking this law. We’ve gathered all the information you need to know about the California car tint law. Let’s dive right in!

The following are the window tinting laws in California:

– Automotive tints must be non-metallic and may not reflect light. To achieve this, the automotive film is usually dyed with bronze or copper to give it a dark appearance that reflects very little of what’s behind them; they also have metallic particles embedded for durability over time.


What is VLT? 

The term VLT Visible Light Transmission is the percent of visible light that gets through your car windows. There are different levels or percentages, which can range from 5% to 90%. The tint darkness is determined by the term vlt (visual light transmission). The lower the number, the darker the tint. For example, 5 % would be a very dark tint. Furthermore, the state of California has a different VLT% for front and back windows, as you can see below.


Window Tint Limit in California

  • Windshield: Non-reflective tint allowed on the top 4 inches
  • Front side windows:   70% light transmission allowed
  • Backside windows: Any tint darkness allowed
  • Rear window: Any tint darkness allowed



 –  Regulations


Window tint CA – Medical Exemption

The California State Law of Window Tint Medical Exemptions allows vehicle owners to get exemptions for darker tint. To file an exemption, you will need a letter from your physician stating they are necessary and the best option for any diseases or disorders that cause sensitivity to light. In other words, if the person cannot be exposed to ultraviolet rays due to a medical condition, a certificate signed by a licensed dermatologist is required.

If you have window tint installed on your vehicle’s front side windows or the windshield, you must carry physical medical exemption certification with you at all times in your vehicle.

It’s also stated in the law that vehicles with tinted windows installed according to these medical exemptions should not be driven at night. This seems to imply your car may be rendered unusable at night or illegal because of a lack of front windshield visibility. The only clear, colorless, and transparent film can be applied to your window, as detailed by California.

For more details about the specific terms of the exemption, consult CA state law below.


  • Reflective tint allowed in California? Accordingly to California law, “the material does not reflect sunlight or headlight glare into the eyes of occupants of oncoming or following vehicles to any greater extent than the windshield without the material.”
  • Side mirrors? Dual side mirrors are the law in California if your car’s rear window is tinted.
  • Colored tint permitted in California? Accordingly to California, “No person shall sell, offer for sale, or operate any motor vehicle equipped with red, blue, or amber translucent aftermarket material in any partitions, windows, windshields, or wind deflectors.”
  • Window Tint Certification: According to California, film manufacturers need to certify the film they sell in State. Drivers must have a certificate with full name and street address in their possession. Similarly, the vehicle owner installed the material.


  • Tinted windows legal in California? Yes, (check the infographic for more details).
  • What is the legal tint in CA? 70% for front side windows and any percent for backside and rear windows.
  • How dark of tint is legal in California? Any darkness allowed for backside and rear windows.
  • Tint percentage in California for passenger cars? 70% is the legal limit for front-side windows.
  • Can you tint your front windshield in California? About the windshield tint in California, non-reflective tint is allowed on the windshield’s top 4 inches.

Benefits of  Window Tinting

Window tinting blocks up to 99% of the UV rays. The car interior cools by 60%. It also can help protect from ultraviolet radiation and help protect your car’s interior from cracking or fading and looking worn-out. Another great benefit is the level of privacy, which can prevent someone who walks by to peer inside. Window tint is a type of vinyl that prevents sunlight from passing through the glass. As a result, tints can reduce or eliminate visibility and significantly impact driving performance, not to mention getting rid of potentially dangerous sun glare and eye fatigue.

In conclusion of the benefits of having tinted windows are: comfort, aesthetics, UV protection, safety, and privacy.

Car Window Tint Cost

Window tinting is an important aspect of car care, but with so many options available in the market, it can be hard to know which one is best for you. It’s always a good idea to research before making any decisions on what type and how much window tint should go into your vehicle windows, as different states have very specific regulations about this matter depending on their geographical location.

In general, the cost may vary; for example, a basic tint for a sedan car using the classic film can cost less than $150 per vehicle. However, suppose you want a top-quality film such as ceramic window tint. In that case, it can cost up to $400 per vehicle. Of course, all depend on different factors (number of windows, type of tint, warranty). On the other hand, a cheaper option for professional tinting services is a DIY tint kit, which usually costs less than $100.





*Keep in mind that California tint law can change daily and may be interpreted differently in your city or county. To be sure, we recommend double-checking our information with your local DMV or Law Enforcement Authorities. Furthermore please let us know if there are any changes to make.