California Window Tint Law [December 2021]

The California window tint law was brought into existence in 1999. It does not matter if you own a truck, sedan, or even an SUV you have to make sure you follow the laws set. The laws apply for all types of vehicles, whether they are passenger vehicles or multi-purpose vehicles. If you decide to not adhere to these rules you’ll have to face the consequences.

In this article, you will find the various laws and regulations in California for window tinting made available. By the end of this article, you’ll know how dark you can keep the tint and also how reflective the tint is allowed to be kept. From tint percentages to all the other additional rules you’ll get to learn about in this article.

Check out other States Window Tint Law :-

What Does VLT Mean According To California Law State

VLT(Visible Light Transmission) is the light percentage allowed by the window tint film to travel through your car windows. Each and every state has dissimilar allowable terms for it. In California, the proportion of light allowed to pass through passenger vehicle window films and multi-purpose vehicle window films are different.

HIGH VLT= MORE AMOUNTS OF LIGHT TO PASS THROUGH YOUR WINDOW TINT FILMS.

LOW VLT= LESS AMOUNTS OF LIGHT TO PASS THROUGH YOUR WINDOW TINT FILMS.

For instance, a 83% tint will allow only 83% of light to pass through whereas a 10% tint will allow only 10% of light to travel through the window tint film. 

California Window Tint Law: For Passenger Vehicles

  • Front Windshield: Non-reflective tint is allowed on the top 4 inches of the windshield.
  • Front seat side windows: up to 88% tint darkness allowed with aftermarket film – up to 70% tint darkness allowed if combined with factory-tinted windows.
  • Back seat side windows: Any tint darkness can be used
  • Rear window: Any tint darkness can be used

California Window Tint Law: For Multi-purpose Vehicles

  • Front Windshield: Non-reflective tint is allowed on the top 4 inches of the windshield.
  • Front seat side windows: up to 88% tint darkness allowed with aftermarket film – up to 70% tint darkness allowed if combined with factory-tinted windows.
  • Back seat side windows: Any tint darkness can be used
  • Rear window: Any tint darkness can be used

Window Tint Colours And Tint Reflection

Tint colours that are not allowed            Amber            Red            Blue

There are options available wherein you can play with the proportions of light allowed to enter your window tint film or in other words where the film can reflect the incoming light. This is to reduce the heat. Earlier in California, to reduce heat and let people have their own privacy colours like red, silver, amber, ect were used. However, now due to the changes in the laws any use of color-altering films on any vehicle window is prohibited.

Medical Exemptions in California

The rules regarding a medical exemption for tinted windows allows drivers to certainly apply to the state for medical exceptions. They can apply to the tinting film regulations. Other devices as well as tint are made available for some people to give them a sunscreen on their front side windows. You can use these devices only during the day, during the night they are considered illegal.

*There are certain changes made in the regulations of the front window tint in California only for people with certain medical conditions. People who need to be protected from the sun’s UV rays come into this category. Materials that are transparent, colourless are used.*

Window Film Certificate

  1. What is the window film certificate all about? Is it necessary?

Yes, it is necessary. All automobile drivers who have gotten their windows tinted should see to it that their tint film manufacturer gives them a signed certificate with the tint film’s VLT percentage on it as well as the name and address of the tint film manufacturer. 

  1. Should the tint film manufacturers certify the film before they sell it?

Yes, they should certify the film before they sell it in California.

*The driver of the particular vehicle that has tinted windows should make sure to store the certificate in this vehicle at all times.*

Avoiding Front Side Window Tint Tickets

Any vehicle owner that has gotten their front window tinted after purchasing the vehicle who makes that decision for medical reasons or any other particular reasons should make sure that the aftermarket film does not collide with the requirements set by California for window tint percentages in order to avoid the front side window tint ticket. Over 88% of light is allowed to travel through and if in case the aftermarket tint is mixed with factory-tinted windows then it should have a minimum VLT of 70%.

Other California window tint laws rules and regulations

There’s not only the basic laws that talk about the basic percentages of the tint and how dark or reflective the window tint should be but also various other rules and regulations that should be kept in mind always. 

By answering some frequently asked questions you’ll be aware of the other rules and regulations besides the ones already mentioned.

  1. Do I have to have side mirrors in California? If the rear windows of your car are tinted then you need to make sure you have dual side mirrors.
  2. Is coloured tint illegal in California? Red, blue, and amber are not allowed. Besides these three colours everything else is allowed. But no coloured tinted windows are allowed on your side windows.
  3. Do I need a certified sticker from the company installing my window tint in California? Yes, the state law requires a certified sticker from the company installing your window tint as well as the tint manufacturer’s name and address.
  4. Are there medical exemptions for window tint in California? Since September 2017 lower tint medical exemptions are allowed by California law.  

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