Tinting Laws

California Window Tinting Laws

The state of California has very specific laws regarding window tinting on your car. Every state in the United States has its own percentage of darkness and reflection which  your car windows are allowed to have, as well as other specific regulations you may need to know about. Below is all relevant information pertaining to tinted windows in California.

Window tint darkness

The amount of light that can pass through your car windows is measured in percentages (called VLT). Your tinting film must adhere to these standards. In California tint laws are the same for all vehicles, whether sedans or SUVs or vans.

  • Windshield allows transparent strip on top 4 to 5 inches
  • Front side windows must pass through more than 70% of light inside your car (70% VLT)
  • Back side windows and rear windshield can have any darkness

Window tint reflection

Some tinting film can reflect incoming light, therefore further reducing glare and heat. California doesn’t allow the usage of tinting film which has more reflection than a standard window.

Side mirrors

If your car’s rear window is tinted, you must have dual side mirrors on your vehicle.

Restricted tint colors

In California you are not allowed to use red or amber window tint film on front windshield. No color-altering tint is permitted on any other windows.

Medical exemptions

Many states allow different window tint percentages due to certain medical conditions. Assembly Bill No. 1303 (source) has been approved in September 2017, allowing California drivers to apply for medical exceptions for tinting film.

Previously you could technically get medical exemptions for sunscreening devices on front side windows, but any such devices were illegal to use during nighttime. Under new California window tint laws persons with medical conditions requiring shielding from UV rays can install clear, colorless and transparent material on any window.

Window film certificate

Drivers are required to have a certificate signed by the tint installing company or from the film manufacturer stating the VLT percentage clearly. This must also display tint film manufacturer’s name and address. Manufacturers are also required to certify the tinting film in California before they are allowed to sell it.

Some towns or counties in California may have their own special regulations about window tinting, so if you’re in doubt about anything be sure to check with your local law enforcement or DMV offices!

This article about California Window Tinting Laws was last updated in 2023. If any of our information is incomplete or outdated please let us know. Thank you!