california tint laws

California Window Tint Laws 2020: See What’s Legal

Are you looking for updates made to the California automobile window tint law that went into effect in 2020?

In order for the front windshield and front side windows of a vehicle to be considered to have legal window tint California law states the front windshield is only allowed to have a transparent strip of tint on the top 4 or 5 inches and at least 70% of light must be able to penetrate the tint on the front side windows. Those tint restrictions and regulations cover all types of vehicles. Whether you drive a sedan, SUV, van or truck, you have to adhere to those regulations or you can be ticketed, fined and required to have the illegal tint removed.

Common Questions About California Window Tint Laws

Many people are confused about the automobile tint laws in California that are in effect. Three of the most commonly asked questions are:

  1. What is the legal window tint in California?
  2. What is the darkest window tint legal in California?
  3. Can I still get a medical exemption from the California front window tint law?

We will provide the answers to those and many other questions people have regarding the changes California has made to its automobile windshield and window tint law for 2020 to help to prevent drivers from getting a window tint ticket California cops hand out.

Window Tint Darkness

In the state of California there are very specific laws governing the percentage of window tint darkness and reflection an automobile is allowed to have. The amount of light which passes through the window of an automobile is measured in Visible Light Transmission (VLT) percentage. This refers to the amount of light that can pass through the glass as well as the tint film. The 2020 California window tint laws requirements are for the front windshield and front side windows to have a 70% VLT. California car window tint law has no restriction on how dark the tint on the rear and back side windows can be. However, if the rear window of a vehicle is tinted, it has to have dual side mirrors.

California Tint Laws

  • Front Side Windows: 70%
  • Back Side Windows: Any
  • Rear Windows: Any
  • Windshield: 4 Inches
  • Reflectivity: No more reflective than a standard window
  • Other Restrictions: Red, amber, and blue not allowed. dual side mirrors required for back tinted windows

Window Tint Reflection And Tint Colors

To reduce glare and heat, some automobile owners have tinting film that can reflect incoming light installed on the windows of their vehicles. To be in compliance with California vehicle code window tint installed on a motor vehicle must not produce more reflection than is produced by a standard window. In the past, automobile owners in California often used red, amber, silver and other types of color altering tint on the windshields and windows of their automobiles to provide privacy, keep out glare and reduce heat. However, the current version of the window tint law in California prohibits the use of any color-altering film on any automobile window. And red, blue and amber tint film are not allowed on the front windshield.

Medical Exemptions

Here are the rules regarding a medical exemption for tinted windows California in place. It allows drivers in California to apply to the state for medical exceptions to the tinting film regulations. Certain people are allowed to use tint and other devices for providing a sunscreen on their front side windows. However, it is illegal to use the devices at night. The changes to the regulations governing front window tint California calls for people with medical conditions that require shielding from the sun’s UV rays to install material that’s clear, colorless and transparent on the windows of their automobiles. 

California Window Tint Exemption Application

California automobile owners could get a signed document or letter from a licensed dermatologist, optometrist, physician or surgeon stating they need window tint to shield them from the sun because of a serious medical condition with which they suffer. Automobile owners usually submit the letter or document along with their window tint exemption application to the California Department of Motor Vehicles and receive permission to use window tint or some other device to circumvent the California state law on window tint. Changes to the California tint law for 2017 says that if you’ve got a doctor’s note, you will able to get additional window tints on your car. This still applies to 2020 laws.

Window Film Certificate

Automobile drivers in California who have tinted windows on their vehicles are required to have a signed certificate from the tint film manufacturer or the tint installing company clearly stating the tint film’s VLT percentage. The certificate must display the name and address of the tint film manufacturer. Tint film manufacturers must also certify the film in California before they can get permission to sell it there. The driver of a vehicle with tinted windows must keep the certificate in the vehicle. State law also requires tint film installation companies must also give the vehicle’s owner a sticker or certificate with their name and address.

Avoiding Front Side Window Tint Tickets

To avoid a front window tint California ticket, automobile owners in the state who decide, for medical or any other reason, to have the front window tinted after they have bought the vehicle must ensure that the aftermarket film meets the requirements for window tint percentages California has set. The state of California requires aftermarket tint film installed on front side windows to allow over 88% of light to get in. If the aftermarket tint is combined with factory-tinted windows, it must have a minimum visible light transmission of 70%.

What The Tint Law Prohibits

The California statue governing window tinting is Vehicle Code 26708. It prohibits owners and drivers of automobiles from putting materials or objects on the windshield, side or rear windows that obstructs the driver’s view. When it comes to windshield and driver side window tint California police officers are pretty strict in their enforcement of the tinting statute. Vehicles are not allowed to have stickers or other decorations on their front side windows. The law states torn, bubbled, or worn window tint film that can obstruct the driver’s view is forbidden and must be repaired or removed.

Penalties For Non-Compliance

Should a driver be stopped for failing to comply with tint law, a number of things can happen at the police officer’s discretion. Officers often issue a ‘fix-it ticket’ to first time offenders. This is a warning that tells the driver why the vehicle is not in compliance with the tint law and orders them to have the problem addressed immediately. A second violation can result in a $25 fine and being ordered to remove the window tint. The third time drivers are stopped for violating the window tint law, they can be charged with an infraction and fined $197.

Visit The DMV For Clarity

Since California enacted its automobile window tinting laws in 1999, there’s been some confusion about what is legal tinting. Check with your local California DMV office to ensure your vehicle complies with the rules and regulations of California’s 2020 window tinting law.

Get Quality Rayno Window Film

When you want high quality window tinting film for your automobile, home or business, contact Rayno Window Film. We have dealer shops all over California. We offer customers access to our affordable Rayno MonoCarbon tint film, Rayno AIR7090 front windshield film, Rayno Phantom Series premium automotive window film products made using nano carbon ceramic film technology and our Rayno Platinum residential window tint film.

In addition to window films, we also offer Creed PPF, which is a paint protection film that uses our nano-coating technology that helps protect your car’s paint from rock damage, chips, rain, rust and other road debris.

To find a Rayno Tint Shop near you, visit our Rayno Window Film dealer locator!