California Tint Laws in 2024

Published on May 20, 2024

Car window tinting laws in California are more than just regulations; they play a crucial role in ensuring road safety and compliance with state standards. These laws not only govern the darkness of tinted windows but also dictate the level of window reflection permitted. This comprehensive approach helps maintain visibility and driver awareness on the road. In this article we’ll discuss the specifics of California’s window tinting laws for 2024 and how they align with safety standards, offering authoritative guidance for vehicle owners across the state.

Understanding Window Tint Reflection Regulations

Tint reflection refers to the amount of light reflected off the surface of a tinted window. High reflectivity can cause glare, which is hazardous to both the driver and other road users. California’s window tinting laws establish specific regulations to control the reflectivity of tinted windows, ensuring they do not exceed certain limits.

Front Side Windows

For front side windows, the tint must not exceed the reflectivity of a standard window. This regulation is designed to ensure that drivers have unobstructed visibility, which is crucial for safe driving. Clear front windows help in better visual communication with pedestrians and other drivers, enhancing overall road safety.

Back Side Windows

Similarly, the back side windows must adhere to the same reflectivity standards. This consistency helps minimize potential glare for surrounding vehicles, ensuring that all drivers have a clear view of the road. By maintaining uniformity in reflectivity standards, California promotes safer driving conditions for everyone.

SUVs and Vans

SUVs and vans, despite their larger size, are held to the same rigorous standards as sedans.

For these vehicles:

Front Side Windows

The tint on the front side windows must comply with regulations that do not allow reflectivity to surpass that of a standard window. This ensures that safety measures are consistent across all vehicle types, preventing any visibility issues specific to larger vehicles.

Back Side Windows

The back side windows for SUVs and vans also need to meet the established reflectivity standards. Prioritizing visibility in these larger vehicles is essential to minimize distractions for drivers and maintain road safety.

General California Window Tint Rules and Regulations

California’s window tinting laws extend beyond reflection regulations, encompassing several other important provisions to ensure comprehensive safety and compliance across all vehicle types.

Windshield Tinting

Tinting on windshields is restricted to the top 4 inches only. This limitation is crucial as it ensures that the driver’s view is not obstructed while still providing some level of sun protection. The top strip helps reduce glare from the sun without compromising safety.

Front Side Windows VLT (Visible Light Transmission)

The front side windows must have a minimum of 70% VLT, meaning they must allow at least 70% of visible light to pass through. This rule ensures that the driver has a clear view of the outside environment, which is essential for reacting to road conditions and hazards promptly.

Back Side and Rear Windows

For back side and rear windows, the laws are more lenient. These windows can have any darkness level for sedans, SUVs, and vans. This flexibility allows vehicle owners to enhance privacy and reduce heat inside the vehicle, without affecting the driver’s visibility from the front.

Side Mirrors

When the rear window is tinted, California law mandates dual side mirrors. This requirement is designed to enhance visibility and driver awareness, compensating for any reduction in rearward visibility due to tinting. Dual mirrors help drivers have a clear view of their surroundings, reducing blind spots.

Restricted Colors

California strictly prohibits the use of red, amber, or blue tint colors on any windows. These color restrictions are in place to avoid confusion with emergency vehicles and traffic signals, promoting clarity and consistency in signaling among vehicles on the road.

Certificates and Stickers

Manufacturers of tint film must certify the film they sell in the state, and drivers must possess the appropriate certification to verify compliance with state regulations. This certification process reinforces accountability and transparency in window tinting practices. Additionally, state law mandates the display of a certificate or sticker from the installing company on the window, facilitating easy verification of compliance.

Medical Exceptions

California law permits medical exemptions for lower tint on all windows. Individuals with specific medical conditions that necessitate additional protection from sunlight can apply for these exemptions. This provision ensures inclusivity and accessibility in regulatory enforcement, accommodating the unique needs of all vehicle owners.

Local Variations and Recommendations

While California’s window tinting laws provide comprehensive guidelines statewide, local variations and enforcement practices may impact their interpretation and application. Therefore, it is crucial for vehicle owners to consult local DMV or law enforcement authorities to verify compliance with the law and ensure adherence to local regulations.


Window tinting laws in California for 2024 are designed to balance comfort, privacy, and safety. By adhering to these regulations, vehicle owners can enhance their driving experience while ensuring they remain within legal boundaries. Understanding and following these guidelines not only helps in avoiding fines and penalties but also contributes to safer roadways for everyone.


Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is the darkest tint allowed on front side windows in California?

    The front side windows must have a minimum of 70% VLT, meaning they must allow at least 70% of visible light to pass through.

  • Are there any restrictions on tint colors in California?

    Yes, California prohibits the use of red, amber, or blue tint colors on any vehicle windows.

  • Can I get a medical exemption for darker window tint in California?

    Yes, California law allows for medical exemptions if you have a specific medical condition that requires additional protection from sunlight.

  • Do I need dual side mirrors if my rear window is tinted?

    Yes, if your rear window is tinted, California law mandates that your vehicle must have dual side mirrors to ensure adequate visibility.

  • What should I do if I’m unsure about my window tint’s compliance?

    Consult OC Tintz or your local DMV or law enforcement authorities to verify your window tint’s compliance with state and local regulations.

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