Many vehicle modifications are restricted by state or local laws, and aftermarket window tinting is no different. The North Carolina DOT has put in place certain restrictions on window tint that tint installers and vehicle owners must adhere to, and these guidelines are also applicable to vehicle safety inspections. Let’s begin with the most popular question we’re asked:
What is the legal limit for window tint?
Once a window has been tinted, it must not be any darker than 35% VLT (Visible Light Transmission). When measuring VLT, a lower percentage indicates a darker tint, so 35% VLT means that 35% of visible light must pass through the tint film and window in order for it to pass state requirements. The standard is considered met if the tint is not lower than 32% VLT when measured with a photometer.
Can I tint my windshield?
The rules governing windshield tinting are even stricter than side windows. Windshield tint is allowed, with the following exceptions: the tint must be 32% VLT at minimum, and the combination of factory and aftermarket tint cannot extend more than 5 inches from the top of the glass or below the AS1 line (a visible marking in the upper corner of the windshield), whichever measurement is longer. Window tint film can never be applied below this point on a windshield in any type of vehicle.
Are there any exceptions to these rules?
Regarding windshield tint, there are no exceptions to the above guidelines, however the guidelines restricting side and rear glass tint do not apply to the following vehicles:
- Excursion Vehicles – Vehicles designed and used for tours and sight-seeing purposes.
- For-hire Passenger Vehicles – Vehicles transporting people in exchange for payment (this excludes school buses, volunteer transportation, or any transportation that involves a shared cost among the passengers and owners).
- Motor Homes and RVs – Vehicles designed to provide permanent or temporary living quarters.
- Property-hauling Vehicles – These include vehicles used for the transportation of property, such as semitrailers and trailer designed to be drawn behind a motor vehicle.
- Limousines – Side and rear windows of a limousine can be as dark as desired.
- Law Enforcement – Vehicles operated by law enforcement agencies and police forces.
- Minivans, Pickup Trucks – These are considered multipurpose vehicles; side and rear glass on these vehicles can be as dark as desired.
- Vehicles for which the DMV issues a medical exception permit
What are the medical exceptions for tint?
If a person has a condition making them photosensitive (unusually sensitive to light), they can obtain a medical exception permit from the Drivers Medical Evaluation Program by filling out a written application and having their doctor submit a required medical evaluation form that is provided by the DMV.
Once a permit is obtained it is valid for 5 years from the date it was issued, unless a shorter period of time is directed by DMEP due to a temporary condition. Renewal of this permit will always require re-certification. The issued permit is also applicable only to a specific vehicle with detailed instructions on which windows can be tinted as well as guidelines this tint must adhere to. For more information and resources, visit the NC DMV website’s Medical Evaluation Program page.
For professional tint installation, call DeDona Tint & Sound for a superior look and guaranteed workmanship. (336) 851-1300
Reference for NC window tint guidelines: NCDOT