Window tinting is a process that uses a transparent film that applies to the inside or outside of a vehicle’s window. Some automakers place the tint between two tempered glass panes to reduce injury risks if an accident or collision should occur.
Most window tinting occurs with aftermarket products and installers. The goal is to darken the glass to block UV light, reduce glare, and increase privacy.
You’ll find a variety of brands, shades, and materials available today to help create the visual outcomes you want.
One choice that more drivers are turning to for their vehicles is a 35% tint all around.
For Those with 35% Tint All Around
A common choice for drivers who want to improve their window tint is to go with a 35% all around option. That darkness level delivers a consistent aesthetic profile without interfering with visibility. Before selecting this option, all vehicle owners must check their local VLT laws to see what is allowable.
VLT stands for “Visible Light Transmission.” When you have a lower number, you’ll get a darker tint. That means a 70 VLT lets in a lot of light, while a 5 VLT won’t let in much at all.
Law enforcement has tools that measure the VLT rating of installed tint or window film to see if you’re in compliance. If the product is darker than what is legally permitted, you can be ticketed and ordered to remove the product.
That’s why it helps to speak with a professional tinter or review local laws before purchasing a DIY kit to use at home.
Once you start shopping for tints and films, you’ll find some other terms that you’ll need to know about to have a successful experience. Here’s an overview of what you’ll find.
◼️ Basic Glossary for Window Tints and Films
|AS-1 Line:||• This line extends from the designation “AS-1” found on most windshields installed on motor vehicles. |
• It runs parallel to the top of the glass.
• It’s a clarity designation that tells you the best possible product is being used for your driving experience.
• Some states don’t allow tint to come below that area.
|Tint Color:||• Window films and tints can come in several different color choices, including blue, red, amber, and purple. |
• Some states have restrictions on what you can use.
|Mirrored:||• Some tints and films come with a reflective finish. |
• This feature makes it harder to see into your vehicle, allowing for an increase in privacy.
• It might be regulated in your area in some or all situations, so you’ll want to think about the correct percentage to use.
|Windshield Tinting:||• This service is not typically available unless you have a medical order. |
• Some states allow you to install a tinted “bar” across the top where it won’t interfere with your vision.
• New transparent films are sometimes allowed that eliminate UV intrusion without visual interference.
|Rear-Side Tint:||• This term refers to what is allowable on your back passenger windows. |
• It might not include the rear window in some areas.
• You’ll see that designation separately in the statutes.
|Front-Side Tint:||• With this standard, you’ll discover the VLT levels allowed for the driver and front passenger side windows. |
• The value is typically a bit higher than what is permitted in the back.
What Are the Current Tinting Laws in Each State?
If you’re thinking about getting 35% all around with your window tint, the first step is to verify that you can use that product where you live.
Some states require the front sides to be 50% or 70%. In Washington, D.C., you’re not allowed to put a 35 VLT film on any vehicle without medical permission or government authorization.
The following table shows what the current window tint VLT expectations are for each state. Please remember that this information is subject to change at any time, which is why it is up to you to verify the laws and legal standards before installing this product.
|State / District||Front Side VLT||Rear Side VLT||Rear Window||Windshield|
|District of Columbia||70%||50%||50%||5 inches or AS-1|
|Michigan||4 inches||Anything||Anything||4 inches|
|Nebraska||35%||20%||20%||5 inches or AS-1|
|New Hampshire||None||35%||35%||6 inches|
|New Mexico||20%||20%||20%||5 inches or AS-1|
|New York||70%||70%||Anything||6 inches|
|North Dakota||50%||Anything||Anything||< 70%|
|Oklahoma||25%||25%||25%||5 inches or AS-1|
|Texas||25%||25%||Anything||5 inches or AS-1|
|West Virginia||35%||35%||35%||5 inches|
|Wyoming||28%||28%||28%||5 inches or AS-1|
Think About the Fine Print in Your Area
Most states make an exception for medical reasons if you need a darker tint than what is legally permitted for the general population.
This exception is in place because some conditions or illnesses make people sensitive to light. If that issue can be prevented by using a high-quality window film or tint, it is considered appropriate to have it installed.
Reputable window tint installers will ask for documentation from a medical professional before using the darker product. Some states do not allow DIY work when what is needed supersedes what is generally permitted.
Some state laws are straightforward, but they use ambiguous terminology to describe what is permitted and what is not. If you see “non-excessive” listed in the guide, the enforcement becomes subjective. You’ll want to use your best discretion in those circumstances to avoid a potential headache.
◼️ The One Issue Many Drivers Forget with Window Tint
Although window tint VLT is somewhat subjective because different drivers prefer something suited to their needs, the sweet spot is right around the 20 VLT. It gives you enough darkness to be comfortable without complete interference.
The problem is that you’re responsible for the window tint laws in all 50 states and D.C. when driving. If your windows are legal where you live, but they are not where you travel, you can still get pulled over and ticketed.
That’s why 35% tint all around is a reasonable solution instead of 20. Although you won’t get 100% compliance, you’ll still have a darkness level that works for most situations.
If you feel like doing the work at home, it is easier to use pre-cut materials to create the results you want. Although you can purchase a premium ceramic film to cut yourself, the results aren’t always easy to accomplish.
Some states require professional installation in all circumstances.
When you feel like the DIY approach is the best option, you’ll need the right tools to create a pro-quality result. That’s why I rely on the Gomake Vinyl Wrap and Window Tint Tool Kit.
You’ll receive everything you need to create a flat surface without wrinkles or bubbles. The heat gun is there for a semi-permanent installation so that you don’t need to rely on static cling.
It’ll help you handle all the different crevasses, curves, and contours on some designs.
When you combine this kit with a high-quality window film, you can prevent scratching, increase privacy, and improve safety with one investment.
A professional window tinter might charge $1,000 to complete 35 tint all around. If you have the tools and skills to do the work yourself, you can get the job done for about 25% of that cost. That’s why it is an investment worth considering.