Michigan Window Tint Laws

Michigan is known for its breathtaking coastline, wetland forests… and strict tint laws. If you’re familiar with window tinting laws in other states (Texas, for example), you may find surprising differences.

This article will cover topics related to Michigan’s legal limits on tint darkness, potential penalties for noncompliance, and medical exemptions to the regulations. Plus, to make tint shopping easier for you, we’ve compiled a list of the best available tint options.

It’s essential to have an in-depth understanding of the legal jargon associated with window tint laws, as doing so will help you decode and abide by your local tint laws. Of course, doing so is important. Don’t assume that you’re probably in the clear—that’s just asking for trouble.

Luckily, this article can help you stay out of trouble with the authorities, so read it carefully!

Are you ready?

Let’s d(r)ive in!

a car with tinted windows on the road

Decoding Window Tint Regulations and Jargon

In this section, we’ll explore key legal terms around window tinting and their definitions.


VLT stands for ‘visible light transmission.’

Every tint has a unique VLT percentage that is determined by how dark the tint is. Darker tints allow smaller amounts of light to be transmitted i.e. they let less light in.. Such tints are characterized by low VLT values.

Typically, VLT values below 50% are considered dark.

Front-Side Windows

Your vehicle’s front-side windows are the windows beside the driver and front passenger seat.

Rear-Side Windows

Your car’s rear-side windows are beside the back passenger seats.

Rear Window

Do not confuse this with ‘rear-side windows.’

Your vehicle’s rear window is directly across from the car’s windshield, at the back of your car. In most sedans, this window sits above the trunk.

AS-1 Line

Most windshields contain an AS-1 line. This line rests 5 to 6 inches below the windshield’s highest point running horizontally across the window.

Most states will only allow vehicle owners to tint their windshields down to the AS-1 line. This is true for both Maryland tint laws and California tint laws.

However, things are slightly different in Michigan.

How Dark Can You Tint Your Windows in Michigan State?

Are you wondering if you can legally tint your windshield and rear and side windows? Well, let’s explore Michigan’s window tint regulations:

Michigan Tint Laws for Passenger Vehicles

Here are Michigan’s rules and regulations on tinting your sedan’s windows and windshield:

  • Minimum VLT for front-side windows: Any %, but only for the window’s top 4 inches
  • Minimum VLT for rear-side windows: Any %
  • VLT limit for rear window: Any %
  • Windshield tint: Any %, but only for the windshield’s top 4 inches (above the AS-1 line)

Michigan Tint Laws for Multipurpose Vehicles (SUVs and Vans)

Michigan state has the following tint laws in place for multipurpose vehicles:

  • Minimum VLT for front windows: Any %, but only for the window’s top 4 inches
  • Minimum VLT for rear-side windows: Any %
  • VLT limit for rear window: Any %
  • Windshield tint: Any %, but only for the windshield’s top 4 inches (above the AS-1 line)

Acceptable Window Tint Reflection and Colors

Michigan’s window tint laws don’t only define allowable tint placement, but also set limits on reflectivity.

According to the Michigan Vehicle Code, your car’s tint reflectivity must not exceed 35%.

Opting for reflective tinting up to this threshold can help you stay clear of harsh solar glare, which standard tinting is less effective against, ultimately improving your driving experience. 

In severe cases, highly reflective tints can cause road accidents by reflecting the sun’s rays into oncoming vehicles and distracting the drivers. Be conscientious when considering how reflective you’d like your tint to be. It’s always better to be safe than sorry!

As for tint color, you’re free to go with any option you like.

Penalties for Non-Compliance with Michigan Tint Laws

Michigan’s drivers are expected to comply with local window tinting legislation. Failure to do so can get you a ticket, a fine, and an added two points on your driving record. Yikes!

On a first violation, you will receive a ‘fix-it’ ticket. Consider this a warning and rectify your tint darkness within the next few days. You’ll know exactly how long you have after receiving the ticket. You’ll also have to pay $25 as a processing fee.

The penalties increase if a driver fails to comply. Being caught a second time can land you a high fine and add more points to your driving record.

Remember, window tint replacement or removal isn’t cheap. Failing to comply with the laws might mean having to alter or eliminate your tint (for a price). Make sure to check the laws in your area ahead of time. Doing so will help you preserve your neat driving record and avoid extra tint-removal costs.

Medical Exemptions

Drivers with photosensitive conditions can apply for a window tint darkness limit extension. After completing (and passing) a medical exam, you’ll be granted a special medical waiver. Be sure to carry this with you whenever you’re driving with extra-dark tinted windows. It’ll help you steer clear of fines and penalties.

What are my Window Tint Options?

There are many different windshield tinting options available. Of these, Ceramic tint and smart tint are the two most commonly-employed.

Below is a brief overview of each to help you decide between them:

Ceramic Tint

Ceramic tint is a thing of the future, employing nanotechnology to ensure your car’s interior stays cool.

Ceramic tint can reduce heat transmission up to three times more effectively than standard window tint. Note that ‘standard’ refers to the dyed plastic film traditionally used to cover up car windows. Window film became popular in the 70s when few other options were available. Standard window tint does little to block out heat, and is an option only for keeping sunlight at bay. Ceramic tint, on the other hand, does both, and is better at blocking sun than standard tint.

Smart Tint

Smart tint allows you to alternate between different tint opacity levels at the press of a button. It also comes in multiple colors, making it a great way to tint your windows while also customizing your car’s appearance. However, smart tint is the costliest tint out there, so install with care!

If you’re on a tight budget and need to urgently tint your windows, standard tinting is still a great option. However, if you can afford better technology or prefer saving up for the tint you really want, you should consider ceramic or smart tint!

Final Thoughts

Tint laws exist to protect locals and drivers from road accidents. They also help prevent criminal activity—as it is nearly impossible to see through a very dark tint, criminals can use tinted windows to help avoid detection. Luckily, Michigan’s tint laws were designed to ensure nothing of the sort ever happens.

Plus, tint darkness and reflectivity laws are drafted with the local climate in mind. Adhering to the limits will help you prevent adverse effects from common local weather conditions, such as harsh solar glare. And now that you’re a pro on Michigan tint laws, you can darken your car’s windows while still ensuring personal and community safety.