North Carolina Window Tint Laws 2022 Explained

North Carolina has one of the most profound and strategic legal justice systems in the US. This ethic extends into its tint laws, too, which were designed with NC’s local climate in mind. However, despite the strictness of most local rules, you’ll find North Carolina’s tint laws to be quite accommodating.

Remember, every US state has its own rules and regulations for window tint laws. For example, tinting laws in Virginia will differ from tinting laws in Georgia. We’ll explore these in detail below.

It’s essential to go over your state’s tint laws to understand how to tint your vehicle. This is especially important if you frequent other states by car. Every state has unique rules, and you’ll need to ensure you update your vehicle’s tints accordingly. Failing to do so can land you in hot water with the police!

Luckily, this article covers everything you need to know about North Carolina tint laws.

State of California with USA Flag Colors

Understanding Tint Law Lingo

Before we explore NC tint laws, let’s take a minute to understand essential tint law vocabulary. Here are some keywords to familiarize yourself with:

  • VLT Percentage (%): VLT (visible light transmission) is measured in percentages. The lower the VLT value, the less light the tint will let in. In other words, darker tints have low VLT values.
  • Front-Side and Rear-Side Window Tint Level: ‘Front-side window tint level’ coincides with the VLT value for your vehicle’s forward window pair. ‘Rear-side window tint level’ indicated the same, but for your car’s back windows instead. Do not confuse ‘rear-side’ with ‘rear window,’ though!
  • Rear Window Tint Level: This value indicates the VLT% of the tint on the single back window (opposite to your car’s windshield).
  • AS-1 Line: This line lies 5 to 6 inches below your windshield’s top edge. Some windshields maintain a pre-marked line, but this isn’t always the case. You can easily measure your AS-1 line yourself if needed.

How Dark Can You Tint Windshield and Windows in NC?

Man Applying Window Tint to a Grey Car

Tired of facing the harsh, unfiltered sunlight? Find out if you can tint your windshields. Once you find out, install a set of new window tinting to beat the heat!

NC Tint Laws for Passenger Vehicles

Here are the basics on tint darkness limits in North Carolina:

  • Minimum VLT for front windows: 35%
  • Minimum VLT for backside windows: 35%
  • VLT limit for rear window: 35%
  • Windshield tint: Must fall above the AS-1 line, or within the first 5 to 6 inches below the windshield’s top starting point

NC Tint Laws for Multipurpose Vehicles

Multipurpose vehicles, like SUVs and vans, have their NC tint laws. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Minimum VLT for front side windows: 35%
  • Minimum VLT for backside windows: Any %
  • VLT limit for rear window: Any %
  • Windshield tint: Must fall above the AS-1 line, or within the first 5 to 6 inches below the windshield’s top starting point

Tint Reflection Limits for NC Vehicles

Excessively window reflection tints can encourage solar glare, ultimately raising the chances of car accidents. So, to ensure driver safety, NC law allows a maximum of 20% reflectivity. This limit applies to both sedans and multipurpose vehicles. Therefore the safe option for car window tinting will be a non-reflective tint, which law enforcement authorities can always confirm.

North Carolina can get pretty sunny during summertime, making it essential to adhere to these reflectivity guidelines. North Carolina Window tint is, therefore, a bit more adapted in the car windows and window tint darkness law.

Types of Windshield Tints

There are plenty of fantastic windshield tint options available in the market. Though all of them serve the same fundamental purpose, you’ll find they’re slightly different in terms of manufacturing. Plus, every tint type maintains a unique price tag. So, if you’re on a budget, consider going over all the options before selecting one. Browsing the market can help you find a tint that perfectly matches your requirements and agrees with your wallet!

Popular windshield tint options include ceramic tint and bright window tint. Though somewhat pricey, both options yield excellent results and are certainly worth every cent.

What the NC Tint Law Prohibits

North Carolina Stamp on a Wooden Background Texture with USA Flag Color

Of course, for every permission, there is a certain limitation. Here’s a quick overview of what the NC tint law prohibits:

  • Driving without dual side mirrors is a criminal offense if your back windows are tinted. It doesn’t matter how dark the tint is; you either ensure your side mirrors work or remove the tint.
  • Red-, amber-, and yellow-colored tints are not permissible. However, you can employ a tint variance of up to 3% (maintaining a maximum of 32% VLT)

Medical Exemptions

Certain medical conditions can grant you leverage against the aforementioned standard Carolina window tinting laws. For example, people with disorders affected by sunlight exposure can allow them to darken their window tint. If this sounds like you, be sure to consult the local DMV for help.

If the local authorities agree that your condition requires extra-dark tints, you’ll be issued a medical exemption permit. These permits are valid for up to five years and are accompanied by a medical exception sticker. Failure to paste this sticker upon your windshield can lead to trouble with the law.

People with the following conditions are generally granted a medical exemption against standard tint laws:

  • Vitiligo and albinism
  • Xeroderma pigmentosum
  • Lupus
  • Photosensitive chronic autoimmune diseases

Penalties for Non-Compliance of NC Tint Laws

Failure to comply with local NC tint laws will land you in trouble. Here’s a summary of what this could mean for you:

  • A fine of up to $50
  • Accompanying court costs of up to approximately $140
  • Suspension of driver’s license
  • Violating local tint laws qualifies as a Class 2 offense

Benefits of Car Tint in NC

Close-Up of Window Tint Application

Here are some additional benefits of tinting your windows in NC:

  • Tinted windows can afford you privacy from other cars that are on the road
  • Darkening your windows and windshield can reduce chances of experiencing solar glare (as long as you adhere to the 20% reflectivity limit!)
  • Continuous sunlight exposure can cause chronic illnesses, like skin cancer. Darkening your windows can help you steer clear of such illnesses. North Carolina is a pretty sunny state, after all!
  • Many people prefer tinting their windows to improve their vehicle’s aesthetic. Some say tinted vehicles look sharp and sleek, especially if they have an all-over black body.

Window Tint Reflection Laws in North Carolina

Whether you’re doing it to look stylish or prevent skin cancer, there’s no denying that tinting your windows has many benefits. Just be sure to stick to the guidelines listed above. 

It may not seem like a big deal at first, but excessively dark window tints pose a safety risk. For example, if there were no tint laws, criminals would likely darken their windows as much as possible. As a result, nobody would be able to peak into their vehicles, allowing them to get away with most crimes! Luckily, NC tint laws ensure no car window is dark enough to facilitate kidnapping or allow the driver’s identity to be hidden. As a result, these tint rules and regulations keep us safe and criminal activity at bay.

So, if you feel like these tint laws are challenging to work with (or cramp your style), remember that they’re there for a reason. Following them will guarantee your security and keep others safe, too!

Also, if you regularly travel to other states by road, be sure to read up on their local tint laws, too!