Everything to Know About Window Tinting Laws in Texas

Every American state has its own government. As a result, each state’s legal proceedings, laws, and regulations are different from those within other areas. This includes the rulings on vehicle window and windshield tint laws.

Many people love tinting their windows to give their vehicle a style edge. Others appreciate darkened windows because they help reduce solar glare and increase motorist privacy. While local authorities do not wholly prevent motorists from tinting their windows, there are certainly a few note-worthy laws concerning the subject.

All vehicle owners should be up to date with local tint darkness rulings. This will help you stay out of trouble with the authorities and maintain a ticket and fine-free lifestyle. In addition, those motorists who often travel out of state should also concern themselves with each state’s rulings on the matter. This is because, as noted previously, window tint laws vary from state to state.

This article will cover all you need to know regarding Texas state window tint laws.

If you’re looking for tint laws for somewhere else, take a look at our article on tint laws by state.

Understanding Tint Law Lingo

Texas window tinting laws are relatively straightforward to understand. However, gaining a hang of the identifying legal tinting lingo will help you better decode these laws:

  • VLT Percentage (%): VLT is short for ‘visible light transmission.’ A window tint’s VLT % determines how light or dark the tint is. Low VLT values imply a darker window film.
  • AS-1 Line: the AS-1 line rests about 5 to 6 inches under your windshield’s upper edge. Some vehicles bear a pre-marked AS-1 line, while others don’t.
Blue Vector Image of the United States With Texas Mapped out in Red

How Dark Can You Tint Your Windows in Texas?

Texas has its own unique tint darkness laws independent from the rulings within other states. This is because Texas’s climate is strikingly different from most US states and demands customized tinting limits. You can find information on tint limits for both passenger and multi-purpose vehicles below:

Texas Tint Laws for Passenger Vehicles

Texas laws for passenger vehicle tints are as follow:

  • Minimum VLT for front side windows: 25%
  • Minimum VLT for backside windows: Any %
  • VLT limit for rear window: Any %, as long as both side mirrors are present. Vehicles without side-view mirrors are limited to 25% VLT.
  • Windshield tint: Must fall above the AS-1 line, or within the first 5 inches below the windshield’s top edge, bearing a 25% reflection limit

Texas Tint Laws for Multipurpose Vehicles

Multi-purpose vehicles include SUVs, vans, and more. Here are the tint limits for multi-purpose vehicles driven in Texas:

  • Minimum VLT for front side windows: 25%
  • Minimum VLT for backside windows: Any %
  • VLT limit for rear window: Any %, as long as both side mirrors are present. Vehicles without side-view mirrors are limited to 25% VLT.
  • Windshield tint: Must fall above the AS-1 line, or within the first 5 inches below the windshield’s top edge

Tint Reflection Limits for Texas Vehicles

Both passenger cars and multi-purpose vehicles must adhere to the following tint reflection limits:

  • Front side, backside, and rear tinted windows: 25% maximum reflectivity
  • Windshield: 25% maximum reflectivity limit

What the Texas Tint Law Prohibits

Red USA Texas State Stamp

Texas’ tint laws aren’t limited to determining darkness and reflection standards. They also include the following points:

  • Red, blue, and amber unique tinted windows are not permitted
  • All tint films bought and sold within Texas must be certified by the manufacturer. Using illegal tints may land you in trouble with the police
  • Motorists requiring specially-colored window tints may appeal to the state for permission. However, they must have a valid medical reason to support their claim

Medical Exemptions

Though Texas’ tinted window laws are pretty strict, there is still some room for adjustment. For example, motorists with chronic medical conditions worsened by harsh sunlight can apply for a window tint exemption application. Once granted permission from the state, vehicle-owners with medical reasons can increase their car’s window tint darkness.

Generally, individuals with the following conditions are allowed to exceed the state’s VLT % limits:

  • Vitiligo
  • Albinism
  • Dermatomyositis
  • Xeroderma pigmentosum
  • Lupus and related chronic autoimmune illnesses

After receiving legally approved exemption from the state department, you can tint your windows as dark as you need to. However, motorists flaunting a heavily tinted car without a proper medical license can expect a fine for violating the law.

Penalties for Non-Compliance of Texas Tint Laws

Non-compliance with Texas tint laws can land you in a sticky situation. Violating vehicle tint darkness rules and regulations is a serious offense and will be treated as one.

Upon violation of these laws, expect to be fined for any amount up to $275 (including court costs). Of course, first-timers have things much easier. If it’s your first time violating local tint laws, expect to pay between $20 and $25. Local authorities will also expect you to remove your excessively dark window tint and replace it with a suitable alternative. However, fine charges will increase if you don’t follow suit and are caught by the police again. The exact amount depends on how many previous tickets you have and whether or not you’ve been called to court.

Getting a ticket for something as mundane as a tint will show poorly on your record. So, we suggest you comply with local laws to stay out of trouble altogether.

Benefits of Car Tint in Texas

  • Texas is a sunny state, which is why it helps to have light-filtering tinted windows in your vehicle. Tinted windows help cars stay cool on the inside.
  • Tinted windows also improve motorist privacy, though look for the best possible window tint for your vehicle to ensure your privacy stays intact if you’re stuck in a nasty traffic jam.
  • Continuous exposure to harsh sunlight can eventually cause skin cancer or related diseases. Luckily, installing tinted window screens can help reduce your chances of developing a chronic skin condition.
  • Solar glare can make driving immensely challenging. It’s difficult to see the road clearly when the sun is right in your eyes! Luckily, tinted windshields can help your eyes stay clear of the harsh effects of solar glare. This can ultimately improve your driving experience and make it safer for you and everyone else on the road.

Types of Windshield Tints

Outside View of Black Long-Form Car With Tinted Windows

Tinted windshields can help you steer clear of road accidents by blocking off the sun’s harsh rays.

The market is brimming with all kinds of windshield tints. The two most common options are ceramic tint and smart window tint. Feel free to select one that suits you best and agrees with your wallet, too.

Conclusion

Texas’ tinted window laws are pretty lenient but shouldn’t be taken lightly. Anyone found violating these laws will be pulled over and fined. Luckily, the information provided above can help you stay out of trouble.

Texas laws allow you to darken your car’s rear side windows fully. So, if you’re a fan of dark tints, you can take advantage of this lenient ruling and go all-out!

If you’re not from Texas but you want to tint your car windows, you have to do your research first. The laws of each state differ and if you get sloppy, you might get a fine. A comprehensive table with all the states and their respective window tint laws is available right here.

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