What’s the Darkest Legal Tint?

Tinting your car’s windows and windshields brings with it plenty of benefits. That’s why people will go to such lengths to darken their car windows. You can check this window tint comparison to know how these films not only change your car’s appearance but also improve your driving experience.

When it comes to putting tint on car windows, it’s important that you don’t overdo it. You see, tinting your windows too dark is illegal in certain circumstances.

What Does Darkest Legal Tint Mean?

You can’t just decide whether or not a tint is illegal because it’s too dark. You need a baseline or a measurable common denominator to determine whether a window’s tint is too dark or not.

The darkest legal tint refers to the darkest permittable tint on windows or windshields while still providing the driver with a safe level of visibility. It is measured according to the percentage of light that passes through a car’s windows.

The darker the windshield, the less light can pass through it. As such, it can reduce the visibility inside the vehicle and lead to accidents.

To accurately measure the light that passes through the windshield, you need a light meter. If direct sunlight can get inside the vehicle unhindered, like in clear windshields, the light meter will display 100 percent. On the other hand, if no amount of sunlight passes through the window, the light meter will show a reading of zero.

Legal Window Tint Per State

Different states have different laws on road safety. Because of this, the darkest legal tint allowed on your windshield will depend on which state you’re in. You can refer to the quick guide below to determine the percentage of a state’s darkest legal tint.


In California, the darkest legal tint is at 70 percent for the front windshield and front side windows. Additionally, you can only legally apply the tint four inches from the top of the windshield. For the rear side windows and rear windshield, there are no restrictions for tinting, so you can apply any darkness of tint you prefer.

California law states that the reflection on the tint should be at the same level as a reflective window. Moreover, keep in mind that you are not allowed to install red, blue, or amber tints.


Texas allows as low as 25 percent dark tint for both the front and rear side windows. The same tint can also be legally applied to the front windshield. However, you’ll have to make sure it’s five inches from the top or right at the AS-1 line, whichever comes first.

The tint should also be 25 percent reflective or lower. There are no restrictions for the rear windshield, as long as the tint you use is not red, blue, or amber.


Florida is just a little stricter than Texas, allowing as low as 28 percent darkness for the tint of front side windows and front windshield. However, the rear side windows and rear windshield can go as low as 15 percent dark.

If the tint is non-reflective, you can install it on the front windshield above the AS-1 line. If it’s reflective, it must be installed below the AS-1 line and should be less than 25 percent reflective.


The window tint you can use in the state of Illinois should be non-reflective and installed six inches from the top of the front windshield. Compared to others, Illinois allows 35% darkness or higher for the front and rear side windows as well as the rear windshield.

New York

New York is quite a busy state with a record of 4.8 million private and commercial vehicles in 2016. That’s why their darkest allowable tint for the front and rear side windows is at 70 percent. Plus, you can install the tint on the entire front windshield, but it must not be metallic or mirrored. Moreover, the state of New York holds no restrictions for rear windshield tints.


Michigan is perhaps the least strict when it comes to window tints. They don’t have darkness restrictions for front and rear windshields, as well as front and rear side windows.

However, the tint can only be applied four inches from the top of the front window and four inches from the top of the front windshield. Additionally, the tint should be less than 35 percent reflective.

It’s All About Safety

Window tinting is one of the most common car upgrades you can do without spending thousands. Aside from the upgrade in the car’s visual appeal, glare reduction also enhances road safety.

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