Illinois Car Window Tint Laws (Updated)

Keeping your car cool in the heat of summer even in the windy parts of Illinois may require some help from your car’s windows. If tinting your windows is the best way to protect your car and passengers from heat and UV rays, then keep reading.

Quick Answer

In the state of Illinois, windshield tint and Visible Light Transmission, also known as VLT, must be at 35% for front side windows and 35% VLT for back windows. The rear window (back windshield) should also maintain a 35% VLT while your front windshield should maintain non-reflective tint on only the top 6 inches of the glass. These numbers vary if you have an SUV or van.

Because the tinting laws in Illinois are very specific to the state of Illinois, we recommend you do careful research before beginning and consult a car detailing compaIllinois if available.

Window Tinting in Illinois – What Does The Law Say?

The law restricts certain levels of tint in different vehicles. Depending on the state in which your car is registered, there will be rules and regulations around what you can and can’t do.

Can Windows Be Tinted in Illinois?

Windows can be tinted in Illinois as long as you obey the specifications for tinting. These rules, which become prevalent in January of 2009, are in place so that law enforcement officials can safely respond to emergencies.

You should not forgo tinting if it is necessary for your health or protection. Excessive UV rays that can be damaging to your skin or health, as well as privacy, are two of the main reasons people choose to tint their windows.

If you are ready to tint your windows, be sure to follow the guidelines listed below for window tinting in the state of Illinois.

What Windows Can Be Tinted in Illinois

For the state of Illinois, the rules and regulations for tinting were enacted in 2009. The two factors you’ll need to take into consideration when tinting your sedan or SUV is darkness and reflection for the different windows of your vehicle.

Front Windshield A major part of your car’s look and performance is in the front windshield. This is where you will probably have the most trouble if your window tint is not at its most optimal level for your needs. Tint darkness is based on Visible Light Transmission also known as VLT. The tint must be non-reflective and can only be on the top 6 inches of your front windshield. This front windshield rule applies to both sedans and SUVs.

Back Windshield If you need to tint your back windshield rules state that darkness is allowed as long as you are using dual exterior rearview mirrors. Your back windshield should have a 35% VLT. As your back windshield is vital when using your rearview mirror to keep safe distances, this tint allows for the best drive and protection according to Illinois law.

Driver Window The driver side window must allow at least 35% of light through, in a sedan and 50% VLT in an SUV or van. When it comes to reflection regulations in Illinois, the rules are not specific but require that driver-side windows for both sedans and SUV’s should be non-reflective.

Passenger and Back Windows For sedans, the front side passenger windows must allow at least 35% of light through while rear side windows must allow at least 50% of light to pass through. For an SUV or van, your front side windows should have a VLT of 50% while the back passenger side windows can be any darkness. Tints must be non-reflective.

Restricted Colors If you are in the market to tint your car windows, you may have come across a variety of colors for tinting. Note that the state of Illinois does not explicitly ban colors in its current tint laws.

Illinois Window Tint Law Medical Exemption

You may have medical reasons for needing to tint your car windows. If this is the case, you should understand that some but not all states allow tinting that’s darker than standard regulation.

Medical reasons for exemption: There are a few outstanding reasons why you might be exempt from tinting rules in the state of Illinois. These include systemic or discoid lupus erythematosus, disseminated superficial actinic porokeratosis, albinism, porphyria, xeroderma pigmetosa, and severe drug photosensitivity. In Illinois other conditions or disorders that require an individual to be shielded from the direct rays of the sun that can cause severe photosensitivity may also be exempt.

Medical exemption certification: It’s important to note there have been changes to the rules regarding medical exemption certificates. As of 2008 you are no longer allowed to simply carry a letter from a medical practitioner. Drivers must now obtain registration plates in addition to the doctor’s letter issued by the filing doctor per the rules of the Secretary of States’ office.

Approval: Tinted window license plates will be issued upon completing the necessary forms and only after they are signed by a physician licensed to practice medicine in Illinois. Requests must be applied for in-person in Springfield or mailed to the Springfield address listed below.

Secretary of State

Special Plates Division

501 S. Second St., Rm. 520

Springfield, Illinois 62756

You can also find more information, on the Secretary of State’s website.

Frequently Asked Questions About Illinois Car Window Tinting Laws

There are a few more questions you may have concerning the tinting of your car windows. Below are some FAQ’s about the rules and regulations regarding tint in Illinois.

What Does VLT Mean According to Illinois State Law? VLT or Visible Light Transmission is the percentage of light that tint film allows to pass through your car windows. With a higher VLT, you can assume more light can pass through. Illinois is strict on VLT so be sure to confirm with the percentages listed in this article.

How Much Does Car Window Tinting Cost in Illinois? The state of Illinois is large and you will find that in different areas and counties and the cost of window tinting will vary. The cost of tinting your windows will also vary depending on what you want to do, the quality of the film, and labor. It was reported in Chicago, Illinois that the average price to tint the windows of a four-door sedan is approximately $260.

How Dark Can Your Windows Be in Illinois? Referring to the percentages listed above you will be able to decide which darkness is both right for you and within the regulations for Illinois. If you are looking at a 35% VLT, you are looking at a somewhat dark tint that you are still able to see through whereas if your VLT is 5% you would hardly be able to see through it. In Illinois, the VLT is 35% and 50% making it a fairly dark tint that you can still see-through.

Is Reflective or Colored Tint Legal in Illinois? While there are no rules and regulations in place for color tints as of the rules enacted in 2009. Illinois window tinting laws, reflective tints, particularly mirrored and metallic tints, are not allowed in any of your vehicle’s windows. Be sure to check with your local detailing shop for the most up-to-date rules on color and reflection tints.

Can You Get a Ticket for Tinted Windows in Illinois? Law enforcement officials are free to question suspected activities if they choose to do so. Possible illegal VLT window tint is one reason why you may be stopped. If you follow the rules you should not get a ticket but if you disobey the tinting regulations you are looking at fines that range from $50-$500. This is also considered a petty offense if you are proven guilty. Repeat offenses can cost from $100-$500.

Wrap Up

There are several reasons you might have for needing window tint. Be sure to check Illinois guidelines for more information on how to do this within the regulations of your state.

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