Iowa Car Window Tint Laws (Updated)

Window tint is a thin laminate film that goes on the windows of your vehicle. Window tint can limit the amount of sunlight that gets through the glass. The darkness of the film is restricted by state law.

Quick Answer

Vehicles registered in Iowa can have their windows tinted. There are laws in place that limit the level of darkness allowed. In Iowa, the front windshield must allow in more than 70% of light. Front side windows must also let in more than 70% of light. There are no limits on the level of darkness you can use on the back side windows and the rear windshield.

State laws are specific about how dark they allow window tint to be. Iowa state laws are the same. Read on to find out what the law says.

Window Tinting in Iowa-What Does the Law Say?

Car tinting laws in Iowa have been in place since 1983. If you follow the regulations set forth by these laws, you can have tinted windows in Iowa.

Can Windows Be Tinted in Iowa?

There are many reasons why car owners want to get their windows tinted. Tinting car windows in Iowa is permitted when following the law.

Vehicle Type: In Iowa, vehicles are divided into two groups. One group is sedans, which includes most small cars. The other group is SUVs and vans, which include trucks. While vehicle type can cause a variance in the level of darkness allowed on certain windows in some states, in Iowa it does not and the laws are the same for all vehicle types.

Tinting benefits: People choose to get their windows tinted for several different reasons. Those reasons can include aesthetics, protection from the sun’s UV rays, and privacy. Whether you have them tinted for

What Windows Can Be Tinted in Iowa?

If you decide to tint your windows for any of the aforementioned reasons, you must tint them according to Iowa state law. The law has specific regulations for different windows on your vehicle. Before you spend a lot of time and/or money getting your windows tinted, familiarize yourself with the law so you don’t have to remove it or get fined.

Front Windshield: On all vehicles from sedans to SUVs, trucks, and vans must allow 70% of light in through the windshield. While researching, there is no mention in Iowa law about the AS-1 line which is the top 4-5 inches of a windshield.  Most states require windshield tinting to stay above that line. However, a graphic indicates that tinting should remain above the AS-1 line.

Back Windshield: The back windshield on all vehicles in Iowa may be tinted to any level of darkness. Side mirrors are not required simply because you have window tinting on your back side windows and the rear windshield.

Front Side Windows: The front side windows on sedans, SUVs, trucks, and vans in Iowa may be tinted to 70%. As far as tint shades go, this is a fairly light tint. There are no special requirements or restrictions listed for the driver’s window.

Back Side Windows: Back side windows of sedans, SUVs, trucks, and vans may be tinted to any level of darkness.

Reflectivity: Iowa state law is not clear when it comes to reflectivity. It says that tinting may not have excessive reflectiveness but does not clarify what is considered excessive. It applies to front side windows and back side windows. 

Restricted Colors: Window tinting comes in different shades and colors. Iowa state law does not prohibit any colors of window tint.

Iowa Window Tint Law Medical Exemption

Certain states allow for medical exemptions. Medical exemptions allow, with proper authorization, darker window tint than the law states. Iowa state law does not allow for new medical exemptions. If you had one in place before July 4, 2012, it will continue to be honored.

No new exemptions: Iowa allows no new medical exemptions on window tint after July 4, 2012. If you have had an exemption put into place before that date, it will remain in effect.

Prior exemption: If you had a medical exemption put into place before July 4, 2012, it will still be honored. The exemption applies to the windshield and front-seat side windows. Even with the medical exemption, the tint may not allow less than 35% light transmittance. Without the exemption, the required light transmission is 70%.

Requirements for prior exemption: Exemptions that were in place before July 4, 2012, had to be proven with documentation from a physician, chiropractor, or optometrist who is licensed to practice in the state of Iowa. Old medical exemptions are only honored on the vehicle for which they were originally issued. For documentation, drivers must carry form 432020.

Frequently Asked Questions About Iowa Car Window Tinting Laws

State laws vary from state to state. Below are some frequently asked questions about Iowa’s window tinting laws.

What does VLT mean According to Iowa State Law? VLT stands for visible light transmission which is how the window tint darkness is measured. The higher the VLT percentage, the more transparent the film is, making it easier to see through from the outside. A lower VLT percentage is darker and can appear opaque from the outside. Therefore, a 10% VLT is darker than a 50% VLT.

How Much Does Car Window Tinting Cost in Iowa? Costs will vary depending on what type of vehicle you have, the size and shape of the windows, and the quality of film you get. You can expect to spend about $200.00 to tint the windows on a four-door sedan. The price will go up on larger vehicles and higher quality window tints.

How Dark Can Your Windows Be in Iowa? In Iowa, your windshield must allow in 70% of light. The front side windows on all types of vehicles must also allow in 70% of light On all vehicle types, back side windows and rear windshields can have tint any level of darkness. No requirements such as dual-side mirrors are needed.

Is Reflective or Colored Tint Legal in Iowa? Window tints can be reflective and come in a variety of colors. Iowa state law has no specific restrictions when it comes to window tint colors. Reflectivity is also measured in percentage but Iowa state law is not specific about this. It says they may not have excessive reflectiveness, but the law does not give a percentage.

Can You Get a Ticket for Tinted Windows in Iowa? If you are stopped for illegal window tint in Iowa, you can get a ticket. Officers have hand-held tint meters that can measure the VLT.  If your windows do not meet the law, the fine for a window tint violation is $127.50. This law can be enforced on drivers from all states.


Iowa state law states what is required and what is allowed when getting your windows tinted. To avoid being ticketed, make sure you follow those laws.

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