Maryland Car Window Tint Laws (Updated)

Tinting your car might seem like it will be easy, but there are a lot of laws and regulations that vary from state to state.  In Maryland, failure to follow these laws could cost you a lot.  But what does Maryland’s law say about tinting?

Quick Answer

How dark your car windows can get depends on what you’re tinting.  A regular sedan’s windows must allow more than 35% of light in, while a van or an SUV can have the back side and rear windows tinted any amount of darkness.  The front windshield of all vehicles can have a non-reflective tint up to letting 35% of light in.  This tint can only go on the top five inches or down to the AS-1 line.  Metallic and mirrored tints are not allowed.

Here’s a handy guide to tinting your car windows in Maryland.  What to do, what to avoid, and answers to some of your biggest questions.

Window Tinting in Maryland – What Does The Law Say?

Getting your car windows tinted in Maryland or any other state is usually done for privacy or protection from harmful UV rays.  Whatever the reason, this article is for you.

Can Windows Be Tinted in Maryland?

The good news is that you can tint your windows in Maryland!  But one of the first things you need to decide is what kind of tint you want to use.

Dyed: Dyed tints are not only the cheapest option, but they’re easy to apply.  They’re made by injecting layers of dye into a film put on your car windows.

Carbon: This tint has the advantages of being non-reflective and less prone to fading.  It’s also more expensive than metallic or dyed tints.

Ceramic: Ceramic tints are among the most expensive, but they’re the most effective at blocking UV rays and heat.

What Windows Can Be Tinted in Maryland?

When it comes to tinting laws, car windows are divided up into categories.  These categories are the front windshield, front side windows, back side windows, and the rear window or rear windshield.  Let’s take a closer look at Maryland’s window tinting rules.

Front Windshield: The front windshield can have a non-reflective tint of up to 35% VLT, or letting 35% of light in.  This tint is allowed on the top five inches of the windshield, or down to the manufacturer’s AS-1 line.  The AS-1 line is a small etching usually found on the passenger’s side of the windshield around six inches down.

Front Side Windows: A tint on the driver’s and passenger’s side windows must let up to 35% of light through.  This goes for sedans, vans, and SUVs.  The tint cannot be metallic or reflective, to avoid any problems with reflected glare.

Back Side Windows: How much you can tint the back side windows depends on the kind of vehicle.  The windows on a regular sedan can let 35% of light in.  If the vehicle is a van or an SUV, you can do any amount of darkness.

Rear Window: Like the back side windows, the rules for tinting the rear window depend on the kind of vehicle you’re tinting.  A sedan can be darkened to allow 35% of light in, while a van or SUV can do any amount of darkness.  Maryland has two more rules for tinting the rear window, however.  If you tint the rear window, you need a rear-view mirror on both sides of the car to cover any blind spots.  Also, the brake lights in the window must not be covered by tint.

Restricted Colors: Maryland has restrictions on three different colored tints.  Amber, red, and yellow tints are illegal because they are easily mistaken for emergency vehicles in the right light.

Maryland Window Tint Law Medical Exemption

If you have a skin or eye condition that makes exposure to too much light dangerous, Maryland a medical waiver to make your window tint darker than the legal limit.  Here’s how you can get one.

Needing a waiver: Maryland’s exemptions include skin and eye conditions like Lupus. Bloom syndrome and Albinism.  Sensitivity to bright lights will not get you a waiver, since that can be helped by sunglasses.

Filling out a form: If you have a condition that makes a darker tint necessary, you and your doctor or optometrist must fill out a form explaining why you need that tint.  Additionally, your doctor must be licensed in Maryland.

Exemptions do not affect the front windshield: You need to be able to see out of the windshield to drive, so the windshield is not affected by the waiver.

Only the car’s owner can drive: The waiver only applies to the car’s owner or owners and primary drivers.  Once the darker tint is applied, only they may drive it.

Keeping your waiver: Once your waiver is approved, you must keep a copy in your vehicle at all times.  Keeping it in the glove compartment is a good idea.  Your doctor can also request a copy of the waiver.

Frequently Asked Questions About Maryland’s Car Window Tinting Laws

Here are some common questions about tinting your car in Maryland.

What Does VLT Mean According to Maryland’s State Law?

Visible Light Transmission, or VLT for short, is how we measure the amount of light that goes through something like glass.  It’s measured by percentage, with 100% as no tint, while 0% as completely tinted.  VLT can be measured with a special tool that’s carried by police officers, so they can tell when a tint is too dark.

Can Trucks in Maryland Get Their Windows Tinted?

Yes, it’s legal to tint truck windows in Maryland.  They are in the same category as vans and SUVs, so the front windows can be tinted to 35% VLT.  The rear window can be any shade of darkness if the truck has a rear-view mirror on both sides.

How Much Does Car Window Tinting Cost in Maryland?

The price of car tinting varies depending on how much you want to tint, what kind of car you’re tinting, and what kind of tint you want to use.  For context, tinting a sedan’s windows with a basic dyed tint costs at least a couple of hundred dollars.  The cost goes up if you’re tinting a van or an SUV.

Can You Get a Ticket for Tinted Windows in Maryland?

If you get caught with an illegal tint on your windows, you’ll most likely get charged with a traffic offense and get a SERO, or Safety Equipment Repair Order.  This is an order to get the tint fixed within ten days and to get a certification that the tint has been fixed to the police within 30 days.

Are There Any Other Things I Need to Know About Tinted Windows in Maryland?

There are two more things you should be aware of when tinting.  The first thing is that Maryland requires tints to be certified by the manufacturers.  The second is that stickers aren’t required to identify legal tinting, but the state recommends you get one for each tinted window.

Wrap Up

Maryland’s tinting laws are accurate as of the date this was written, but laws can be changed.  Do your research before you get a tint, both on the state and the local level.  It might save you trouble in the future.

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