Massachusetts Car Window Tint Laws (Updated)

Massachusetts is famous for hot summer days, Cape Cod traffic, and the infamous Boston drivers.  This is a state where drivers put up with such obstacles as sun glare and a lack of privacy, so some drivers get legal tinting for their cars.  Here’s how you can, too.

Quick Answer

Your front windshield can be tinted up to the AS-1 line with a non-reflective film.  Any other window can be fully tinted but must let more than 35% of light in, although dual side mirrors are needed if you want to tint the rear window.  The tint can be up to 35% reflective with no colored tints off-limits.

The advantages to getting a tint on your car include less glare, a cooler car, and less exposure to harmful UV rays.  With that in mind, let’s jump in.


Window Tinting in Massachusetts – What Does The Law Say?

If you live in Massachusetts, you might be surprised to know that the state was one of the first to enact tinting laws.  In fact, it was only the third state to enact these laws behind Iowa and Vermont.

Can Windows Be Tinted In Massachusetts?

Tinting your car windows is an action that has benefits and flaws.  If you want to tint your windows, it’s a good idea to do your research into the different kinds of tints and decide what you want.

Dyed is the cheapest tint: If you don’t want to spend a lot of money on window tint, your best option is the basic dyed window tint.  It’s best known for keeping your car a bit cooler.

Metalized tint blocks UV rays: The next most common form of window tint uses small particles of metal.  This helps keep out UV rays, and it can also be combined with dyed tint.

Carbon tint is more expensive, but better for skin health: Okay, now we’re into the fancier tints.  This tint uses, naturally, carbon, and is better at blocking UV rays and keeping your car cool.

What Windows Can Be Tinted in Massachusetts?

So now the question is how to tint your windows.  Massachusetts doesn’t require certified film for the tint, nor are stickers needed to identify legal tinting.  In theory, this means you can do it yourself, but the state recommends you get stickers at least, so keep the paperwork handy.  If you don’t know what you’re doing, it’s definitely a good idea to either do a lot of research or to leave the tinting to the professionals.

Front Windshield: The front windshield can be tinted with a non-reflective tint down to the AS-1 line.  If you don’t know what that is, it’s a small etching usually seen on the passenger’s side of the car.  If you can’t find that, the alternative is six inches from the top of the windshield.

Rear Windshield: The legal requirements in Massachusetts are that a tint on the rear shield must let more than 35% of light in.  Your tint can be reflective, but not more than 35% reflectiveness.  If you tint your rear windshield, the law states that you must have dual side mirrors.

Driver and Passenger Windows: Like the rear windshield, Massachusetts law requires that any tint on the driver and passenger windows should allow over 35% of light in.  The tint should not be more than 35% reflective, to avoid any distraction for other drivers.

Back Side Windows: Massachusetts treats the back side windows like the front door windows.  The tint should let more than 35% of light in, and the tint should not be more than 35% reflective.  This goes for both sedans, i.e., basic cars, and vans/SUVs.

Restricted Colors: Massachusetts has no restrictions on colors.  You can tint your car window any color you like, but be aware that other states tend to have restrictions on some colors, such as red, yellow, and amber tints.

Massachusetts Window Tint Law Medical Exemption

There is one major exemption to Massachusetts’ tinting laws, and that is for medical reasons.  If your eyes are too sensitive to light, you can get a signed form from your doctor stating that you need a darker tint.

The exemption only affects the side and rear windows: You need to be able to clearly see out of your front windshield, so it’s unaffected by the exemption.

You must own or operate the vehicle: The car needs to be registered to the person who is seeking the exemption.  It is possible to waiver this rule, but more information is needed in that case.

Only private passenger vehicles can be exempt: Company vehicles and vehicles that carry passengers for money cannot be exempt from the tinting rules.

Exempt vehicles must have a sticker: Once you get the exemption, you’ll get a sticker to go on your driver’s seat window.  This proves to authorities such as the cops that your car is exempt.

Further questions about medical exemptions: If you have any other questions about medical exemptions that haven’t been answered here, the Massachusetts RMV and Medical Affairs department is available for contact.  If you want to fill out an application for an exemption, the form is available to print online.

Frequently Asked Questions About Massachusetts Car Window Tinting Laws

There are other things to know about the car tinting laws of Massachusetts.  Here are some of the most common questions.

What Does VLT Mean According to Massachusetts State Law?

VLT, or Visible Light Transmission, is the amount of light that passes through something.  It’s measured in a percent, with 0% VLT being completely opaque.  100% VLT means it’s completely see-through.  In Massachusetts, the darkest a window can get is 35%.

How Much Does Car Window Tinting Cost in Massachusetts?

With window tinting, the cost varies a lot.  It all depends on where in Massachusetts you’re going, the type of tint you’re using, and the kind of car you’re trying to tint.  The cheapest tint, a basic dye, on a sedan averages around $270 for the state, and it goes up from there.

Can You Get a Ticket for Tinted Windows in Massachusetts?

Yes, you can be hit with a fine of up to $250 each time unless you get a medical exemption.  If you get a third conviction, your driving license will be suspended for 90 days.  Out-of-state drivers complicate the situation since laws differ from state to state.  The best thing to do is keep informed of Massachusetts’ tinting laws.

What Are the Tinting Laws in Massachusetts for Trucks?

As far as I can tell, the tinting laws on privately owned trucks are the same as for other vehicles.  Keep the tint VLT level above 35% and you should be okay.

Are There Any Other things I Should Know About Massachusetts Tinting Laws?

There are a couple of other things to know about car windows in Massachusetts.  You must use a tint to cover the window rather than something completely opaque, like a curtain.  You also need to be able to see in and out of the window, so any tint or blocker must let a little light through or not cover the whole window.

Wrap Up

The thing about laws is that they are flexible, and can always change.  If you decide to tint your car windows, be sure to check the laws, both local and state-wide, to make sure that you’re following the rules.  Getting a tint removed is possible, but it will also cost you.

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