Minnesota Car Window Tint Laws (Updated)

Car windows are tinted for privacy or for protection from the sun, but the process is regulated by laws that vary from state to state.  In Minnesota, as in every state, tinting laws exist to prevent accidents from happening.  What are Minnesota’s tinting laws like?

Quick Answer

Minnesota doesn’t allow tinting on the front windshield.  The front side windows of all cars must let 50% of light through.  This goes for all other windows on a sedan, with a 3% variance rule, but if you have an SUV or van, the back side and rear windows can have any level of darkness.

Tinting your car in Minnesota is more complicated than it looks.  Here’s a guide to what to do and how to avoid any legal troubles.

Window Tinting in Minnesota – What Does The Law Say?

So, you’re in Minnesota and you want to tint your car windows.  You have two options: either do it yourself or take your car to the professionals.

Can Windows Be Tinted in Minnesota?

Yes, you can get your windows tinted in Minnesota.  The next choice to make is what kind of tint you want to do.  Here are some options.

Dyed: The cheapest and easiest way to tint your windows.  Dyed tints are effective, but they have a tendency to fade out after a few years.

Metallic: Metallic tints are slightly more expensive than dyed, and sometimes combined with them.  They’re reflective, meaning better at keeping heat and UV rays out, but the reflected light can distract other drivers.

Carbon: Carbon tints are more expensive than metallic or dyed.  They come with the advantage of being more effective and longer-lasting than the others.  Carbon is also better at keeping your car cooler.

What Windows Can Be Tinted in Minnesota?

Car windows are usually put into different categories based on their placement.  This is not only for tinting purposes but for inspections and maintenance, too.  Here’s how Minnesota’s windows break down.

Front Windshield: Minnesota does not allow any tint on the front windshield at all.  This is because the tint makes it harder to drive at night.  While this makes harsh sunlight harder to handle, you can use your sun visor to protect your eyes during the day.

Front Side Windows: The front side windows, that is the driver’s and passenger’s side windows, must let more than 50% of light in.  The tint should not be more than 20% reflective.  This goes for sedans as well as vans and SUVs.  The driver’s side window must also have a sticker between the glass and the tint that identifies the tinting as legal.

Back Side Windows: If you have a sedan, you can tint your back side windows to let more than 50% of light in.  For a van or an SUV, any amount of darkness can be used.  The tint on all vehicles must not be more than 20% reflective.

Rear Window: The rear window is treated the same as the back side windows.  They must allow more than 50% of light in on a sedan, but an SUV or van can use any darkness.  A tint must not be over 20% reflective.  Minnesota does not have any requirements for having a rear-view mirror on each side unless the tint obstructs your view, but it is a good idea to have one.

Restricted Colors: Minnesota doesn’t have any banned colors on tints.  With that said, you might want to stay away from red, yellow, or amber tints.  These can be confused with emergency vehicles.

Minnesota Window Tint Law Medical Exemption

If you are particularly sensitive to light, it is possible to get a medical exemption from Minnesota’s tinting rules.  Here’s how it works.

Letter from your doctor: The biggest thing you, as the car’s owner or driver, need when getting an exemption is a statement or prescription from your doctor.  This statement must explain why you need an exemption from the tinting laws and how much darkness you need.  It must also give information about your car, like the model or license plate number.

How to use an exemption: The exemption can be used if it is in the name of either the car’s owner/driver or a passenger.  Your exemption must be kept in the car at all times, like in the glove compartment or clipped on the sun visor.

Renewing your exemption: Your exemption must be renewed every two years after the date on the exemption.  Driving around with an expired exemption will get you in major trouble.

What windows are affected: If you get an exemption, you need to know that it only affects the side and rear windows.  The front windshield should not be tinted at all.  While Minnesota does not have a limit to how dark your other windows can go, your doctor is the one that gets the final word.

Frequently Asked Questions About Minnesota’s Car Window Tinting Laws

Here are answers to some burning questions you may have about tinting in Minnesota.

What Does VLT Mean According to Minnesota State Law?

VLT is short for Visible Light Transmission.  It’s a way to measure how much light passes through a transparent thing, like a piece of glass.  VLT is measured in percentage, so when light passes through an object without any tint in the way, it’s 100% VLT.  There is a way to measure the VLT in your car, so police officers know when your window is too dark.

How Much Does Car Window Tinting Cost in Minnesota?

The cost of tinting your window depends on different factors.  For example, the size of the windows affects the price, as does the kind of tinting you’re using.  A basic dyed tint on a sedan will go for around $225 if you do every window, and the cost goes up for larger vehicles.

Does Minnesota Allow Tinting on Trucks?

Yes, tinting is allowed on pickup trucks.  Minnesota puts trucks are in the same category as vans and SUVs.  So, the back window can have any amount of darkness, the front side windows have to stay at over 50% VLT, and no tint on the front windshield.

Can You Get a Ticket for Tinted Windows in Minnesota?

While Minnesota allows for a 3% variance on window tinting, an illegal tint will get you in trouble.  The state counts illegal tints as a petty misdemeanor, which translates to a fine of around $135.  If your window tint is too dark, it might save a lot of time to get it corrected as soon as possible.

Wrap Up

Minnesota’s tinting laws are accurate as of when this was written, but that doesn’t mean they can’t change.  The best way to go about tinting your car is by doing your research to find out what works best for you.

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