New York Car Window Tint Laws (Updated)

Protecting yourself and your passengers from glare, UV rays and keeping your car cool are just some of the reasons you might want to tint your windows. But are you able to tint your windows in New York?

Quick Answer

In the state of New York, windshield tint and Visible Light Transmission also known as VLT must be at 70% for front side windows and 70% VLT for back windows. Rear windows can be any darkness as long as you are using dual exterior rearview mirrors. These numbers apply to SUV’s and vans as well.

Because the tinting laws in New York are very specific for New York State, we recommend you do careful research before beginning and consult a car detailing company if available.

Window Tinting in New York – 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 New York?

Windows can be tinted in New York as long as you obey the specifications for tinting. These rules 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 New York.

What Windows Can Be Tinted in New York

It’s important to note the laws for tinting in New York were amended in 2017 from its original version created in 1991. The two factors you’ll need to take into consideration when tinting your sedan or SUV are 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. Tint must allow more than 70% of light in and non-reflective tint with any darkness can be used on top 6 inches.

Back Windshield If you need to tint your back windshield rules state that any darkness is allowed as long as you are using dual exterior rearview mirrors. As your back windshield is vital when using your rearview mirror to keep safe distances, this tint allows for the best drive and protection.

Driver Window The driver side window must allow at least 70% of light through, a fairly light shade of tint. Because window tints can also be reflective, taking steps to reduce glare and heat may be necessary. When it comes to reflection regulations, driver-side windows for both sedans and SUV’s cannot be mirrored or metallic.

Passenger and Back Windows For sedans, the front side passenger windows must allow at least 70% of light through while rear side windows must allow at least 70% of light to pass through. This is a very light tint that you could easily see through. Reflection rules are the same as those of the driver window which states no mirrored or metallic tints.

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 New York does not explicitly ban colors in its current tint laws.

New York 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 New York. These include chronic actinic dermatitis/actinic reticuloid, dermatomyositis, albinism, lupus erythematosus, porphyria, xeroderma (pigmentosa) pigmentosum, severe drug photosensitivity, and photophobia. Any other condition or disorder that requires an individual to be shielded from the direct rays of the sun that can cause severe photosensitivity is also exempt.

Medical exemption certification: If you have any of the above-mentioned exemptions, you will need to obtain a certificate. You will need to find the Application For Tinted Window Exemption on the website.This will give you detailed instructions on completing the form as well as where to send it.

Approval: A physician/physician assistant/nurse practitioner/ will have to sign off on the exemption form for it to be validated. They will have to declare that the applicant must take protective measures beyond the normal which include sun-protective clothing, sunscreen, and eye protection devices, in order to drive safely.

Frequently Asked Questions About New York 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 New York.

What Does VLT Mean According to New York 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. New York is strict on VLT so be sure to confirm with the percentages listed in this article. 

How Much Does Car Window Tinting Cost in New York? The state of New York 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, you will spend somewhere in the area of $99 (basic tint) to $400 (higher quality tint) for an average-sized vehicle.

How Dark Can Your Windows Be in New York? Referring to the percentages listed above you will be able to decide which darkness is both right for you and within the regulations for New York. 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 New York, the VLT is 70% making it a very light tint that you can most certainly see-through.

Is Reflective or Colored Tint Legal in New York? While there are no rules and regulations in place for color tints as of the 2017 amendment to the NY window tinting laws, reflective tints, particularly mirrored and metallic tints, are not allowed on 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 New York? 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 of around $150. Some areas claim ticketing as much as $80 per window. These charges can be argued in a court of law but it is unlikely to win these disputes.

Wrap Up

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

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