Pennsylvania Car Window Tint Laws (Updated)

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

Quick Answer

According to PennDOT, only the top four inches of your front windshield can be tinted to shade the sun. In the state of Pennsylvania, 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 tinted. These numbers apply to SUV’s and vans as well.

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

Window Tinting in Pennsylvania – 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 Pennsylvania?

Windows can be tinted in Pennsylvania as long as you obey the specifications for tinting. One of these rules states that you are not allowed to tint the front windshield, except for the top four inches. 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 Pennsylvania.

What Windows Can Be Tinted in Pennsylvania

Window tinting laws for personal vehicles in the state of Pennsylvania were enacted in 1999. The two factors you’ll need to take into consideration when tinting your sedan or SUV is 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. Tinting to the front windshield your vehicle is only allowed on the top four inches of your front windshield at 70%VLT.

Back Windshield If you need to tint your back windshield rules state that this should also be 70% VLT darkness for sedans. For SUVs and vans, any level of darkness is allowed for back (rear) windshields. As your back windshield is vital when using your rearview mirror to keep safe distances, this tint is meant to give you 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. SUV and van rules state that front passenger side windows must have 70% VLT while the back side windows can be any darkness. 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 Pennsylvania does not explicitly ban colors in its current tint laws.

Pennsylvania 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 Pennsylvania. The Department of Transportation for the state of Pennsylvania will issue certificates of exemptions if the main driver of a household or the regular passengers of the vehicle in question suffers from a condition that the department deems is necessary for the windows to be tinted.

Medical exemption certification: According to the PennDOT a consultation with the Medical Advisory Board is needed to justify the need for the exemption. Obtaining a certificate of medical exemption for window tinting will allow you to use colorless window tint products that filter incoming ultraviolet light.

How to get the certification: For further details on how you can obtain a medical exemption for window tinting, you will have to contact PennDOT’s Medical Unit at (717) 787-9662. The unit will give you detailed instructions on completing the process. At this time there is no online form available to apply for this exemption. It would be prudent to prepare medical certifications and real facts on what your specific needs are.

Frequently Asked Questions About Pennsylvania 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 Pennsylvania.

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

How Much Does Car Window Tinting Cost in Pennsylvania? The state of Pennsylvania is large and you will find that in different areas and counties, 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 $50 (basic tint) to $800 (higher quality or specialty tint) for an average-sized vehicle. 

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

Is Reflective or Colored Tint Legal in Pennsylvania? While there are no rules and regulations in place for color tints since the enactment of the rules in 1999, reflective tints, particularly mirrored and metallic tints, are not allowed on any of your vehicle’s windows in Pennsylvania. 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 Pennsylvania? 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 $110. 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 Pennsylvania guidelines for more information on how to do this within the regulations of your state.

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