Tennessee Car Window Tint Laws (Updated)

Tennessee is near the border of what most people consider the American south.  It has a relatively mild climate that can get very sunny in the blink of an eye, sometimes making tinted windows necessary to avoid the bright sun.  But what are Tennessee’s laws for legally tinting your car?

Quick Answer

Most of the front windshield can be darkened enough to allow 70% of light inside.  The part above the AS-1 line, or around six inches from the top, can be any darkness.  All the other windows can be darkened to the point of letting over 35% of light inside.  Tennessee does not permit mirrored or metallic tints.

Let’s dive into the world of tinting and take a deeper look at what Tennessee’s window tinting laws, restrictions, and exceptions are like.  They might surprise you.

Window Tinting in Tennessee – What Does The Law Say?

Why get tints on your car window in the first place?  Well, they have greater privacy than non-tinted windows.  They also block out harmful effects like UV rays and glare from the sun.

Can Windows Be Tinted in Tennessee?

Your windows can be tinted if you live in Tennessee, but from there the question becomes “how should I tint it?”  The best thing to do is do your research into a good professional tint shop, as well as researching which kind of tint works best for you.

Dyed: Dyed tint is the cheapest and most common type.  It’s basically colored dye spread out in multiple layers.  Dyes have a tendency to fade over time and lose their effectiveness, so must be redone every few years.

Carbon: More effective than dyes at blocking out heat, and longer-lasting, carbon tints are made using carbon fiber particles.  Carbon tints are also more expensive than dyes.

Ceramic: This is a very expensive type of tint, but it’s also the most effective.  It will keep out most heat and UV rays, without any drawbacks like being reflective or messing up radio signals.

What Windows Can Be Tinted in Tennessee?

Now we’ll look at the windows themselves, and what Tennessee allows for them.

Front Windshield: The front windshield can be fully tinted, but must allow more than 70% of light to get through.  Any amount of darkness is legal as long as it’s above the AS-1 line.  The AS-1 line is a small etching about six inches from the top of the windshield, usually on the passenger’s side of the windshield.

Rear Windshield: Your rear window can be tinted up to allowing 35% of light through.  You aren’t legally required to have a rear-view mirror on both sides, but I highly recommend it.  A rear-view mirror on both sides is a good idea in case there’s something you’ve missed.

Front Side Windows: Both the driver and front passenger’s side windows can legally be tinted up to letting 35% of light through.  The driver’s side window must have a small sticker between the film and the window to identify legal tinting, and the tint can’t be a reflective type.

Back Side Windows: The back side windows are just like the front windows and rear windshield.  They can be tinted, but not more than letting in 35% of light.  Again, reflective tinting is not allowed in Tennessee.

Restricted Colors: Tennessee has no restrictions on colored tinting, however other states tend to have restrictions on red, yellow, and amber tinting.  This is to avoid confusion with emergency vehicles.

Tennessee Window Tint Law Medical Exemption

Tennessee offers exemptions to the tinting laws.  If you have a condition where exposure to UV rays is hazardous to your health you can get a written statement from your doctor which recommends that you receive an exemption.  The statement is then sent to the transportation department’s medical board for review.  This goes for any rider, not just the driver.

Once approved, you then get a certificate or a decal that indicates how much of an exemption you’re getting that you must keep in or on the car.  It’s also a good idea to keep a copy of your doctor’s statement, just in case.  If you have any questions about tinting or the degrees of exemption, talk to your doctor or contact the Tennessee Department of Transportation.

Frequently Asked Questions About Tennessee Car Tinting Laws

What Does VLT Mean According to Tennessee State Law?

VLT, or Visible Light Transmission, is how we measure the amount of light passing through a lens.  For example, having a VLT of 100% means that there is no obstruction to light while 0% means it will be impossible to see through.

How Much Does Car Window Tinting Cost in Tennessee?

Tinting your car in Tennessee can go for as little as $150 for a basic dye tint on a sedan.  Higher-end tints like ceramic tints start around $400 for a similar car, but if you’re trying to tint an SUV or van expect a higher price.  Basically, bigger windows mean more tint and a higher cost.

Can You Get a Ticket for Tinted Windows in Tennessee?

If your windows are illegally tinted and you’re not from out of state or don’t have an exemption handy, you will be looking at a fine of around $130 to $300.  Police have measuring devices and will check if they think your car window’s too dark.

What Are the Rules for Driving Out of State?

If you’re driving in a different state, you can get pulled over for having illegal tints.  Getting a citation is a more complicated situation, though.  Basically, it depends on multiple factors.  Where your car’s been registered for example, what the tinting laws are for the state you’re in, how often you pass through the state, and so on.  If you’re driving in Tennessee, you should be okay as long as your car is registered in a different state.

How Dark Can Your Windows Be in Tennessee?

The darkest your windows can get is letting 35% of light through for all windows except for the front windshield.  The windshield can have any amount of darkness above the AS-1 line or around six inches from the top.  The windshield can be tinted under the AS-1 line, up to letting 70% of light in.

Is Reflective or Colored Tint Legal in Tennessee?

Reflective tints or rather mirrored and metallic tints are not allowed.  On the other hand, all colored tints are legal in Tennessee.

Wrap Up

Like all laws in America, Tennessee’s laws are flexible and open to change or interpretation.  The best thing to do is do the research on tints and look into getting a reputable professional opinion.  This action will guarantee that your car will not only look good but legally make your vehicle cooler.

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