Wisconsin Car Window Tint Laws (Updated)

Tinting your car windows is something done for privacy, keeping harmful UV rays away, or just to keep the car cool. Regulation varies from state to state, like in Wisconsin for example. What are the tinting laws like there?

Quick Answer

Wisconsin does not allow reflective tints.  A tint on the front windshield is good, as long as it doesn’t go below the AS-1 line.  The front side windows must allow more than 50% of light in, while the back side and rear windows must allow more than 35% of light in.  The rules allow for a 3% variance, however.

Here’s a helpful guide to car window tinting in Wisconsin.  We’ll look at the main laws as well as the small but vital things you need to know.


Window Tinting in Wisconsin – What Does The Law Say?

Tinting car windows is essentially putting a film with something dark but see-through over your window.  While it’s cheaper to do this on your own, you’ll get the best results if you let a professional do it.

Can Windows Be Tinted in Wisconsin?

You’ll be happy to know that windows can be tinted in Wisconsin, but the next decision you have to make is what type of tint you want to use.

Dyed: The most commonly used tint, and also the cheapest.  Dyed tints are decent at keeping UV rays and heat out, but will fade after a few years.

Carbon: Carbon tints have more staying power than dyed tints, and are more effective at blocking heat and UV rays.  The main downside is that carbon is more expensive than dyed.

Ceramic: One of the most expensive tints, ceramic is worth the money to some people.  It’s non-reflective, the best at blocking UV rays, and won’t interfere with cell phone signals.

What Windows Can Be Tinted in Wisconsin?

You don’t have to get all your windows tinted; sometimes just one or two will make the difference.  The windows themselves are divided into categories that often have different rules for tinting.

Front Windshield: A non-reflective tint is allowed above the AS-1 line.  The AS-1 line is a small etching usually found on the passenger’s side of the windshield, about six inches down from the top.  If you don’t see it, assume that it’s there.

Front Side Windows: The driver’s and passenger’s side windows can be tinted, but must allow more than 50% of light in.  This goes for both sedans and multi-purpose vehicles, like vans and SUVs.

Back Side Windows: The back side windows must let more than 35% of light in.  Again, this goes for all kinds of cars.

Rear Window: Finally, the rear window must allow more than 50% of light.  If you get the rear window tinted below 60%, you must have a rear-view mirror on both sides of the car.

Restricted Colors: Wisconsin has no colors that are explicitly banned, but there are certain colors you might want to stay away from.  Amber, red, and yellow tints are easily confused with the lights from emergency vehicles, so be careful when using those colors.

Wisconsin Window Tint Law Medical Exemption

Some health conditions make driving a hazard, even with a normal tint.  If you have lupus or albinism, for example, you may be eligible to get an exemption or waiver to the tinting laws.

The waiver has limits: If you get a waiver, you need to know that it only applies to the front side windows.  The windows must not be tinted to let less than 35% of light through.

You need a statement from your doctor: Your doctor needs to write a statement identifying you.  This statement must include what condition you have that needs an exemption, and how long the condition will last.

Info on your car: The statement must also have your car’s make, year, model, and vehicle ID number.  This is to make sure that the right car gets tinted.

What to do with the waiver: A copy of your doctor’s statement must be kept in the vehicle at all times.  The glove compartment is a good choice, so you’ll always know where it is.

Ask your questions: If you have more questions, it’s a good idea to start by asking your doctor.  You can also ask Wisconsin’s Department of Transportation or your local government.

Frequently Asked Questions About Wisconsin’s Car Window Tinting Laws

Here are the answers to some of the most common questions about window tinting.

What Does VLT Mean According to Wisconsin’s Law?

VLT is short for Visible Light Transmission.  It’s how we measure light passing through a clear object, with 100% meaning all light can go through and 0% as the darkest a window can get.  While a window that is completely darkened will get you privacy, it’s also illegal in Wisconsin.

How Much Does Tinting Cost in Wisconsin?

The answer depends on which kind of car you’re tinting and what kind of tint you’re using.  If you’re doing a basic dyed tint on a regular sedan, expect the job to cost at least $200.  The price goes up if you’re tinting a van or an SUV, due to larger windows.

Can Truck Windows Get Tinted in Wisconsin?  And Are the Tinting Laws Different for Trucks?

Truck windows can be tinted, and there is no difference between tinting the windows of a truck and tinting the windows of any other car, van, or SUV. Just make sure your tinting is following the laws and you’ll be all right.

Can You Get a Ticket for Tinted Windows in Wisconsin?

The police carry special devices that let them measure VLT.  If you’re caught with an illegal tint and you don’t have an exemption, you’ll find yourself facing a fine of around $175.30.  Wisconsin also has a 3% variance rule where you can avoid trouble if you’re within 3% of the legal tint.  Still, it is a good idea to stick to the legal limit.

Are There Any Other Things to Know About Tinting in Wisconsin?

Tint makers in Wisconsin don’t need to certify the film that they use.  This is a certificate that says how dark the window is, usually for inspection purposes.  Similarly, you don’t need a sticker on your window to identify legal tinting.  This is a rule in some states, but not Wisconsin.

Wrap Up

Wisconsin’s tinting laws are accurate at the time of writing, but they could change in the future.  Always check to make sure you’re following the laws correctly because it could save you a lot of trouble.

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