Window Tinting Laws
Texas Tint Laws
Each state has its own laws regarding how to tint windows and windshields on vehicles, and Texas is no different. Texas tint laws are unique to the state and differ slightly for various automobile types. Generally, strict guidelines exist for the visible light transmission (VLT) — which is the percentage of light that legally must be able to pass through the tint — and the tint's reflectiveness. A higher VLT means more light can pass through the window. A window with a 5% VLT, for example, only allows 5% of light to pass through, making it a very dark tint. On the other hand, a 50% VLT means 50% of light can pass through the window, so it is much lighter.
Is Window Tint Legal in Texas?
Tinted windows are legal in Texas — so long as they follow regulation. Failure to abide by these rules can result in a misdemeanor charge. Texas tint laws are slightly different for sedans, which are considered passenger vehicles, and SUVs, which are multi-purpose automobiles. These laws also differ somewhat based on the location of the windows.
Generally, 25% is the magic VLT percentage for sedans, but it can vary based on the window’s location and the existence of side mirrors. Here are the specs for each type of window:
- Windshield: Only the space above the AS-1 line can be tinted up to 25% VLT. If no AS-1 line exists, only the top 5 inches of the windshield can be tinted, and the tint cannot be less than 25% VLT. The amount of light reflected in the tinted area cannot exceed 25%.
- Front seat windows: The driver’s and passenger’s side windows can be tinted 25% VLT or higher.
- Back seat windows: If the car has side mirrors, there is no limit to how dark the back seat windows can be. However, without side mirrors, the back seat windows must allow at least 25% of light to pass through.
- Rear window: Just like the back seat windows, the rear window has no limitation on tint darkness if there are side mirrors. In the absence of side mirrors, the rear window cannot have a tint darker than 25% VLT.
A 3% variance is permitted, meaning the VLT can be 3% darker or lighter than 25% without violating the law.
While there are slight differences regarding Texas tint laws for multi-purpose vehicles, the requirements are very similar to those of passenger vehicles. Here are those regulations:
- Windshield: At least 20% VLT is required in the area above the AS-1 line or in the top 5 inches of the windshield. The tinted area cannot reflect more than 25% of light.
- Front seat windows: Both driver’s and passenger’s side windows can have tint darkness of up to 25%.
- Back seat windows: The side windows in the back have no limits on tint darkness.
- Rear window: There is no limit on the tint darkness of the rear window either, so long as the vehicle has side mirrors. If these mirrors are not present, the rear window cannot be tinted less than 25% VLT. Anything higher than that — such as 35% VLT — is fair game.
Like with passenger vehicles, multi-purpose vehicles are also allowed a 3% VLT variance.
Stickers and Colors
Texas window tint laws require each vehicle to have at least one window tint label regardless of how many of the car’s windows are tinted. The label must:
- Contain information on the VLT and light reflection percentage for the tinted windows.
- Contain a statement that the light transmissions and reflection abide by Texas window tint laws.
- Be conspicuous and legible.
- Be placed on the bottom right side of the driver’s side window.
- Be placed in-between the film and the glass.
Including a second label on the passenger’s side is optional.
Under Texas window tint regulations, there are also restrictions on the tint’s color. Any shades of red, amber or blue are prohibited.
Is Window Tint Legal in Texas?
There are three notable exceptions to Texas tint laws:
- Law enforcement vehicles
- Valid medical reasons
- Passenger transports
Law enforcement vehicles include any automobile maintained by a law enforcement agency. These cars must also be used explicitly for law enforcement purposes to avoid violating the law.
Medical exemptions no longer require a certificate of exception. Therefore, you don’t need to apply for and await approval of a certificate of exemption for medical reasons. However, you still need to prove your windows are tinted outside of the legal requirements due to a legitimate medical reason. Luckily, a signed doctor’s note can act as a certificate of exemption.
The signed note must state information for the person in the car who requires the exempted tinting. It must also state the medical professional’s opinion on why additional tinting is necessary.
This note must be in the car at all times so it can be shown to law enforcement during any traffic stops. It should be on hand during annual vehicle inspections as well.
Vehicles used for passenger transports are also exempt from Texas window tint laws. These include any automobile that transports multiple people for a fee, such as paid limousines, public transportation and taxis. Commercial vehicles are included in this exemption so long as they have a license or permit from a local authority.
Choose EWT for Your Window Tints
If you’re looking for the perfect combination of style and affordability, look no further than EWT. Our window tints are just the beginning of what we offer to help you personalize your vehicle — both inside and out. Our products can be removed and changed as often as you’d like, allowing you to let your creativity fly.
If you have questions about the process — or about any of our products — feel free to get in touch by contacting us or filling out the online contact form.
DISCLAIMER: This information is not provided by legal professionals and is intended only to complement, and not replace or contradict, any legal advice or information provided by your state or legal professionals. The information covered in this resource does not necessarily reflect those of EWT and/or its affiliates. If you have any questions, please contact your local state authorities and/or an attorney or other legal professional.