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Understanding New York State Car Window Tint Guidelines

Posted by Terri B. Kalker | Jun 09, 2024 | 0 Comments

As car enthusiasts and everyday drivers, staying informed about the legalities surrounding vehicle modifications, particularly window tinting, is crucial. In New York State, the laws are specific and strictly enforced to ensure driver and pedestrian safety. Here's a comprehensive guide on New York State car window tint guidelines, covering the legal limits, potential penalties, and how to stay compliant.

Legal Tint Limits in New York

1. Windshield and Front Side Windows:
   - **Windshield:** You can apply a non-reflective tint to the top 6 inches of your windshield, often used to reduce sun glare.
   - **Front Side Windows:** The tint must allow more than 70% of light to pass through, meaning only up to 30% of the light can be blocked by the tint.

2. Rear Windows and Rear Side Windows:
   - Passenger Vehicles: The rear side windows and the rear window must allow at least 70% of light transmission. However, if your vehicle has dual side mirrors, the rear windows can be of any darkness.
   - Multipurpose Vehicles (MPVs):The rear side windows and the rear window can be tinted to any darkness if the vehicle has dual side mirrors.

3. Reflective and Metallic Tints:
   - New York State law prohibits the use of reflective or metallic tints on any windows, applying to both passenger vehicles and MPVs.

Measuring Window Tint

Tint darkness is measured by Visible Light Transmission (VLT) percentage. This indicates the amount of light that can pass through the tint and glass. New York requires a minimum of 70% VLT for front and side windows, ensuring that visibility is not overly compromised.

 Penalties for Non-Compliance

Driving with illegal window tints in New York can lead to significant penalties:
   - Fines: Violating the tint laws can result in fines ranging from $80 to $150 per window. The base fine for a tinted window violation in NYC is typically around $150-$200, varying depending on the specific circumstances of the violation.
   - Inspection Failure: Your vehicle must pass an annual inspection at a DMV-licensed inspection station. Illegal tints will cause your vehicle to fail this inspection until corrected.
   - Traffic Stops: Law enforcement officers use tint meters to measure VLT. If your windows are too dark, you may be pulled over and fined.
   - Repeated Offenses: you are caught with tinted windows in NYC more than once, the fines can increase significantly. Repeat offenders may face fines up to $500 or more, as well as additional penalties such as points on their driver's license or even having their vehicle impounded.

Medical Exemptions

How Do I Get a Window Tint Exemption in NY?

Certain individuals with qualifying medical conditions may get an exemption from the tinting limits. If you have one of the following conditions requiring tinted windows exceeding 30%, fill out the NY Application for Tinted Window Exemption:

  • Albinism
    - Chronic actinic dermatitis/actinic reticuloid
    - Dermatomyositis
    - Lupus erythematosus
    - Porphyria
    - Xeroderma (pigmentosa) pigmentosum
    - Severe drug photosensitivity, provided that the course of treatment causing the photosensitivity is expected to be of prolonged duration
    - Photophobia associated with an ophthalmic or neurological disorder
    - Any other condition or disorder causing severe photosensitivity where a person needs to be shielded from sun rays for medical reasons

The application can be filled out here:

Impact on Insurance

Having tinted windows that violate state laws can also affect your car insurance. If you receive a ticket for illegal window tinting in NYC, your insurance company may consider it a moving violation. This could lead to an increase in your insurance premiums, as insurers typically view moving violations as indicators of higher risk and potentially unsafe driving behavior.

Staying Compliant

To avoid penalties and ensure safety, it's essential to adhere to the window tint guidelines. Here are a few tips:
   - Use Legal Tints: Ensure that any tint applied to your windows complies with New York State laws.
   - Annual Inspections: Regularly have your vehicle inspected and rectify any issues with window tints before your annual inspection.
   - Stay Informed: Laws can update, so regularly check the New York State DMV website for any changes to the window tint guidelines.

Adhering to New York State's car window tint guidelines is vital for safety and compliance. Understanding the legal limits and potential penalties helps you make informed decisions about tinting your vehicle's windows. For more detailed information or legal assistance, contact Terri Kalker at for expert guidance on staying within legal boundaries while enjoying the benefits of window tints.

About the Author

Terri B. Kalker

I have been successfully defending motorists accused of all types of moving violations. Regardless of the charge, we realize it is important to you and we treat it so. My staff are all professional and at your service as soon as you call. We maintain extended business hours for your convenience. ...


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