Car window tinting is a popular modification among vehicle owners in Texas, offering benefits like reduced glare, increased privacy, and protection from harmful UV rays. However, Texas has specific laws regulating the degree of tint allowed on different windows of a vehicle. These laws aim to ensure the safety and visibility of all drivers on the road. This comprehensive guide will focus on Texas car window tinting laws, detailing the regulations, exemptions, enforcement, and penalties associated with non-compliance.

Texas Window Tinting Regulations

Understanding the regulations regarding window tinting in Texas is crucial for compliance and avoiding fines. The Texas Transportation Code, Section 547.613, outlines the permissible levels of tint darkness and reflectivity for various vehicle windows.

Visible Light Transmission (VLT)

The Visible Light Transmission (VLT) percentage is the primary metric used to measure the darkness of window tint. It indicates the amount of visible light that can pass through the window and the tint film. Here are the specific VLT requirements for different windows on a vehicle:

  • Front Windshield: Only a strip of non-reflective tint along the top of the windshield is allowed. This strip must not extend lower than the AS-1 line or five inches from the top of the windshield, whichever is shorter.
  • Front Side Windows: Must allow more than 25% of light in (i.e., a VLT of 25% or higher).
  • Back Side Windows: Any darkness can be used.
  • Rear Window: Any darkness can be used.


Reflective tints can cause visibility issues for other drivers, so Texas law also regulates the reflectivity of window tint:

  • Front Side Windows: Must not be more than 25% reflective.
  • Back Side Windows: Must not be more than 25% reflective.

Medical Exemptions

Texas allows for medical exemptions to window tinting laws for individuals with specific medical conditions that require reduced exposure to sunlight. To qualify for a medical exemption, the following steps must be taken:

  1. Medical Documentation: Obtain a signed statement from a licensed physician or optometrist detailing the medical necessity for darker tinting.
  2. Application: Submit the medical statement to the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) for review.
  3. Approval: If approved, the exemption must be carried in the vehicle at all times.

Enforcement of Tinting Laws

Law enforcement officers in Texas are equipped with devices to measure the VLT of a vehicle’s windows during routine inspections or traffic stops. Here’s how the enforcement process works:

  1. Inspection: Officers may conduct a visual inspection and use a light transmission meter to measure the VLT of the windows.
  2. Assessment: If the tint is found to be darker than the legal limit, the officer will issue a citation.
  3. Penalties: The driver will be required to correct the tint to comply with the law and may face fines.

Penalties for Non-Compliance

Non-compliance with Texas window tinting laws can result in several penalties, including fines and mandatory removal of the non-compliant tint. The severity of the penalties can vary based on the circumstances and whether it’s a repeat offense. Here are some potential consequences:

  • First Offense: Typically, a warning or a small fine.
  • Subsequent Offenses: Increased fines, potential court appearances, and mandatory tint removal or adjustment to meet legal standards.

Common Myths and Misconceptions

There are several misconceptions about Texas window tinting laws. Here are a few common myths and the corresponding facts to clear up any confusion:

  1. Myth: Any level of tint is allowed if it’s professionally installed. Fact: Professional installation does not exempt a vehicle from the legal VLT requirements.
  2. Myth: Only the front windshield has restrictions. Fact: Both the front side windows and the windshield have specific VLT and reflectivity requirements.
  3. Myth: Medical exemptions are automatically granted. Fact: Medical exemptions require detailed documentation and approval from the DPS.

Choosing a Compliant Tinting Service

To ensure your vehicle’s window tint complies with Texas law, it’s essential to choose a reputable tinting service. Here are some tips for selecting the right service provider:

  1. Check Credentials: Ensure the service provider is licensed and knowledgeable about Texas window tinting laws.
  2. Ask About Compliance: Verify that the tint films used meet the state’s VLT and reflectivity requirements.
  3. Review Warranty: Choose a service that offers a warranty on both the tinting film and the installation.

What This Means for Texas Drivers

Compliance with Texas car window tinting laws is crucial for vehicle owners to avoid fines and ensure road safety. By understanding the specific VLT and reflectivity requirements, securing medical exemptions if needed, and choosing a compliant tinting service, drivers can enjoy the benefits of window tinting without facing legal issues. Stay informed and ensure your vehicle’s tint meets Texas regulations to drive confidently and safely.