Tinted windows have always been a popular look for vehicle owners. Not only does it create a trendy look, but provides passenger safety, a bit of privacy, and interior protection as well.
Most importantly, it does the job to protect you from harmful UV rays and keep the car from going too hot.
Without a doubt, tinting your vehicle’s windows provides many benefits. However, don’t rush into tinting them yet as there are U.S. laws to follow. Depending on the state, having tinted windows is usually legal at a certain level.
In this article, we focus on New York State tint law. As long as you follow these laws, you will be able to drive around legally and safely.
If you are living in the State of New York, this article will help you learn about the allowable tint percentages, the exemptions, and other additional legal information you need to know.
On top of that, I added some good to know information on tinting cost and best reviewed window tint service providers in New York State. Read on to learn more.
Legal Tint in NY
Is Window Tint Legal?
Yes, but only at an allowable percentage. New York tint laws first started in 1991, making New York State the 14th state in the United States to provide laws for tinting. In January 2017, New York State updated the laws and included tinted windows as part of the motor vehicle inspection.
Is 35 tint legal in NY? Or is 20 tint legal in NY? Before getting the answers to these questions, you first need to understand what VLT or Visible Light Transmission is.
The percentage of light that can pass through tinted windows is called the VLT. The higher the percentage, the more sunlight enters the windows, which means the tint is lighter in color.
On the other hand, the lower the percentage, the less sunlight passes through, meaning the tint is darker in color. For instance, a 70% tint is lighter, whereas a 15% tint is darker.
Each U.S. state has its own specific acceptable percentage for both passenger vehicles and multi-purpose vehicles.
New York Tint Laws
How Dark Can Tint Be In NY?
Not all windows have the same permitted VLT. With this in mind, it means the front, side, and rear may have different percentages.
According to Section 375 (12-a) as stated in the New York State Senate Vehicle and Traffic law, the passenger car windows should be:
- Windshield– At least 70% of sunlight must pass through the windshield. If the windshield blocks more than 30% of outdoor light, it is not allowed.
- Front Side Windows – At least 70% of sunlight must pass through the front side windows.
- Rear Windows– At least 70% of sunlight must pass through the rear windows. Less than 70% is allowed as long as the vehicle has side mirrors on the left and right sides, which gives a comprehensive view of the surroundings behind.
- Rear Side Windows– At least 70% of sunlight must pass through the rear window if the vehicle is a convertible, coupe, hardtop, hatchback, sedan, and station wagon.
NYS Tint Exemption
How to Get around NYs Tint Law
All cars registered in New York State should strictly abide by the New York tint laws. If you break these laws, you will pay a $150 penalty for illegal tinting if you are caught by a law enforcement officer. So, always make sure that you go through and pass the annual vehicle inspection to prevent such penalties.
However, there are a few exemptions that will allow you to get around the tint laws. Listed below are the medical conditions that permit you to have darker tinted windows as stated by the Department of Motor Vehicles.
- chronic actinic dermatitis/actinic reticuloid
- lupus erythematosus
- medical conditions resulting in severe photosensitivity
- photophobia related to an ophthalmic or neurological disorder
- severe drug photosensitivity
- xeroderma (pigmentosa) pigmentosum
If you have any of these medical conditions, you can apply for an exemption by completing the New York DMV – Application for tinted window exemption.
On the first page of the form, the applicant needs to fill out the necessary information on vehicle registration. The second page of the form is to be completed and signed by a doctor, nurse practitioner, or assistant physician.
How to Pass Inspection with Tinted Windows NY
You will pass the NYS vehicle inspection with tinted windows as long as you strictly follow the required VLT percentage. For easy guidance, just remember to allow at least 70% of outdoor light to pass through all your windows.
Vehicle inspectors use a tint meter or a light transmittance meter to check the percentage of light passing through.
The tint meter is usually placed on the front, rear, and side windows. After a while, a number will appear on the screen of the tint meter to clearly show the percentage.
To learn more about it, DMV posted an informative video about the New York tint laws on Youtube.
Frequently Asked Questions on NY Tint Laws
Are tinted windows illegal in New York State?
No, it is not illegal. However, keep in mind that there are limitations to the percentage of tint. Read back on the laws mentioned above to know the allowable tint.
Are tinted windshields allowed?
Yes, tinted windshields are allowed, as long as 70% of light can pass through.
Are colored tints legal?
Yes, there are no restrictions on tint colors. Thus, all tint colors are permitted in New York State.
Is tint reflection legal?
Windshields should have a non-reflective tint, whereas the front and rear side windows should not have a mirrored or metallic appearance.
What Is the Cost of Tinting Windows?
The cost of tinted windows varies, depending on the tint brand, number of windows, type of car, and quality. You can choose from ceramic, dyed, or carbon, of which ceramic tint offers the best quality while dyed tint is the most affordable. On average, the cost per window for a sedan is about $50.
For coupe vehicles with specially curved windows, it will cost more than the regular, ranging between more than $100 to less than $500.
For cars with wider windows like SUVs, it can cost up to $750. Generally, the bigger the window, the more tint is needed; thus, the higher the cost.
Where to Get Tinted Windows in New York
New York has several businesses offering window tinting services. Listed below are just a few of the ones with the best reviews on Google, so it is safe to say you can expect quality services. Check out their information below.
1. A Buff and Beyond Performance Car Care
Address: 2661 US-130, Cranbury, NJ 08512, United States
Phone: +1 609-642-8206
2. Tinting 911
Address: 150-36 17th Ave, Whitestone, NY 11357, United States
Phone: +1 347-408-9595
3. Scotty’s Professional Window Tinting
Address: 948 E 53rd St, Brooklyn, NY 11234, United States
Phone: +1 718-209-0884
4. Lora Window Tint
Address: 284 Dyckman St, New York, NY 10034, United States
Phone: +1 646-897-3396
5. Lorenzo Auto Glass Tinting
Address: 4752 Bronx Blvd, The Bronx, NY 10470, United States
Phone: +1 718-994-9100
If you don’t want to be included in the 710,000 tint violators, then it is best to comply with the required tint percentage. Have your trusted car mechanic double-check your vehicle to pass the NYS inspection smoothly.
Keep in mind that rules may change, so always refer to the DMV website or your local law enforcement officers for the latest news.
Are you following these New York tint laws? Let us know how dark your windows are or whether your car is tinted or not in the comments section below. If you have any new information for the fellow readers, share it with us too here.