Tint Percentage Chart: A Complete Guide to Understanding Automotive Window Tint

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By Tint Legality

Choosing the right automotive window tint can be tricky business. Get the percentage wrong, and you could end up with a ticket or impaired driving visibility. So what do those numbers actually mean? This article will provide a detailed tint percentage chart and recommendations to help you find the perfect shade.

What is Tint Percentage?

The percentage you see associated with window tint refers to the amount of visible light transmittance (VLT) able to pass through the darkened film.

  • VLT percentage is measured as the fraction of external light that can make it through the tint.
  • Higher blocking capabilities mean a lower transmittance percentage.
  • Most laws regulate the darkness limit based on VLT percentages.

So if you see a window tint product advertised as 50% VLT, it means 50% of incoming light successfully goes through. The rest is reflected away, keeping vehicle interiors cooler and shielding passengers from UV rays.

Tint Percentage Chart by State

Window tint legality varies widely across the United States. Here is a summary of the current legal limits:

StateLegal VLT for Front Side WindowsLegal VLT for Back Side/Rear Windows

Medical exemptions may allow darker tint in some cases. For example, photophobia sufferers may qualify for doctor-prescribed 5% VLT film.

Check your local and state statutes to understand specifics about medical waivers. Laws are also subject to change over time.

Recommended Tint Percentages by Vehicle Type

Rules often differ for coupes, sedans, trucks and SUVs. Darker shades in the rear are also typically permitted. Here are suggestions based on vehicle type and climate:


  • Coupes and luxury vehicles – 30% VLT recommended for sleek appearance and heat protection
  • Family/passenger sedans – 35-45% for safety and compliance
  • Hot and sunny locales – 20% rear window VLT to cut heat


  • Work trucks – go as dark as legally allowed
  • Personal pickups – match rear cab to fronts at 35-45% for visibility

According to industry group IRRC, high-performance nano-ceramic films blocking even 30-40% of light can repel up to 99% of UV rays.

Measuring and Calculating Tint

Professional installers use special spectrophotometer meters to measure light transmittance levels. But in a pinch, you can manually check percentage too:

  1. Use a light meter app to assess ambient brightness (in lux or footcandles)
  2. Take a second reading holding meter against window surface
  3. Divide the second reading by the first
  4. Convert the decimal result to percentage

For convenience, you can also use online tools like this Window Tint Calculator to determine VLT percentages.

Considerations When Choosing Window Tint Percentage

When deciding what darkness level is right for your car, keep these factors in mind:

  • State laws – is tinting street legal and compliant?
  • Vision safety – increased glare at night with darker shades
  • Climate and conditions – rain/snow visibility impacts
  • Vehicle make, color, and interior – match aesthetic preferences
  • Privacy desires – limo tints upgrade interior seclusion

Light transmittance levels blocking more than 70% of incoming rays also have energy efficiency benefits during summer months.

Conclusion and Key Takeaways

Choosing the perfect VLT percentage means balancing heat protection, visibility, legal compliance, appearance and privacy. Key points include:

  • VLT% measures exterior light able to pass through tint film
  • Percentage rules differ widely between states
  • Match darkness levels to vehicle type and climate
  • Formulas allow manual transmittance calculations
  • Consider laws, driving visibility, aesthetics and UV ray protection too


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