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Dealing With Tint Laws Between States

You're probably aware there are laws regarding how much you can tint your windows. You may not know that those laws vary widely from state to state. Since people do drive across state lines all the time, it's best if you get a window tint job that takes that into consideration.

Start With The Federal Regulation

Even though each state has their own tint laws, there's actually a federal regulation that most of them start with as a base for their full tint laws. Federal regulations for car manufacturers require them to only use windows with at least a 70% visible light transmittance rate (VLT). A 70% VLT isn't as dark as many people would like, but it is a tint. If you're okay with that amount of tint then your work is done. At 70% VLT you're safe wherever you go in the country.

Tinting By The Numbers

If you're not familiar with visible light transmittance, it's a measure of how much light can pass through your vehicle's glass. So glass with a 70% VLT allows 70% of light to come through. Understand that your windows have a VLT and so does the tint. For example, if your windows have a VLT of 80% and you want a 50% tint, then you're going to need a 30% tint job. If you go for a 50% tint without accounting for the window's innate VLT, then your windows will actually have a final VLT of 30%, which is far too dark for most states.

These percentages often confuse people. That's because some people use the VLT percentage and the percentage representing the amount of tint interchangeably. For example, someone may say they have a 5% tint on their back seat windows. What they're saying is they have a 5% VLT which is about as dark as you can get. Another person may call the same exact tint job a 95% tint. But they don't mean they have a 95% VLT—they're just saying the window tints look nearly pitch black.

See, it can become confusing. Just remember the lower the VLT, the darker the tint. Any professional tint service will give you the correct VLT percentages for their tints and your windows.

Why VLT is Important

Most state laws give a minimum allowable VLT. They will have a VLT for the front windshield and likely a different one for the other windows. If you know you will travel back and forth between multiple states, then check the VLT requirements for the other states. That way, when you go to a professional tint service, you can choose a tint that allows you to drive legally and worry-free in multiple locations.