Window Tinting Laws in North Carolina: A Comprehensive Guide

Keeping your car cool and your belongings protected with window tint is a popular choice for North Carolina drivers. But before you get your windows tinted, understanding the North Carolina tint laws is crucial to avoid fines and ensure safe driving. Adhering to these regulations not only enhances your vehicle’s aesthetics and functionality but also keeps you compliant with state standards.

This guide will break down everything you need to know about legal tint in North Carolina. From permissible tint levels to specific restrictions and exemptions, we’ll provide you with all the details to make informed decisions about tinting your vehicle. NC tint laws were enacted in 2001, setting the framework for the safe and legal application of window tinting across the state.

Window Tint Darkness in North Carolina

The amount of visible light allowed to pass through your car windows in North Carolina is measured by Visible Light Transmission (VLT). North Carolina’s tint laws specify different VLT percentages for various types of vehicles and their windows.

Tint Darkness for Sedans:

  • Windshield: Non-reflective tint is permitted above the manufacturer’s AS-1 line. Typically located at the top 5-6 inches of the windshield, the AS-1 line is a standard feature on most car windshields.
  • Front Side Windows: Must allow more than 35% of light to pass through. This regulation ensures that no more than 65% of visible light is blocked, maintaining adequate visibility for safe driving.
  • Back Side Windows: Any tint darkness can be applied. There are no restrictions on how dark the tint can be, allowing for maximum privacy and significant reduction of heat.
  • Rear Window: Any level of tint darkness is allowed. This flexibility is similar to that provided for back side windows, offering enhanced privacy and protection from UV rays.

Tint Darkness for SUVs and Vans:

  • Windshield: Non-reflective tint above the manufacturer’s AS-1 line is allowed. This helps reduce glare without obscuring the driver’s view.
  • Front Side Windows: Must have a VLT of more than 35%. This requirement ensures clear visibility of the road and surroundings, crucial for safe driving.
  • Back Side Windows: Any darkness can be used, providing increased privacy and interior protection without any restrictions.
  • Rear Window: There are no limits on the darkness of tints, allowing vehicle owners to select their preferred level of privacy.

Here’s a formatted quick reference table for the legal tint limits in North Carolina for different types of vehicles:

Vehicle TypeWindowLegal Tint Darkness
SedansWindshieldNon-reflective above AS-1 line
Front Side WindowsMore than 35% light in
Back Side WindowsAny darkness
Rear WindowAny darkness
SUVs and VansWindshieldNon-reflective above AS-1 line
Front Side WindowsMore than 35% light in
Back Side WindowsAny darkness
Rear WindowAny darkness

This table should help vehicle owners in North Carolina quickly understand the legal requirements for window tints on different parts of their vehicles.

Window Tint Reflection in North Carolina

Window tinting not only enhances the aesthetics of your vehicle but also significantly improves comfort and safety by reflecting incoming light, which reduces both glare and heat. In North Carolina, understanding the laws regarding window tint reflection is crucial to ensure compliance and avoid penalties.

North Carolina Window Tint Law on Reflectivity:

North Carolina has set specific regulations regarding the reflectivity of window tints to ensure safety and visibility on the roads.

Tint Reflection for Sedans:

  • Front Side Windows: In North Carolina, the reflectivity of tints on the front side windows must not be more than 20%. This limit helps to reduce glare while ensuring that the driver has adequate visibility.
  • Back Side Windows: The same reflectivity limit applies to the back side windows, maintaining uniformity in visibility and safety standards across the vehicle.

Tint Reflection for SUVs and Vans:

  • Front Side Windows: Reflectivity limits for SUVs and vans are consistent with those for sedans, with a maximum of 20% reflectivity allowed.
  • Back Side Windows: These windows also adhere to the 20% maximum reflectivity rule, ensuring that the vehicle remains safe for road use.

Importance of Reflectivity in Window Tint:

Reflective window tints offer several advantages:

  • Heat Reduction: By reflecting sunlight, these tints keep the vehicle cooler, enhancing comfort during hot weather.
  • Glare Reduction: Reflective tints significantly reduce glare, which can improve driving comfort and reduce eye strain.
  • Privacy: High reflectivity makes it more difficult for outsiders to see into the vehicle, thus enhancing privacy.

Additional North Carolina Window Tint Regulations:

  • Side Mirrors: If the rear window is tinted, vehicles must have dual side mirrors. This requirement compensates for reduced visibility due to the darker rear window.
  • Restricted Colors: North Carolina law prohibits tints with red, amber, and yellow colors as they can mimic emergency vehicle lights and impair visibility.
  • Certificates: All window tint film used must be certified by the manufacturer, and installers should provide a certificate to the vehicle owner.
  • Stickers: A sticker to identify legal tinting is required on the vehicle, which must be displayed between the film and glass on the driver’s side window.
  • Medical Exemptions: North Carolina allows for medical exemptions for window tinting. Patients requiring more substantial protection from sunlight for medical reasons can obtain a documented exemption.

Local Enforcement Variations:

While state laws provide a general framework, local interpretations and enforcement may vary. Vehicle owners should consult with local DMV offices or law enforcement agencies to confirm specific local requirements.

Understanding and adhering to North Carolina’s window tinting laws regarding reflectivity and other aspects helps ensure that your vehicle remains compliant, avoiding fines or legal issues while enjoying the functional benefits of your tint.

Window Tinting Laws for Homes and Businesses in North Carolina

Window tinting is a valuable addition not only for vehicles but also for homes and businesses. In North Carolina, while there are specific guidelines for vehicle tints, the regulations for residential and commercial properties are more flexible. This freedom allows property owners to choose window tinting that suits their needs for privacy, energy efficiency, and aesthetics.

Residential Tinting Regulations in North Carolina

In North Carolina, homeowners are free to select the darkness of their window tints. There are no state laws restricting the level of tint darkness for residential properties, which enables residents to enhance their home’s comfort and energy efficiency effectively. Here are some key benefits of residential window tinting:

  • Heat Reduction: Window tints can significantly reduce heat inside the home by blocking solar heat, leading to decreased air conditioning costs.
  • UV Protection: Tints can block up to 99% of harmful UV rays, protecting interior furnishings from fading and reducing the risk of skin cancer.
  • Increased Privacy: Tints enhance privacy without obstructing outside views, keeping your home secure from prying eyes.

Commercial Tinting Regulations in North Carolina

Similar to residential settings, commercial properties in North Carolina can benefit from window tinting without specific legal restrictions on tint darkness. Tinting in commercial buildings offers several advantages:

  • Energy Efficiency: Window tints improve the energy efficiency of buildings by reducing cooling costs and minimizing the need for artificial lighting.
  • Glare Reduction: Tinting reduces glare, which can help create a more comfortable work environment and increase productivity.
  • Improved Aesthetics: Modern window tints can improve the external appearance of commercial buildings, contributing to a professional image.

Restrictions and Exceptions for Window Tinting in North Carolina

North Carolina’s window tinting regulations do not apply to certain types of vehicles, including:

  • Excursion Passenger Vehicles: As defined under G.S. 20-4.01 (27)a, these are vehicles used for transporting people on sight-seeing or travel tours.
  • Motor Homes: Under G.S. 20-4.01 (27)d2, motor homes are vehicular units designed to provide temporary living quarters, integrated into or permanently attached to a self-propelled motor vehicle chassis or van. These vehicles must include at least four of the following: cooking facilities, a refrigeration or icebox, a self-contained toilet, heating or air conditioning, a portable water supply system with a sink and faucet, a separate 110-125 volt electrical power supply, or an LP gas supply.
  • Ambulances: Defined in G.S. 20-4.01 (27)f as vehicles outfitted to transport the injured, sick, or wounded.
  • Property-Hauling Vehicles: Applicable only to the rear window, as specified in G.S. 20-4.01 (31), these are vehicles used primarily for transporting goods.
  • Limousines
  • Multipurpose Vehicles: Such as mini-vans, pickup trucks, and SUVs that carry 10 or fewer passengers and feature design elements for occasional off-road use.
  • Law Enforcement Vehicles
  • Vehicles with a Medical Exemption: Issued by the NCDMV.

We recommend verifying this information with your local DMV or law enforcement to ensure compliance.

Frequently Asked Questions About Window Tinting in North Carolina

What is the darkest legal tint in North Carolina?

In North Carolina, the darkest legal tint for front side windows must allow more than 35% of light in.

Can you get pulled over for tint in North Carolina?

Yes, you can be pulled over if your window tint is suspected to be darker than what state laws allow.

Is there a tint exemption in North Carolina?

North Carolina allows tint exemptions for medical reasons. Documentation proving the medical necessity for darker tints must be carried in the vehicle.

Is 20% tint all around legal?

No, 20% tint is not legal on the front side windows in North Carolina; these must allow more than 35% light transmittance.

Is 5% tint illegal in North Carolina?

Yes, 5% tint is illegal on the front side windows in North Carolina and is typically only permissible on the rear windows of vehicles.

Is 20% tint darker than 5%?

No, 5% tint is darker than 20% tint as it allows less light to pass through, making it the darker option.

Is 30% tint dark?

Yes, 30% tint is considered dark but is above the minimum light transmittance requirements for front side windows in North Carolina.

Is 35% window tint dark enough?

Yes, 35% tint is sufficiently dark to effectively reduce glare and heat while still being legal for front side windows in North Carolina.

Can people see through 35% tint?

Yes, 35% tint typically allows enough visibility for people to see through it under most lighting conditions.

How do 35% tints look?

A 35% tint provides a noticeable shading effect without drastically darkening the vehicle’s windows, balancing privacy with visibility.

How dark is 15% tint?

A 15% tint is quite dark, allowing only 15% of the light to pass through and is commonly used on rear windows.

Is 15% tint all around too dark?

Yes, 15% tint is too dark for the front side windows according to North Carolina state laws.

Exploring the State of North Carolina

North Carolina is a vibrant and diverse state located in the southeastern region of the United States. It stands as the 28th largest in terms of area and the 9th most populous among the 50 states, offering a unique blend of historical landmarks, modern cities, and natural beauty. The majority of North Carolina’s population is distributed across major urban areas such as Charlotte, Raleigh, and Greensboro, which are known for their economic opportunities and cultural facilities.

Key Highlights of North Carolina:

  • Capital: Raleigh
  • Population: Approximately 10.49 million
  • Area: 53,819 square miles (139,390 km²)
  • Major Cities: Charlotte, Raleigh, Greensboro, Durham, Winston-Salem, Fayetteville, Cary, Wilmington, High Point

North Carolina is famed for its varied geographical features, ranging from the Atlantic Ocean beaches to the Appalachian Mountains, which attract tourists and nature enthusiasts alike. The state’s significant history as one of the original Thirteen Colonies and its pivotal role in American history are evident in numerous historical sites and museums.

Cities in North Carolina: Raleigh, Charlotte, Asheville, Greensboro, Wilmington, Winston-Salem, Fayetteville, Durham, Cary, Chapel Hill, Greenville, New Bern, High Point, Boone, Mooresville, Jacksonville, Concord, Apex, Gastonia, Lizard Lick, Carolina Beach, Hickory, Southport, Hendersonville, Rocky Mount, Huntersville, Kitty Hawk, Goldsboro, Blowing Rock, Emerald Isle, Wake Forest, Burlington, Kill Devil Hills, Morrisville, Wrightsville Beach, Cherokee, Morehead City, Hot Springs, Thomasville, Mount Airy, Salisbury, Oak Island, Statesville, Elizabeth City, Holly Springs, Wilson, Waynesville, Nags Head, Fuquay-Varina, Beaufort