Before you have your windows tinted it’s essential that you know the Maryland tint laws, because having the wrong tint on your vehicle can result in a costly ticket from the police and an even costlier bill to remove or replace the illegal tinting. So what should you know about window tint laws in Maryland?
What Specifically Does the Law State?
The first concern that most people have about car tint laws is how dark of a tint you can legally have. This differs from state to state, and Maryland tint laws even vary depending on the type of vehicle you drive.
For cars, all side and rear windows must have a visible light transmission (VLT) of at least 35%. In other words, side and rear windows are legally required to allow at least 35% of outside light into the car.
But when it comes to trucks, SUVs and vans this 35% requirement only applies to the front side windows. There are no VLT restrictions for the rear windshield and the other side windows.
Other than this important difference, Maryland window tint laws are the same for cars, trucks and vans. According to Maryland tint laws:
- Only the top 5 inches of a front windshield may be tinted.
- A vehicle’s tint may not have a metallic or mirrored appearance.
- Each tinted window must have a sticker between the window and the film to identify it as meeting the legal VLT requirement.
- Red and amber tinting are not permitted.
- You must have dual side mirrors if your rear windshield is tinted.
What Are Your Real Window Tint Percentages?
One thing you may not think to consider regarding window tint percentages is the fact that your car windows come tinted straight out of the factory. Your windows already block about 20% of light from entering your vehicle, meaning they have a VLT of 80%.
So if you were to put window film with a 35% VLT on your front windows, which by itself would be legal, your windows would still wind up being illegally tinted at around 28% VLT (.80 x .35 = .28), which is obviously under the 35% threshold. The darkest film you can use while staying legal is about 45% VLT.
As you can see, Maryland tint laws are a bit complicated. If you take your vehicle to a reputable shop like Absolute Perfection the technicians will know what tint they can legally put on each window, but unfortunately not all shops are reputable. There are definitely places out there that either don’t know or don’t care whether their tinting meets the legal standards, so do your research when choosing a shop.
Do Your Windows Meet Maryland Tint Laws? Test Them and Find Out…
Now hopefully if you’ve already had your vehicle’s windows tinted it was done by someone who knows the law, but if you have any doubts as to whether your windows meet legal qualifications you can test them yourself. The downside is that this entails buying a tint meter, which a quick Google search reveals will cost you 80 bucks at a minimum.
Fortunately, tint meters are very simple to use. A basic tint meter consists of a rectangular box with a slit in the middle for a window. All you have to do is put your window halfway down and slide the meter over the window, and it will turn on automatically and within seconds display the window’s VLT. If this percentage is over 35%, then your vehicle complies with Maryland tint laws concerning VLT.
Obviously you can’t put down your back windshield, though, so a simple meter like this may not serve your purposes. There are some tint meters that can measure VLT without being placed over an open window like this, but these meters run closer to $150. If you don’t want to go to the trouble of buying a tint meter you can always have your windows checked at a tint shop.
One final thing worth mentioning is that it’s possible to obtain a medical exemption from restrictions on window tint percentages if you have a legitimate medical condition that requires you to be protected from the sun. You can find out more about this here.
Now that you’ve read this post, you have the knowledge to ensure that your vehicle always complies with all Maryland window tint laws, which will help you avoid unnecessary fines.