Hands down, the question we get the most from customers is what is the darkest I can tint my windows? We tell our Wilmington, NC window tinting customers that the legal tint limit in North Carolina is 35% VLT or higher. That said, there’s a lot more which goes into this measurement which we will explain below.
How is the Darkness of a Window Measured?
To calculate how dark a window is, the window with the tint applied must be measured by a North Carolina approved window tint meter. These meters simply line up on both sides of your window and measure the amount of light passing through the window, or visible light transmission (VLT). A 32% VLT means only 32% of light passes through the window. Commonly, we round this number up to 35% in the industry as it plays it safe with law enforcement and because window tint doesn’t really come in 32%.
What is the Maximum Legal Window Tint in Wilmington, NC?
To be exact, the breakdown of window tinting results in the below.
- Windshield: Non-reflective tint allowed above AS-1 line OR 5 inches below the top of the windshield—whichever is longer.
- Front Side Windows: 32% VLT
- Back Side Windows (Sedan): 32% VLT
- Back Side Windows (SUV / Van): Any Darkness
- Rear Windows (Sedans): 32% VLT
- Rear Windows (SUV / Van): Any Darkness
You will notice many people saying that 35% VLT is the legal limit. The truth is that 32% is the absolute lowest as there is a 3% variance allowed in measurements. This is also why most people say 35% and shoot for 35%.
What Other Window Tint Restrictions Exist?
Red, amber, and yellow colors are not permitted. In addition, the reflectivity of your automotive window tint can not be above 20%.
Are There Exceptions to North Carolina Window Tint Laws?
Yes, there are many exceptions to the North Carolina window tint laws. We have many of our Wilmington, NC window tinting customers ask us this and typically we refer them to the government website for North Carolina window tint laws just to be on the safe side. But typically those vehicles which are exempt to this 32% tint law are:
- Motor homes
- Law enforcement vehicles
- Property‐hauling vehicles (rear window only), like trailers
- Excursion Passenger Vehicles like sight-seeing or travel tour vehicles.
- Multipurpose vehicles (e.g., mini-van, pickup truck, SUV) designed to carry 10 or less passengers – where the window is behind the driver and is built on a truck chassis or has special features designed for occasional off‐road operation
- Vehicles with a medical exception issued by NCDMV
How Dark is Factory Window Tint?
Most modern vehicles come with a small amount of window dye already installed. This VLT percentage usually falls around 75-85% VLT. When you go to purchase aftermarket window film, be sure that you are compensating for the factory window tint that its already there. If you’re looking for window tinting in Wilmington, NC stop by AP Tinting! We’re happy to run a test for you and calculate your current tint and then install the proper amount of tint within the legal limit for you.
Have more questions about vehicle window tint? Get in touch with your local automotive window tinting service in Wilmington, NC, AP Tinting.