North Carolina Tint Laws

Tinted car windows aren’t uncommon in North Carolina. They offer many benefits such as increased privacy, glare and UV reduction, better aesthetics, and preservation of the car’s interior.

Window tint has its appeal, but you must know that there are legal limits around how dark your windows can be. These limits are imposed for safety and security reasons.

In this article, we’ll explain everything you need to know about legal tint in NC, along with other relevant information you need to know before you get your windows tinted.

Window tinting service in North Carolina

Window tinting is legal in the state of North Carolina. The laws were actioned in 2001, and they specify the exact type of automotive tint that’s acceptable.

There are certain exemptions to these rules and regulations, provided there is an authorized waiver for the same.

Before you get your windows tinted, learn more about the permitted window tint darkness and reflection levels in NC below.

Permitted Window Tint Darkness

Tint darkness levels compared

Window tint darkness or transparency can be measured with the help of a unit called VLT or visible light transmission. This refers to the amount of light that’s allowed to pass through any medium.

In this case, it’s tinted windows. When it comes to window tint darkness, North Carolina has different legal percentages for various vehicles.

If the percentage of VLT is higher, then more light will pass through the tint film. A lower percentage means less light is allowed through.

For example, 75% VLT means about 75% of the light will be allowed to pass through the tinted window. In the case of 25% VLT, only 25% of the light will get through the tinted window.

Let’s see what the NC window tint law has to say about the legal tint darkness levels.


Windshield: Non-reflective tint is allowed in the top 5″ or above the AS-1 line
Driver, passenger, and rear windows: No lower than 32% VLT tint

SUVs and Vans

Custom vinyl covered can with tinted rear windshield

Windshield: Non-reflective tint is allowed in the top 5″ or above the AS-1 line
Driver-side windows: No lower than 32% VLT tint
Passenger-side windows: No limit
Rear window: No limit

Acceptable Tint Reflection

Window tint films not only block a portion of sunlight entering through the windows, but they also reflect some of it.

Some tints are geared more toward reflecting light, these typically have a mirror-like appearance from the outside.

Just like the way there are limits on window tint darkness, tint reflection levels are also regulated and measured in percentage.

Find below the required tint reflection levels in NC.

Windshield: Reflective tint film is prohibited
Driver, passenger, and rear windows: Up to 20% reflective tint is permitted

Relevant Rules and Regulations

BMW convertible with legal tint in NC
  • Side mirrors: If your rear windows are tinted, your car needs to have rearview mirrors on both sides.
  • Colored tint: All colored tints are except yellow, red, and amber.
  • Window tint certification: North Carolina has no requirements for window tint certification.
  • Certified sticker: The state does not require car owners to have certification stickers on their tinted windows.
  • Medical exemptions: For those who require additional UV protection, a medical waiver can be obtained.
  • Fine for violations: If a driver is stopped with illegally tinted car windows, they may face misdemeanor charges and a fine of up to $200.

State of North Carolina Info

Flag of North Carolina

The state of North Carolina borders 4 other states — Virginia, Tennessee, South Carolina, and Georgia.

It is situated on the Atlantic coast midway.

North Carolina gained statehood in 1789. It was the 12th state to do so, making it part of the original 13. The state features the wettest terrain in the country, with numerous water bodies and marshlands. 

Population: 10.67 million
Capital: Raleigh
Registered vehicles: 8,739,280
Total lane miles: 229,011
Number of highways: 9

Wikipedia | State Website

Tint law references: NC DMV

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