Washington vehicle window tint laws were first enacted in the year 2011 and as tint technology is always evolving, tint laws are always subject to change, so it’s a good idea to check in on current Washington window tint rules for cars if you are considering getting window film for a vehicle registered in Washington or if you are transferring the registration of a car with tint to the state.
Most important of all for making sure car tint is legal in Washington is making sure the visible light transmission, or VLT, meets the standards for that vehicle type’s windows. VLT numbers refer to how light or dark (clear or private) the window is; the smaller the number, the darker and more private the window tint, so a 25% VLT is darker than a 50% VLT which is in turn darker than 75% visible light transmission.
Vehicle window tint keeps the interior of the car cool and rejects the damaging UV sunlight that causes faded and cracked upholstery, dashboards, and other surfaces and thereby reduces resale value of the vehicle.
However as illegal car tint in Washington can be a pricey issue, you need to make sure you have legal window tint on your car.
Below, will break down all the current car window tinting laws in the state of Washington. To be sure your car window tint is allowed under current Washington law, you have to know the visible light transmission of the tint. Also know that even lighter, effectively transparent window film can block damaging UV light and hot IR light, so you don’t need dark privacy tinting for the solar energy rejection benefits of window film.
Please note: The accuracy, completeness, adequacy or currency of the content is not warranted or guaranteed. We are not lawyers or a law firm and we do not provide legal advice. We recommend you consult a lawyer or other appropriate professional if you want legal advice.
Windshield Tint Rules in Washington
As in many states, a band of windshield tint along the top of the glass is legal in Washington. Cars, trucks, SUVs, and vans may all have non-reflective window film applied to the top six inches of windshield glass.
Car Window Tint Laws in Washington
In Washington, cars (meaning passenger sedans and coupes) can have window tint rated at 24% VLT or clearer on all side windows as well as on the rear windshield.
This window tint can be as much as 35% reflective (or mirrored) in appearance which is more reflection than allowed in many states. Note that reflective tint can provide more effective solar energy rejection and is not merely cosmetic.
MPV Window Tint Laws in Washington
Washington tint laws for MPVs (an abbreviation for multi-purpose vehicles used to mean trucks, SUVs vans, RVs and other vehicles) may have 24% or lighter VLT window tint on the two front side windows and can have window film of any darkness (including blackout privacy tint), on the rear side windows and on the rear windshield.
As with car window film in Washington, window tint applied to MPVs may be up to 35% reflective.
Other Window Tint Rules in Washington
A number of rules beyond the VLT and reflectivity ratings apply to car tinting in Washington, so read through the below points with care.
Washington state law allows no variance for window tint darkness, so you must be sure you know the proper VLT% of your tint.
A vehicle with any window tinting on the rear window in Washington must have twin side view mirrors that are good working order.
Washington tint laws prohibits tinting colors that are red, amber, or yellow.
Producers, retailers, and installers of window tint for vehicles in Washington must certify the tint they offer meets state law and stickers identifying legal window tinting are required for vehicles in Washington; make sure your tint install shop puts the proper stickers between the tint and glass on the driver’s side window.
Washington window film laws allow for medical exemptions to tinting regulations. If you need a darker window tint to protect your eyes, skin, or for another reason, talk to a doctor about getting an exemption that can clear you for darker window tint for your car.
Window Tint Violations in Washington
Window tint tickets in Washington often cost $124, which is not that pricey of a fine if you are only cited once, but you can get a ticket for illegal tint in Washington again and again for the same illegal tint, so it’s better to make sure the window tint you have installed is legal in the first place.
Police officers can use a portable handheld device to check window tint VLT in real time, so any traffic stop may come with the unpleasant added expense of a tint ticket. When in doubt about your window tint, go to a trusted Washington window tint installer and have it tested; better to find out it’s an issue there than while you are stopped by an officer or as illegal tint makes you fail an inspection in Washington State.