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Tinted Windows: What You Need to Know

March 13, 2017

We’ve all seen them on the highway—windows with a mild tint, windows that are a little darker, and windows so dark you can barely see the driver. Most drivers opt for tinted windows solely for their appearance, but that’s not their only benefit. 

There are a lot of reasons why someone may choose to tint their windows but it’s important to know the rules. Depending on the degree of tint, they may even be illegal.

Why Do People Tint Their Car Windows?

Tinted windows are a popular request for an auto body shop, and not just for cosmetic purposes. A slight tint to your windows can protect your interior (and you!) from UW rays, potentially reducing bleaching or sun damage.

Additionally, they can help regulate the heat of your vehicle; though this is slightly less important in the Northwest, most drivers enjoy getting into a car in July that doesn’t feel like an oven.

There are practical driving reasons for tinted windows, as well. A mild tint can reduce glare and improve visibility, and may even protect your auto glass from shattering. 

All that said, if your windows are too dark, you may be breaking the law. 

Tinted Windows: Know the Law

Washington State’s laws are more permissive than those of most other states; in fact, only one state’s laws are more lax when it comes to tinted windows. That’s good news for folks who want to dramatically darken their windows, but it also may cause problems when driving to other states.

If you mostly drive in Washington and aren’t concerned about the laws of other states, here’s what you need to know.

Washington law stipulates that any window on a vehicle in Washington may be tinted except the windshield, which may be tinted along the top six inches but not below.

As for how tinted the windows can be, state law permits that any other window may be tinted to such a degree that at least 24% of the light from outside may be let in. If an officer believes your windows are too dark, they may stop you and measure the degree of light being let in with a special tool. If it’s determined that your windows are too dark, you’ll be issued a citation which is typically around $124.

If you’re going to a professional automotive shop, it’s unlikely that you’ll receive window tinting that will cause you problems. True professionals want to make sure their customer is happy and trouble free.

Got Window Needs? Call Collision 1 for a Quote

With six locations and growing, personal dedication to our customers, partners, and the communities we serve in, all make the difference while providing you peace of mind. If you’ve got road rash, curb cuts, or other wheel problems, contact Collision 1 via our web form, email, or phone.