Tips for Legal Window Tinting in New York: What to Do and What to Avoid

According to the New York State Vehicle and Traffic Law, all vehicles registered in the state must have windshields and front side windows that allow at least 70% of light to pass through. This means that the tint darkness on the front side windows, back seat side windows, and rear window of passenger vehicles should not block more than 30% of the light. However, multi-purpose vehicles (MPVs) like SUVs and vans are allowed to have any tint darkness on their back seat side windows and rear window, as long as they have dual side mirrors.

New York State law allows for a non-reflective tint on the top 6 inches of the windshield to protect the driver’s eyes from sunlight. The tinting materials should not have a metallic or mirrored appearance, and there are no restrictions on the color of the tint. These regulations are in place to ensure that the tinting does not obstruct the driver’s vision, thus promoting road safety.

Penalties for Non-Compliance

Failing to adhere to New York’s regulations on window tinting can have serious consequences. If the windows of your vehicle are determined to be excessively dark, you may incur fines ranging from $25 to $150 per window. Additionally, vehicles that do not meet the required standards for tinting will not pass the state’s mandatory annual motor vehicle inspection, resulting in extra expenses and inconveniences until the tint is adjusted to meet the specifications.

Medical Exemptions

In New York State, individuals with specific medical conditions that require shielding from direct sunlight can obtain exemptions from the regular tinting regulations. To be eligible for an exemption, a physician or optometrist must sign a Medical Exemption report, explaining the health reasons that necessitate the use of darker tints.

Ensuring Compliance

In order to comply with the window tinting laws in New York, vehicle owners should follow these guidelines:

    • Use a VLT (Visible Light Transmission) meter or consult a professional to measure the tint’s light transmittance before installation.
    • Choose tinting materials that meet the state’s reflection and color standards.
    • Verify that the installer provides a compliance sticker for each tinted window, as required by law.
    • Consider the potential need for a medical exemption and consult a healthcare professional if applicable.


Staying up-to-date with the window tinting laws in New York is essential for car owners who want to make legal modifications that provide added comfort and privacy while maintaining safety. By following the legal requirements, drivers can avoid penalties, ensure their vehicles pass inspection, and contribute to safer roads for all.

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