North Carolina Window Tint Laws Today + Exceptions & Penalties

In Brief: North Carolina Window Tint Laws

In North Carolina, for sedans, SUVs, and vans, on the windshield, Non-reflective tint is allowed above the manufacturer’s AS-1 line or five (05) inches from the top of the windshield. The front side windows must have at least 35% tint darkness. The back side and rear side windows of sedans must have minimum 35% tint darkness while those in SUVs and vans may have any darkness. For more guidelines, please check out the article below.

Window sunscreening or tinting for your car windows reduce the intensity of sunlight and other lights entering your car, protecting you from the sun. The tint also reduces external visibility, and provides security in legal cases.

The motor window tinting laws were legislated in North Carolina in 2001. The North Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) regulates these laws.

In this article, we offer the latest window tint laws for cars in North Carolina (NC). This article is based on the latest guidelines and complies with the authorities’ policies at the North Carolina State Legislature and the International Window Film Association in March 2020.

North Carolina Window Tinting Laws

Window tints for all kinds of cars are used for reasons including protection from the sun, medical conditions, and privacy.

The Visible Light Transmission, or VLT, is the level of tint darkness the car windows can have, measured in percentage.

It is defined as the percentage of light that a tint film can permit to go through your car windows. A higher VLT allows more light to pass through the window, while a lower VLT allows a lesser amount of light.

The percentage of light legally permitted through your window in North Carolina is determined by the type of the car, be it a passenger or a multipurpose vehicle (MPV).

Tint Darkness for Sedans

The following are the tint darkness laws for sedans in North Carolina.

Windshield: Non-reflective tint is allowed above the manufacturer’s AS-1 line of the windshield or five (05) inches from the top of the windshield if the AS-1 line is not present. The AS-1 line extends from the letters AS-1, found on most vehicle windshields, running parallel to the top of the windshield.
Front Side Windows: Minimum 35% of the external light must be let inside. This means the windows are allowed up to 35% VLT or tint darkness.
Rear Windows: Minimum 35% of the outside light must be allowed inside.
Back Side Windows: Minimum 35% of the outside light must be allowed inside.

Tint Darkness for SUVs and vans

These are the tint darkness laws for SUVs and vans in North Carolina.

Windshield: Non-reflective tint is permitted above the manufacturer’s AS-1 line of the windshield or five (05) inches from the top of the windshield if the AS-1 line is not present.
Front Side Windows: Minimum 35% of the outside light must be allowed inside.
Rear Windows: Any tint darkness can be applied for the windows.
Back Side Windows: Any tint darkness can be applied for the windows.

Windows Tint Reflection Laws in North Carolina

A reflective tint on your window reflects back the environmental light on the window, minimizing the glare and heat inside your car. Some states may or may not allow a reflective window tint.

Tint Reflections for Sedans

These are the tint reflection laws for sedans in North Carolina.

  • Front Side Windows: The window tints should not go beyond 20% reflectiveness.
  • Back Side Windows: The window tints should not go beyond 20% reflectiveness.

Tint Reflections for SUVs and vans

These are the tint reflection laws for SUVs and vans in North Carolina.

  • Front Side Windows: The window tints should not go beyond 20% reflectiveness.
  • Back Side Windows: The window tints should not go beyond 20% reflectiveness.

Other Window Tint Rules in North Carolina

Please note supplementary rules in North Carolina for passenger vehicles and MPVs regarding tint certification, stickers to identify legal exceptions, medical exemptions, and so on.

  • Side mirrors: Both left and right side mirrors are required if the back side windows are tinted.
  • Certificates: Certification of the tint film by manufacturers is not required in North Carolina.
  • Tint Variance: Since the window tint is allowed to go as low as 32%, the tint variance is 3%.
  • Stickers: In North Carolina, any sticker to identify certified tinting is not required. However, sticker for identifying medical exemption is required. Please see Exceptions to Window Tinting Laws.
  • Medical Exceptions: North Carolina provides medical exemptions for special tints. Please see Exceptions to Window Tinting Laws.

Color Rules Related to Window Tints in North Carolina

You can provide a colored window tints to personalize your car windows. Some states may not allow all or some tint colors.

North Carolina restricts the colors RED, AMBER, and YELLOW as tints. Other colors are allowed.

Exceptions to Window Tinting Laws in North Carolina

If you have a medical ailment that makes you sensitive to sunlight, you can apply for an exemption in the state of North Carolina and use a darker tint instead of the one allowed by law.

The ailment must require the driver or passenger to be shielded from the sun’s direct rays in the car.

Individuals with photosensitivity to sunlight who need darker window tints may apply for a medical exception permit with the North Carolina DMV Medical Review Program.

The permits are invalid after five years. An individual may have maximum two medical permits at the same time. Permits are not interchangeable and must be present in the vehicle to which it applies.

A medical exception sticker must be displayed in the lower left‐hand corner of the rear window. Failure to properly display the sticker will result in a $200 fine.

Penalty for Breaking North Carolina Window Tinting Laws

Failure to follow the laws above will result in the person being charged with a Class 3 misdemeanor.

Summary

This article provides the guidelines for window tinting in North Carolina.

Comments or questions? Please comment below or email us. As we keep our articles updated as per any amendments, we encourage you to check with your state department of transportation or DMV for more information.

Check out other State’s Window Tint Laws here>

A father of two, Hayden loves to work on DIY projects (some are successful, some are not). His favorite place to be in is his garage.

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