Vehicle Window Tinting Laws in Washington State 2023: How Dark Can You Go?

Ever wonder why so many people are choosing to have their vehicle windows tinted? Window tinting holds many benefits for you and your vehicle, but due to potential risks for drivers, pedestrians, and law enforcement officers, every state has rules to regulate just how dark your tinting can be, and how much of your windshield and windows are covered.

Washington State Window Tinting Laws 2023

Beginning in 2011, the State of Washington began regulating the tinting of vehicle windows. There have been updates through the years that motor vehiclists have been required to keep up with, and these are the current regulations for this year. The laws put a limit on four main aspects of window tinting:

  1. How much VLT (visible light transmission) is limited by the tinting
  2. The placement of the tinting
  3. The color of the tinting
  4. The amount of reflection from the tinting

We’ll go through the specifics of each law, and what they will mean for drivers in the state of Washington. If you’ve been thinking of having your vehicle windows tinted, here’s what you need to know.

Visible Light Transmission Requirements

There are different sets of requirements, depending on if you’re tinting the windows of a sedan or a van/SUV. If your vehicle is a sedan, the LTR are as follows:

  1. Windshield: Tinting is only allowed on the top six inches of the windshield. Any amount of darkness can be used.
  2. Front Side Windows: Tinting must allow more than 24% of light through the glass.
  3. Back Side Windows: Tinting must allow more than 24% of light through the glass.
  4. Rear Window: Tinting must allow more than 24% of light through the glass.

If you’re needing to know the window tinting requirements for a van or SUV, they are as follows:

  1. Windshield: Tinting is only allowed on the top six inches of the windshield. Any amount of darkness can be used.
  2. Front Side Windows: Tinting must allow more than 24% of light through the glass.
  3. Back Side Windows: Any amount of darkness can be used.
  4. Rear Window: Any amount of darkness can be used.

Tinting Placement

As stated above, all of the windows can legally be tinted to some degree, except for the majority of the windshield; only a six inch strip across the top can be tinted. Most new vehicles hit the car lots with windshields that are already tinted along the top in order to protect drivers’ eyes from sunlight.

Tinting Colors

Most window tints are various shades of charcoal and gray, but many specialists are now offering different colors as well, colors like red, gold, and blue. Many states have chosen to ban certain tint colors without a clear explanation of why they aren’t allowed.

Speculations say that the prohibited tint colors can interfere with the driver’s perception of important road signal colors, etc. Others say that light reflecting off the tint can cause other drivers to mistake the colors for emergency vehicle lights.

Whatever the case, Washington does not allow window tinting in the colors of yellow, red, or amber.

Reflection Limitations

Window tinting can be made to reflect the light off the glass; this keeps the vehicle cooler in the summer, and also helps to protect the eyes of the driver and passengers from the sunlight while they travel.

However, too much reflection can cause major glare for other drivers. Washington prohibits any reflective tinting on the top strip of the windshield. All other windows cannot exceed 35% reflection. This law applies to sedans, vans, and SUVs.

Other Tinting Laws in Washington

Washington has a few additional laws that you should be aware of:

  1. If the back window of your vehicle is tinted, you are required to have dual side mirrors.
  2. Tinting film must be certified in the state of Washington. Make sure your tinting specialist is using certified film.
  3. A sticker must be displayed on the driver’s window to prove legal tinting; this should be done by the tinting company.
  4. If you have certain medical conditions, Washington can make an exception for special window tinting.

Certain towns or counties may have their own interpretations or applications for these laws, so be sure to double check before moving forward with your window tinting. You can contact a local DMV or law enforcement facility to get specifics in your area.

Why Choose Window Tinting?

Even though it may seem like a hassle to make sure everything is done according to regulation, it’s still a great idea to tint the windows of your vehicle. Let’s go over some important benefits of tinting:

  1. UV Protection: One of the most important reasons for window tinting is the protection it provides from damaging UV rays. Tinting not only protects the interior of your vehicle, but also your skin while traveling. Proper tinting can block 99% of harmful UV rays!
  2. Shattering Prevention: Window tinting can actually help prevent your glass from splintering and shattering in impact scenarios.
  3. Heat Protection: The reflective quality of window tinting helps to direct the sunlight away from the vehicle, minimizing the amount of heat that builds up inside.
  4. Privacy: Needless to say, tinting provides more privacy for those who don’t want to be stared at wherever they go. Parents with small children may also prefer to tint the back windows to protect their kids, and to help keep the sun out of the eyes of sleeping babies.
  5. Improved Appearance: And then, of course, there is the aspect of aesthetics; tinted windows look sleek and classy. Enough said.

There are a few different types of car tinting available on the market. They each have their own qualities in appearance and function, and drivers must decide which type will fit their individual needs and their state laws most accurately.

You Know Who to Call!

If you’re looking for a reputable business to tint your vehicle windows, Ultimate Window Tinting is here to help you out. We are a family operated company that serves the Vancouver and Portland area, and we specialize in automotive, residential, and commercial window tinting. We only use the highest quality products and materials in what we do, and our team can work with you to provide you with the service you’re looking for. Contact us today!