Illinois Window Tint Law

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The Illinois window tint law permits you to tint the top 6 inches of your windshield and up to 35% tint darkness on your front seat side windows, back seat side windows, and rear window.
Slightly tinted windows can make it harder for others to look into your car. They make your car look sleeker, too! But many states have a limit on how much tint you can get. This isn’t surprising, as windows that are tinted too dark can impair visibility and lead to accidents.
To help ensure you stay in compliance with the law, the car insurance comparison and broker app Jerry has compiled a list of what you need to know about tinted window laws in Illinois.

What is the visible light transmission percentage?

The visible light transmission (VLT) percentage refers to the amount of light a window tint film allows to pass through the car windows. Each state has its own legal limits. 
A tint with higher VLT will let more light pass through the film. For example, a 75% tint allows 75% of the light to pass through, whereas a 5% tint (also known as “limo tint”) only allows 5% of light to pass through.
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What is the Illinois window tint law?

The Illinois window tint law was enacted in 2009 and sets a limit to the extent of your window tint. The limits for passenger vehicles are as follows:
  • Front windshield: Non-reflective tint on the top 6 inches
  • Front seat side windows: Must allow more than 35% light transmission
  • Back seat side windows: Must allow more than 35% light transmission
  • Rear window: Must allow more than 35% light transmission—but you must have dual side mirrors
For SUVs and vans:
  • Windshield: Non-reflective tint is allowed on the top 6 inches of the windshield
  • Front Side windows: Must allow more than 50% of light in
  • Back Side windows: Any darkness can be used
  • Rear Window: Any darkness can be used
Other requirements:
  • All windows can have 35% VLT except the windshield
  • All windows behind the driver can legally have any tint percent IF the front side windows aren’t tinted
  • Front side windows may have 50% light transmission IF no window behind the driver is tinted under 30% VLT
  • On vehicles with factory-installed window tint of any darkness on any back window, the front side windows must have over 50% VLT
  • The state laws allow a 5% light transmission tolerance
There are no tint colors that have been specified as restricted, however, the front side and back side windows must not be reflective.
The tint manufacturer is not required to certify that the film they are selling in Illinois is compliant with the law. You don’t need a sticker to identify legal tinting.

Medical exemptions

Illinois offers medical exemptions for darker window tints. However, this only applies to those afflicted with medical diseases such as lupus erythematosus, disseminated superficial actinic porokeratosis, or albinism.
If a medical exemption is granted, a physical copy of the exemption certificate must be carried in your vehicle at all times and also be submitted to the Secretary of State’s office for a Window Tint License Plate. You may also only drive during the day—it is illegal to drive with darker tinted windows at night, even with a medical exemption.
This exception also applies to a vehicle used in transporting an afflicted person residing at the same address as the registered owner. The written and signed verification letter must be carried in the vehicle.

Penalties for violating the window tint law

If you’re caught violating the Illinois window tint law, you’ll be charged with a petty offense with a $50-$500 fine. Subsequent violations are a class C misdemeanor with a $100-$500 fine.
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On average, it can cost between $150 and $500 to get your car windows tinted. Prices will vary depending on your vehicle and materials, as well as the auto shop you choose.

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