How Dark is Too Dark For Your Car Window Tint?

How dark is too dark for your car window tint?

Tinting your car may be an easy decision, but it is usually installed for the usual reason of privacy. But, did you know that there are other benefits of car tint other than that? The long list of window tinting includes comfort, UV protection, aesthetics, and increased safety, privacy, and energy savings.

Not many people are aware that car window tint films come on different percentages. These film percentages stand for light transmission, or the amount of light that is allowed through the film. The lower the percentage, the darker the film. In the United Kingdom, the percentage of tint on vehicles is very closely monitored because of all the potential damages offenders can get involved in.

Different drivers, car owners, and car enthusiasts also differ on their choice and opinion regarding on how dark the tint films they want to be installed on to their vehicle. However, they should still abide by the law.

Like any serious matter, the government regulates the level of darkness of car tints in the United Kingdom. In fact, the authorities can be quite serious when it comes to vehicle tinting. Darker tints restrict visibility in poor light conditions, meaning that you might not see other road users as well as you would with a clear window.

The risk is greatest when you are driving at night. Imagine driving at night with sunglasses on. Data gathered from reports, news, and police information say that tinted cars can greatly contribute to road accidents, especially at night. The darker the tint is, the more it can affect and impair the vision of the driver, by which the probability of accidents may rise.

To address this issue, the government enacted a law that would protect both those who are seated behind the wheel and the pedestrians, as well as the property the driver may damage or hurt.

UK’s tinting law states that front windscreens and front side windows depend on when the vehicle was first used. If the vehicle was first used on April 1, 1985, then the required percentage of the darkness of the tint should be at least 75% of light through and the front side windows must let at least 70% of light through.

But, if the car was first used before April 1, 1985, the front windscreen and front side windows must both let at least 70% of light through.

The authorities, the driver and the Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) who serve as vehicle examiners use light measuring equipment to measure window tint. If yours is found out to be over the darkness percentage limit, you are indeed committing an offense.

You can be issued with an Endorseable Fixed Penalty Notice (EFPN) – meaning your license will be endorsed with 3 points, plus you will be served a £60 fine.

But, if your windows are illegally tinted but close to the legal limit, it is possible you might be let off with a vehicle defect rectification notice, which requires you to have the tint removed and provide evidence that this has been done to a police station. Moreover, Tinted windows can be used as evidence towards a charge of careless or dangerous driving, which can further intensify the driver’s penalties or sentences. 

It is important to note that this law doesn’t apply to rear windows, including the back windscreen. Remember, all of this only applies to front side windows, that is the driver’s door and front passenger door.

car tint

If your car tints are too dark that it doesn’t follow this law, what should you do?

If you have had your car’s windows tinted (to a legal level) you should inform your insurance company, as they are likely to consider this to be a modification to your car. Failure to inform your insurance company of modifications can lead to future claims being invalidated.

If you have bought a second hand car with tinted windows and you think the windows may be too heavily tinted, you should:

  • Have it removed and replaced with a more appropriate, law abiding percentage of tint;
  • Take it to a tinting company or MOT center and ask their opinion, or;
  • Contact yournearest VOSA test center and rest your case. They will test the level of tints for you and instruct you what your next best move should be.