Tinted Windows – What you need to know

April 10, 2015

Being in the business we are in, we often come across tinted windows. They are a fantastic addition to any car wanting to stand out whilst blending in! While they used to be reserved for the highest end cars (limos, VIP transport, etc.) they can now be put on any car imaginable.

But what are the legal limits?

Clearly, there is a point at which tinted windows stop being a sleek addition (or either aesthetics or anonymity) and start becoming a danger, to both the driver, the passengers, and pedestrians. But a lot of people don’t know at which point the danger starts. So here is a plain and simple explanation that will tell you all you need to know, backed up by the Government’s official guidelines.


Black SUV

The front windscreen, being the one primarily in use, has the lowest legal tolerance. Any tint must allow 75% of light through. This only applies to cars made on or after April 1st 1985, however. Any cars made before can have windscreens that allow 70% of light through.

Front Side Windows

Side Window

Though the legal limit is lower, it doesn’t make a whole lot of difference. The front windows on both the driver and passenger must allow 70% of light through. The road must be clearly visible – it should appear shaded, but not “dark” in any way.Similarly, you must be fairly visible from the outside looking in.

Rear Side Windows

Time for the good news – both rear windows have no guidelines for amount of light let through. So you can tint them as dark as you see fit.

Rear Window

Rear of car with tinted windows

As with the read side windows, there are no guidelines for the amount of light let through. This is likely because vans are not required to have a rear window, so a similar luxury can be afforded to cars.

So how do you know if you are under the limit? Well you’ll want to invest in a light meter. These read the amount of light your windows are letting in, and you can find them fairly cheaply. There are also apps for your smartphone that can do the job to, though it isn’t as accurate.

Something you may want to consider as well is how much light a dashboard camera may require to work. Though they aren’t that common at the moment i nthe UK, they are becoming increasingly more common across the rest of Europe. There are many reasons for this increased usage, so it may only be a matter of time before the yreach these shores in greater numbers.

The best policy though is to go a window tinter that checks the light levels for you both before and after the tint has been applied. It is in their interest as well as yours to make sure you have the legal amount of light still coming through. Be wary of rogue traders that don’t check the limits. The responsibility ultimately lies with you, not them, so don’t get caught out.

If you are caught, several things can happen. You’ll be given a “prohibition notice”, preventing you from driving the car until the correct amount of light is coming through the windscreen. But there are also circumstances that can lead to a fine or a court summons.

So be smart about your level of tint. If you stick to 5% more light than is necessary, you’ll never be in danger of being stopped by the police.