Drivers get their vehicle windows tinted for several reasons.
Some like the added privacy, while others want to protect the interior from UV rays.
Darkened windows can also act as a theft deterrent, but can you get pulled over for tint in Iowa?
Every state has different laws and regulations when it comes to window tint.
Iowa was the first state to pass laws concerning vehicle window tinting in 1983.
It isn’t the strictest law compared to some other states, but it is one you want to abide by.
Violating these laws can result in expensive fines and other penalties.
If you’re thinking about having your vehicle windows tinted in Iowa, here’s what you need to know to stay legal.
Window Tint Laws in Iowa
Iowa’s window tinting laws are based on the amount of visible light transmission (VLT) the film allows.
The state is specific in its laws on how dark a window tint is allowed on passenger and multi-purpose vehicles.
A film with a higher VLT rating allows more light to pass through, while lower ones keep the vehicle’s interior darker.
For example, if the film is rated at 75% VTF, only 25% of light is blocked by the tint.
A window tint with a 5% rating is much darker since it blocks 95% of light.
You want to remember that higher VLT ratings allow for more light when you’re choosing a window tint.
Window Tint Darkness Laws for Vehicles in Iowa
The type of vehicle determines the legal VLT for the window tint.
The law also doesn’t leave any wiggle room for a darker tint; every driver must adhere to the same laws and restrictions.
Drivers of passenger vehicles cannot use a window tint with a VLT rating lower than 71% on the windshield.
Iowa State law requires that over 70% of light passes through the film.
The rating also applies to the driver and passenger side windows.
It’s a little different in the vehicle’s back.
You can block out as much of the light as you want.
There aren’t any laws on the rear windshield or back passenger windows.
You can legally go as low as 5%, as long as you follow the law with the front window tint.
SUVs, Vans, and Pickup Trucks
Iowa law also requires these vehicles to let over 70% of light through when they get the front windshield and side windows tinted.
Anything lower can result in a hefty ticket.
The back windshield and passenger windows can have any tint you want, which means it’s legal to go as low as you want in the vehicle’s back.
Iowa Vehicle Window Tint Reflection Laws in Iowa
Tint reflection is different from tint darkness.
Both types of tint block some light and heat; the difference is how it’s seen from the outside.
Tint reflection gives your windows a mirror-like effect when you’re looking in.
It helps to reduce glare from the inside, but the reflection can be a distraction to other drivers.
It’s also not uncommon for animals like birds to get confused by the mirror effect and accidentally fly into your windshield.
The only law in Iowa that applies to window tint reflection is the amount of light that passes through the film.
It must be above 70% to legally drive the vehicle. It applies to all types of vehicles, including multi-purpose and passenger cars.
Additional Iowa Tint Reflection Regulations
The law is clear on window tint darkness, and it does not allow any exceptions.
Even medical conditions do not allow a vehicle to use a darker tint, which is a relatively new change.
All exemptions were discontinued in July of 2021.
Now, you’ll have to rely on sunglasses or something similar if you have a medical condition or light sensitivity.
Even though you cannot be exempt from how dark your vehicle windows are tinted, Iowa also doesn’t have any restrictions on where you can use the tint.
Want to darken your side mirrors? It’s legal in Iowa.
You also don’t have to worry about tint colors and the law.
You can legally choose any tint color you want for your windows.
If you do decide to go with a color, just be prepared that you may end up with multiple traffic stops to check the tint’s VLT rating.
However, as long as it’s over 70%, it’s legal to use colored tint.
Tint Certificates and Stickers
Some states require vehicle owners with tinted windows to display stickers citing the tint VLT rating is legal or carries a manufacturer’s certificate.
Iowa does not require window film manufacturers to be certified or for drivers to carry one in their vehicle.
Stickers on the rear or front windshields are also not legally required, but it may be a good idea if you have a colored tint.
It can save drivers a lot of time during routine traffic stops.
Tinting Your Vehicle Windows in Iowa
Iowa is strict when it comes to tinting your vehicle’s windows, especially the film’s darkness.
It doesn’t allow for any exceptions; the VLT rating must be above 70% for all vehicles in the front.
After that, the law relaxes, letting drivers do what they want.
You can legally darken your back windows and even side-view mirrors.
You can also use a colored tint without violating any state rules or regulations.
Overall, Iowa still gives vehicle owners plenty of freedom when they decide to get their windows tinted.