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Michigan Window Tint Laws [2021 Update]

Window tinting in Michigan serves multiple purposes on a vehicle other than just making it look cool.

It keeps the vehicle cool, too!

Tinting blocks out the sun’s radiant heat and can turn a hot car ride into a more enjoyable experience.

Scientific studies have also shown that tinting applied to vehicle windows can reduce the number of UVA and UVB rays that penetrate the vehicle.

However, not every state allows every vehicle to tint its windows.

It’s essential to follow Michigan state law regarding window tinting and avoid being pulled over for your tint.

What Are the Michigan Tint Laws?

More importantly, can you get pulled over for tint in Michigan?

In the simplest terms, yes and no.

According to the Michigan State Police FAQ, you are allowed to tint your passenger car or truck windows, but only under particular circumstances governed by the relative Michigan Vehicle Code (MCL 257.709).

These include only specific windows based on where you are in the car or truck relative to the driver and only tinting material that allows a certain percentage of light through.

Michigan Tint Laws At a Glance

Let’s take a quick look at what the rules and regulations are for window tinting in Michigan.

  • Windshield: You may tint the top 4″ only. The material may have a total solar reflectance* of less than 35%. Any darkness permitted.
  • Front side windows: You may tint the top 4″ with a material that creates a total solar reflectance of less than 35%. Any darkness permitted.
  • Rear side windows: All of the windows may be tinted, total solar reflectance of less than 35%. Any darkness permitted.
  • Rear window: The whole window may be tinted, total solar reflectance of less than 35%. Any darkness permitted.
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*Total Solar Reflectance (TSR) is the measurement of how much of the sun’s energy (light) an object reflects versus how much light gets absorbed. Traditionally, darker pigments have a lower TSR, and lighter/whiter pigments have a higher TSR.

Do not attempt to calculate the TSR of your tinting yourself.

Always refer to a licensed installer who can install the correct tinting on your windows to abide by your state’s legislation.

Michigan Tint Laws In Detail

The use of full window tinting is limited to behind the driver for safety reasons.

Michigan state laws do not have a specific range of requirements for the tinting’s darkness anywhere in the car or truck; however, the material’s reflectiveness must be below 35%.

Tinting of gold and silver is expressly prohibited.

Full window tinting, which is allowed, includes the rear side windows and the rear window, but only if the vehicle has outside side mirrors on both sides.

The windshield and the front passenger side windows must allow the driver adequate visibility, so only the top 4 inches of the windshield and front side windows are permitted to be tinted.

The tinted film used along the top 4 inches of the windshield and top 4 inches of the front side windows cannot extend more than 4 inches from the top or be lower than the shade band, whichever is closer to the top of the windshield.

It is also important to note that manufacturers do not need to certify the film they sell, and you do not need to advertise a sticker showing the legal tinting by law.

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Why Are There Michigan Tint Laws?

While tinted windows are great to look at and allow for a cooler vehicle interior on hot days, tinted windows can obstruct the driver’s visibility.

During the day, enough sunlight may come through darker tinted windows to see traffic and obstacles.

Still, at night or during low-light situations like dusk, dawn, or driving through tunnels, the tinting may reduce visibility for the driver and prevent the driver from seeing a pedestrian or another motor vehicle.

These laws regarding which car or truck windows you can tint and maximum reflectiveness of the material maximize driver visibility while enabling the person controlling the car or truck to have the greatest ability to operate it safely.

The laws are clear: medical necessity or regular tinting, the special window treatment or application cannot interfere with or obstruct any of the driver’s vision of the highway or any intersecting highway at any time.

Driving safety is the top priority.

Are There Medical Exceptions to the Michigan Tint Laws?

Yes! The window treatment or application must be deemed a medical necessity.

Exceptions are governed by the relevant subsection: MCL 257.709(3)(e).

Medical exceptions only influence the front passenger side windows.

The car or truck windshield still may never be tinted beyond the top 4 inches.

If you are a person who is light sensitive/photosensitive, have lupus or specific sunlight allergies, etc., you may wish to obtain a letter from a physician or optometrist.

This letter of permission will allow you to legally possess a special window treatment or application for your protection while driving the vehicle.

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Once you obtain the letter of permission from your doctor, visit a local DMV to continue the process.

After approval, you should keep the letter in the glove box of your vehicle at all times.

It is important to note that a vehicle equipped with front side window tinting for the medical exception may not be operated by another person who does not have a medical need for the tinting.

Although Michigan tint laws can seem complicated at first glance, they’re pretty straightforward once you break them down.

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