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Tennessee Window Tint Laws

If you are thinking about getting your car windows tinted, there are some things you’ll have to consider before committing.

This article will cover some critical factors that you should know about Tennessee window tint laws.

Benefits to Window Tint for Your Car

There are lots of reasons why you could want to tint your car windows.

Tennessee summers can be scorching, and having a way to keep your car’s interior cooler is one such benefit.

Tinting your car windows will also provide skin protection since it reduces the impact of harmful UV rays.

Other benefits of tinting your car windows include protecting the interior upholstery, providing privacy, and increasing your vehicle’s resale value.

Drawbacks to Tinting Your Car Windows

There is one significant drawback to tinting your windows, and that is the attention it attracts from the police.

Having dark-tinted windows can potentially give off the impression that you are trying to hide something.

Windows that are heavily tinted provide the authorities with a justification for pulling you over for an investigative stop.

Tinted windows are on the list of the top ways to get pulled over by the police.

Tennessee Window Tint Law

Tennessee enacted its window tint laws in 1990.

The state was the 11th out of the 50 states to put window tinting laws into place.

Laws have been put in place regarding window tints on cars because window tints decrease driver visibility making it harder to see street signs, pedestrians, other vehicles.

Many states view vehicle window tinting as an obstruction to a driver’s field of vision and want to limit tints as a cause for severe or fatal accidents.

Car window tint is measured by VLT percentages.

VLT stands for visible light transmission, and it is the amount of light that can pass through a window.

The higher the VLT percentage, the more light that can pass through your windows.

According to the Tennessee Code Annotated 55-9-107, the tint must allow for more than 70% of light for any tint installed on the windshield, and side and back windows must allow for 35% VLT.

The tint for windshields must be above the manufacturer’s AS-1 line to be considered legal. 

70% VLT is the standard tint that most car manufacturers provide, so you will have to get an after-market tint installed if you want to go darker.

You can’t have a metallic or mirrored tint on any of the windows on your vehicle.

However, colored tint is allowed in the state of Tennessee.

When getting your car windows tinted, you’ll want to make sure the installer places a sticker on the driver’s side of the windshield.

This is placed between the windshield and the tint film to indicate that the tinting meets legal standards.

Can You Get Pulled Over for Tint in Tennessee?

Yes, you can. If traffic authorities are concerned that your window tint is not in alignment with the prescribed laws, an officer can pull you over.

This should not be a cause for concern, provided that you have all the necessary permits readily available, as is prescribed for the installation process.

Medical Exemptions

Suppose you have a medical condition that requires higher tinting than the legal limits.

In that case, you will have to contact the Tennessee Department of Safety for an exemption before you invest in tinting your windows darker than the law allows..

Some of the medical conditions that can qualify for an exemption include: xeroderma, sunlight allergy, porphyria, pigmentosa, photosensitivity, melanoma, and lupus.

You do not have to be the car’s driver to qualify for the exemption; having a frequent passenger with such conditions permits the exemption all the same.

The medical exemption process  starts with submitting a statement to the Commissioner of the department of safety from your doctor.

This certifies that you have a medical condition that requires a darker tint than the law allows.

Once the Commissioner receives your application, it is submitted to the department’s medical review board to evaluate the request.

Should the review board determine that the exemption is warranted, they will recommend that the Commissioner issue an exemption, clearly stating the permissible degree of tint.

When the tint percentage is determined, a certificate or sticker indicating the degree of the exemption is given to the applicant to display in the vehicle.

Penalty for Not Following Tinting Laws in Tennessee

Those who violate the tinting laws in Tennessee are subject to fines ranging from $138 to $300.

Authorities can determine whether a vehicle’s tint is legal using a small white box that slides over the glass and indicates the VLT number on a digital screen.

You should note that tinting laws are state-specific, so if you are traveling into another state, you may encounter issues depending on whether or not the state you are visiting has similar regulations to Tennessee.


Window tinting can take a lot of time and effort.

Because of this, you do not want to find out later that the tint on your car windows are not within Tennessee’s parameters.

If this is the case, you will have to remove or replace the tint, and incur the charges for doing so.

Ensuring that registered and reputable professionals tint your windows will save you a lot of time and money in the long run.

Always ensure that you have the necessary permits and details of your vehicle’s window tint, especially if it is because of a medical condition.