What Are The Window Tinting Laws in the UK?

If you’re considering tinting your car windows, it’s important to understand the legal requirements first. Here we’ll explain the key points of window tinting regulations, helping you decide while staying compliant with the law.

Why Window Tinting Laws Exist

Window tinting laws are designed to ensure road safety. They aim to:

  1. Maintain clear visibility for drivers, especially in low-light conditions
  2. Allow other road users and pedestrians to see the driver
  3. Enable emergency services to view inside vehicles when necessary

Understanding VLT (Visible Light Transmission)

The key concept in window tinting regulations is Visible Light Transmission (VLT). This percentage represents the amount of light that passes through a window. A higher VLT percentage means more light can pass through, resulting in a clearer window.

Legal VLT Limits for Different Windows

UK law specifies the following VLT limits:

  1. Windscreen: Must allow at least 75% of light to pass through
  2. Front side windows: Must allow at least 70% of light to pass through
  3. Rear side windows and rear windscreen: No specific VLT restrictions

Note: For vehicles first used before April 1, 1985, both the windscreen and front side windows must allow at least 70% of light transmission.

Enforcement and Penalties

While window tinting isn’t typically part of the MOT test, law enforcement can conduct roadside checks using a device called a photometer to measure window tint VLT.

Potential penalties for illegal window tints include:

  1. Fixed Penalty Notice: Usually 3 points on your driving license and a £60 fine
  2. Rectification Notice: Up to 10 days to remove illegal tint and provide proof of compliance
  3. Prohibition Notice: For extremely dark tints, you may be prohibited from driving until the issue is resolved

In severe cases, you might face prosecution for driving a non-roadworthy vehicle.

Risks of Non-Compliance

Driving with illegally tinted windows can lead to:

  1. Reduced visibility, especially in poor weather or at night
  2. Difficulty for other road users to anticipate your actions
  3. Potential invalidation of your insurance in case of an accident

Tips for Legal Window Tinting

If you decide to tint your vehicle’s windows, consider these recommendations:

  1. Choose a reputable tinting service familiar with UK regulations
  2. Request a guarantee of legal compliance from your installer
  3. Consider tinting only the rear windows, which have no specific VLT restrictions
  4. For front windows or the windshield, opt for a light tint that clearly exceeds the minimum required light transmission
  5. Keep documentation of your window tint’s VLT rating in your vehicle

DIY Tinting: Proceed with Caution

While it’s not illegal to tint your own windows, achieving accurate VLT levels and a professional finish can be challenging. Professional installers have the tools to measure VLT precisely and the skills to apply tint evenly. If you choose the DIY route, be aware of the risks of ending up with a subpar or potentially illegal result.

Removing Illegal Tint

If you’ve acquired a vehicle with a non-compliant tint or accidentally applied tint that doesn’t meet legal requirements, many professional tinting services offer tint removal. While it’s a relatively straightforward process, it’s best left to professionals to avoid damaging your windows.

As automotive technology advances, we may see new developments in window tinting, such as electronically adjustable smart glass. As these innovations become more widespread, regulations may evolve to accommodate them while maintaining safety standards.

Professional Window Tinting Services

For those interested in professional window tinting that complies with UK regulations, Fleet Motorglass offers expert services. Our team is knowledgeable about current laws and uses high-quality materials to ensure both legal compliance and customer satisfaction.

If you’d like more information or a quote for window tinting, you can contact Fleet Motorglass for a free, no-obligation consultation. Our experts can discuss your needs and guide you on achieving the right style within the legal requirements.

For more details or to schedule a consultation, contact us at [email protected] or call 01525 375050.


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