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UK Car Window Tinting Law 2021

What is the law for having tinted vehicle windows in the United Kingdom? There is a legal limit for tinting a front windscreen and car side windows.

The information in this guide sets out the darkest legal limits for tinted car glass and DVSA penalties for fitting or selling the wrong tint level.

What is the Legal Front Window Tint in UK?

UK tint laws (e.g. for cars, vans, and lorries) contain several important safety rules relating to tinted vehicle windows.

Hence, it is important to understand car window tinting rules and what can happen if your windscreen is too dark.

Simply put, the front side windows and the front windscreen are all subject to glass tinting restrictions in the United Kingdom.

Important: The actual legalities for having tinted car windows vary according to when the vehicle was first used (e.g. before or after April 1985).

Most manufacturers of automobiles produce modern vehicles with a slight window tint. It's added to the glass as a standard procedure when they build cars and vans.

As a result, adding extra tint (e.g. with film or spray) could mean your car windows will fail the legal requirement for window tinting in the United Kingdom.

Put another way:

Front windscreens, along with two door windows located either side of the driver, must contain the legal amount of tint. Thus, having a vehicle with heavy tinted windows at the front risks prosecution by the police or by the DVSA.

There is no specific legal limit for tinting car windows on any of the rear passenger glass windows. Likewise, the car tinted windows law does not apply to the vehicle rear windscreen.

Note: There are two variants for the legal window tint of the front windshield and front side glasses in the United Kingdom.

Vehicles First Used Before the 1st of April 1985

The front windscreen, and both front side window glasses, must all let through at least 70% of light on vehicles first used before 1st of April 1985.

Vehicles First Used Since the 1st of April 1985

The glass used for the front windscreen must let through at least 75% of light on vehicles first used on, or after, the 1st of April 1985. Similarly, the two front side windows must let through at least 70% of light.

UK car tinted windows law has several conditions attached to it. As such, it is illegal to fit any incorrect level of tinted glass to a vehicle in the United Kingdom. It is also against the law to sell the wrong tint of glass (or sell a vehicle which already has the illegal glass fitted).

Important InformationThese activities would be breaking UK motoring laws - especially those for the tinting of vehicle windows.

Why Have Window Tint Regulations UK?

The reason why the police enforce the UK window tinting law is for road safety. Thus, having heavy or dark tinted car glass can impede driver visibility.

In simple terms, breaching window tint rules may also be a contributing factor for some of the most severe road traffic accidents.

Drivers need to see where they are heading (especially during the hours of dawn and dusk). This is even more important when driving in adverse weather conditions.

Dim window tints can restrict your ability to see the most vulnerable road users. These often include cyclists and pedestrians in areas with low lighting (or none at all).

How Do Cops Measure Window Tint?

Police and Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) enforce car window tinting rules. In some cases you may get pulled over by the police for having over tinted windows.

Their vehicle examiners use light measuring equipment to measure levels of window tint. They measure the level of light passing through the glass in the vehicle.

Penalty for Over Tinted Car Windows

What happens if your car windscreen (or front side windows) has illegal tinted windows? In short, they would be breaking the law for legal window tint if they got tinted too much.

As a result, you could be penalised with:

  1. A court summons (or receive a penalty notice).
  2. A 'Prohibition Notice'. That may mean that you must stop using your vehicle on public roads until you have removed the extra window tints.

Selling a Vehicle with Illegal Window Tint

It is against the law to sell a vehicle with heavily-tinted front windows in the United Kingdom. Thus, the police or Trading Standards may prosecute you for selling a car with illegal glass tinting.

Note: Evaluating a car for legal tinted windows is not a standard procedure carried out by MOT testers during the vehicle MOT test.

Related Law Guides

Highway Code Rules: Essential reading for vehicle drivers, motorcyclists, and all other road users.
Electric Bike Laws: A simple guide explaining the rules and regulations for riding electric bikes.
Quad Bikes Law: Find out the rules for tax and registration of approved quadricycles in the UK.
Update Vehicle Information: How to contact DVLA and tell them about a change of name or address.
Vulnerable Road Users: An overview of the most vulnerable road users requiring extra care.

Note: The short video explains how to remove the tinted film covering from the front windows of any vehicle without damaging the glass.


Car Window Tinting Law: Legal Window Tint for United Kingdom

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