Understanding the Legalities of Window Tinting in San Diego​

In San Diego, many vehicle owners want to improve the aesthetic and privacy of their vehicles. The appearance of the car can be improved by car window tinting. Tinted windows can improve the overall aesthetic appeal with their sleek and fashionable appearance.  But many car owners did not know window tinting also has laws and regulations. 

California passed window tint restrictions in 1999, which all drivers have to follow. If you were unaware of these laws continue to read. The laws of window tinting in San Diego, including the acceptable tint levels, limitations, and exemptions. So let’s get started and learn everything about San Diego’s window tinting regulations.

window tint legalities

Understanding the San Diego’s window tinting laws and regulations

San Diego has rules and regulations regarding window tinting that are different from those in other states. Law enforcement visibility is maintained while drivers and passengers are safeguarded by these regulations. To prevent paying fines, receiving penalties, or even having to have the tint removed entirely, it is imperative to follow these rules.

The Basic Laws of California Window Tint 

Before diving into the specific regulations in San Diego, it’s essential to familiarize yourself with the basics of California window tint laws. Basic rules of California say how dark the tint can be and how much it can reflect light on the different windows of a car.

Window Tint Darkness

Visible Light Transmission, often known as VLT, is the percentage of visible light that may pass through your car’s windows. The amount of light that can flow through a tinted glass in California varies. It differs between passenger vehicles and multi-purpose vehicles.

Front Windshield

In California, the front windshield must allow at least 70% of light to pass through. This means that the tint applied to the front windshield should be virtually transparent. However, a non-reflective tint is allowed along the top four inches of the windshield. The top 4 inches of the area, known as the “eyebrow,” are exempt from the non-reflective strip.

Rear Windshield

The rear windscreen should allow at least 70% of light to pass through without any tint, similar to the front windshield. However, rear window tinting is generally more lenient compared to the front windshield and other windows. 

After market Front Side Windows

Aftermarket front side windows refer to the windows located adjacent to the driver and front passenger seats. California law & regulations allows a maximum of 70% tint darkness for these windows. This means that at least 70% of the light must enter through the windows.

Rear Side and Back Side Windows

Rear side windows which are located behind the driver and front passenger seats, can have any level of darkness. However, if the rear window is tinted, the vehicle must have both side mirrors to provide perfect visibility. Because the backside and rear windows have no bearing on the driver, you can tint them as dark as you like. There are no restrictions.

Other California San Diego window tint rules and policies

In California San Diego has other important laws and regulations about window tinting. Among them are the following:

Side Mirrors:  Dual side mirrors are necessary if the rear window is tinted.

Restricted Colors: California tint restrictions prohibit red, amber, and blue tint colors. Colorless side windows are required.

Certificates: Film manufacturers must certify the film they sell in the state, and drivers must have the certificate on hand.

Stickers: According to state legislation, the installing firm must provide a certificate, sticker, and the manufacturer’s name and location.

Medical Exemptions: Medical exemptions for reduced tint on all windows are permitted under California law.

Window Tints and Accident Settlements

It’s crucial to realize that in California San Diego, accident settlements may be impacted by excessively dark window tints. In cases where visibility is impaired, insurance companies may view excessively tinted windows as contributing to accidents. Therefore, it’s advisable to adhere to the legal tint limits to avoid potential complications during accident claims.

Enforcement and Penalties

San Diego’s law enforcement organizations actively check vehicles for window tinting compliance. Fines and penalties may apply if the legal tint levels and limitations are violated. Additionally, if a vehicle is found to have excessive tint or non compliant window film. The driver must be required to remove the tint and bring the car up to code.

Choose SD Auto Style for  Window Tinting in San Diego

There are many reasons to choose SD Auto Style instead of other providers.

  • There are many reasons to choose SD Auto Style instead of other providers.
  • We use high quality window tint, which provides 99% of UV rays protection.
  • SD Auto Style uses ceramic tint particle technology. It performs better than traditional and metal-infused film. 
  • SD Auto Style adheres completely to San Diego’s rules and laws.
  • Customer satisfaction is SD Auto Style’s top priority.

Maintaining and Caring for Tinted Windows

Your tinted windows’ lifespan and effectiveness depend on proper maintenance and treatment.

  • Avoid using any abrasive cleaners or sharp objects that may scratch the tinted surface.
  • Clean the windows using a mild soap, soft and non abrasive cloth.
  • Do not roll down the windows for a few days after the installation to allow the film to fully adhere.
  • Regularly inspect the tinted windows for any signs of damage or peeling and address them promptly.


As we discussed, window tinting or films have different rules and laws in San Diego. These laws of window tinting vary from place to place. So, before tinting your car windows make sure you know about laws and rules. At SD Auto Style, we adhere completely to San Diego’s rules and laws. To know more about our window tinting services contact us now! 


In San Diego California, the top 4 inches of windscreen tint are restricted by California laws. At least 70% of light must pass through the front-side windows. Back and side windows may have a darker shade.

Window tinting also provide some other benefits such as

  • Protection from harmful UV rays or sun rays
  • Glare reduction
  • Increased privacy for drivers or passenger
  • Helps in heat reduction or climate control
  • Enhance the elegance 
  • Increased energy efficiency or save money
  • Less damage from hail
  • Safe for children and family

When window tint is installed correctly, window tinting should not significantly affect visibility during daylight hours. However, it’s important to choose an appropriate level of tint darkness that complies with local regulations.

Yes, that is illegal. The only percentage allowed is 70% if combined with factory-tinted windows.

Yes, window tint can easily remove or replace. But professionals are recommended due to the involved process, special tools, and maintenance. Also, it depends on the quality of tint.

San Diego does not have specific restrictions on the color of window tint. However, it’s important to note that certain window tint colors may affect visibility and can be considered distracting to other drivers. Choosing a color that does not compromise safety or impede visibility is advisable.

The 35% tint is unlawful due to California’s severe tinting restrictions. The only way to acquire a 35% tint on your automobile is if you have a sickness that necessitates a darker tint.

Yes, individuals with medical conditions that require protection from direct sunlight may be eligible for exemptions. Proper documentation is required to qualify for these exemptions.

"SD Auto Style is a company that offers Auto Styling Services for your car. These services can improve the look and performance of your vehicle by changing the color, protecting the paint, and reducing the heat and Glare"