Tinted Windows – What do you need to know?

July 17, 2017
Tinted Windows – What do you need to know?

It's all about the tints!

Ever since cars existed it’s always been common practice to modify the car in some manor, to personalise the vehicle and make it your own. For modern vehicles one of the cheapest but most effective modifications is the classic window tinting, but where do you stand legally? what about your MOT? insurance requirements? After all the film is relatively inexpensive and all you need is a plastic card and a hair dryer to apply!

The laws surrounding window tinting are fairly strict and unlike a lot of vehicle laws, they are very clear and precise as to what is allowed and what isn’t. Just imagine driving with a pair of sunglasses on, whilst you may be able to see 90% of what’s going on around you, there will be items that you miss and some scenarios can cause temporary blindness such as suddenly entering a shaded area, a window tint does exactly the same!

How much does it cost to tint a car?

A difficult question to answer as would depend on the quality of the tint, size of the car, DIY/Professional application etc, but typically tinting can cost from £100 up into the £1000’s. Unfortunately we don’t fit tint here at Whatlington Garage but we do see it from time to time.

So what windows can I tint?

There isn’t a law which says you can’t tint a window, instead its down to how much light is allowed to pass through the glass once the tint has been applied. The amount of light that has to be allowed through will depend greatly on the location of that glass on your car, for example

  • Windscreen before 1st April 1985 – 70% of light
  • Windscreen after 1st April 1985 – 75% of light
  • Front Windows – 70% of light
  • Rear Windows – No limits
  • Back Window – No limits

Does the MOT test for tinted glass?

Surprisingly it doesn’t, the number of cars presented for an MOT with tinted windows is tiny, there for currently it isn’t tested as part of the MOT as the cost of equipment to do so would be expensive and many MOT’s centres may never even use the equipment! Most tinted glass is fitted by professionals and thus they won’t fit illegal tints to a car, so the only users at risk are the DIY users which represents such a low percentage of cars.

So how will my insurance company react?

Any form of tint to any of the windows on your car will be deemed a modification and thus your insurance company will need to be informed of the change. For most, they just want to know about the tint and that will be all but sometimes it can effect your annual premium, if you don’t tell them however don’t be surprised when you get the fallout once they do find out about the tints (e.g. refusal to insure you after an accident).

What is the penalty for illegal tints?

Quite simply, its a fixed penalty of £60. It’s also worth noting that it is also illegal to sell glass or a vehicle with tinted glass that breaks the restrictions as per above. More details can be seen at the DVSA website