Window Tint Percentages – Examples & What You Need to Know

Window Tint Percentages

Window tinting is a popular car modification that offers a variety of benefits, including reducing heat and UV rays inside the car, increasing privacy, and enhancing the car’s appearance. Window tint percentages refer to the amount of visible light that can pass through the tinted window. The lower the percentage, the darker the tint and the less light that can pass through.

Understanding Tint Percentages

Window tint percentage refers to the amount of Visible Light Transmission (VLT) that can pass through the tinted window. Lower percentages indicate darker tint, allowing less light in. Here’s a general breakdown of tint percentages and their effects:

  • 70% VLT (Very Light Transmission): This is a barely-there tint that allows most light to come through. It offers some UV protection and reduces glare but minimal privacy.
  • 50% VLT: This is a moderate tint that provides noticeable heat rejection and some privacy. You can still see clearly through the windows during the day.
  • 35% VLT: This is a popular choice that offers significant heat rejection, glare reduction, and improved privacy. You can still see out of the windows at night, but visibility may be slightly reduced.
  • 20% VLT: This is a dark tint that offers excellent privacy and heat rejection. However, night visibility can be considerably affected.
  • 5% VLT (Limo Tint): This is the darkest legal tint allowed in most areas. It offers maximum privacy and heat rejection but significantly reduces night visibility.

How Do You Calculate Tint Over Factory Tint?

Most car manufacturers apply a mild tint to the windows from the factory. This pre-existing tint has a Visible Light Transmission (VLT) percentage, indicating how much light passes through. VLT ratings typically range from 5% (very dark) to 70% (light).

If you want to add aftermarket tint, you need to consider the combined effect on light transmission. Here’s how to calculate it:

  • Find your factory tint VLT: Check your car’s manual or manufacturer’s website for this information.
  • Choose your desired aftermarket tint VLT: Consider factors like privacy needs, heat rejection, and legal limitations (discussed later).
  • Use the formula: Multiply the factory VLT by the desired aftermarket VLT (as decimals). The result is the total VLT after adding the tint.

For example, if your car has a 70% factory tint and you want to add 35% aftermarket tint:

Total VLT = 0.7 (Factory VLT) x 0.35 (Desired Aftermarket VLT) = 0.245 (or 24.5%)
This calculation shows the final VLT will be around 24.5%, significantly darker than the factory tint alone.

Choosing the Right Tint Percentage

The ideal tint percentage depends on your priorities and local regulations. Here are some factors to consider:

  • Climate: If you live in a hot climate, a higher percentage tint (like 35% or 50%) can help keep your car cooler.
  • Privacy: If you desire more privacy, a lower percentage tint (like 20% or 35%) is preferable.
  • Night Visibility: If you frequently drive at night, consider a higher percentage tint (like 50% or 70%) to maintain good visibility.
  • Legal Restrictions: Always adhere to the legal tint limitations in your area.

Types of Window Tint

There are various types of window tint available, each with its unique properties:

  • Dyed Film: This is the most affordable option but may fade over time and offer less heat rejection.
  • Metallized Film: This tint reflects heat effectively, reducing interior temperature. However, it can sometimes interfere with radio signals.
  • Carbon Film: This combines the heat rejection of metallized film with the signal-friendly properties of dyed film. It’s a popular choice for many car owners.
  • Ceramic Film: This is the most advanced and expensive tint option. It offers superior heat rejection, doesn’t interfere with signals, and is known for its durability.

What Tint % Is Most Popular?

Popular tint percentages often fall within a range depending on regional preferences and legal restrictions. Here’s a general breakdown:

  • 35% VLT: This offers a good balance between privacy, heat rejection, and nighttime visibility. It’s a popular choice for many drivers.
  • 50% VLT: This provides a subtle look while still offering some sun protection and glare reduction.
  • 20% VLT: This offers significant privacy but can significantly impact nighttime driving. It might be more common in areas with less strict regulations.

What Is the Best Tint to See at Night?

For optimal nighttime visibility, prioritize a higher VLT percentage. Here’s a guideline:

  • 50% VLT or higher: These tints allow for good visibility at night while still offering some benefits like glare reduction.
  • 35% VLT: This can still be manageable for nighttime driving, but be cautious and ensure proper headlight adjustments.
  • Below 35% VLT: Nighttime driving becomes progressively more challenging with darker tints. It’s best to avoid these for all windows except the rearmost side windows (if legal).

What Does Window Tint Percentage Mean?

Window tint percentage refers to the Visible Light Transmission (VLT) rating. It indicates the amount of visible light allowed to pass through the tinted window. Here’s a breakdown:

  • Lower VLT (5%-20%): Darker tint, offering more privacy but reducing visibility.
  • Higher VLT (50%-70%): Lighter tint, allowing for better visibility but with less privacy and sun protection benefits.


Window tinting offers numerous benefits for car owners. By understanding tint percentages, considering your needs, and following local regulations, you can choose the perfect tint to enhance your car’s comfort, privacy, and style.

Scroll to Top