If there’s one car modification that gives you a massive bang for your buck, it is car tinting. Investing in a high-quality car window tint will offer you value in terms of comfort, safety, and even aesthetics. Car tinting cools down the inside of your car as it blocks out hot and harmful UV rays.
At the same time, it can also prevent your windows from shattering in an accident and even discourage roadside robbery. And let’s be honest, car tinting also makes your vehicle look much cooler from the outside.
Still, you can’t just drive into a shop and get all of your windows tinted out to the maximum. No, no, no, you must follow local car tinting laws that dictate just how dark you can make your windows.
Don’t worry; the do’s and don’ts of car tinting are pretty straightforward. In this article, we’ll go through everything you need to know about car tinting laws in Australia. By the end of it, you’ll understand how dark you can go with tinting your car windows. First, let’s get a common understanding of some terms and measurements.
What Is Visible Light Transmission (VLT)?
When discussing car tinting and car tinting laws, there’s one term that you’ll come across all the time – VLT – which stands for Visible Light Transmission. As the name suggests, this is the measurement that expresses how much light can pass through the car tint.
VLT is expressed in percentages, so the lower you go, the darker the car tinting gets. 100% VLT would mean that the car tint blocks nothing, and all light can pass through. On the other end, 0% means that absolutely no light can pass through, making it the darkest car tint possible.
Depending on your preferences, you can select a different VLT for each window on your car. So, for instance, the VLT on the rear windscreen and side windows can be different from each other, if that’s what you want.
However, car tinting laws in Australia restrict how low the VLT can be for each window. Here's where it gets tricky: each territory in Australia has its own car tinting laws, so your VLT limits will depend on where you're from.
Don't let it scare you off, though. The good news is that there isn't too much of a dramatic difference between each state's car tinting laws. Just be sure to double-check with your local transport authority and don't just take the tinting shop's word for it.
Can You Tint the Windshield?
No, in Australia, you cannot tint your windshield. According to the latest car tinting laws (which are always subject to change), every state in Australia sets the VLT at 0%. That means that you are not allowed to apply even the slightest bit of car tinting onto your front windscreen.
There is one exception, though. You can tint the top 10% portion of the windscreen. People call this portion by many names, but it essentially acts as a sun visor to protect your eyes while you’re driving.
The rest of the front windscreen must remain without car tinting, though.
What Is the Darkest Legal Tint in Australia?
Okay, let’s keep things simple. As mentioned before, each state in Australia has its car tinting laws. However, most of them are similar, with a few exceptions. Let’s look at Australia’s car tinting laws according to each car window.
- For the front windscreen: All states and territories across Australia forbid tinting the front windscreen, which is why the VLT limit is set at 0%.
- For the front-side windows: At the time of writing, all Australian states and territories allow for car tinting set at 35% VLT only. That means that your tinting must be able to allow 35% of light to pass through the window.
- For the rear-side windows: Here’s where the numbers are slightly different. In ACT, NSW, QLD, SA, TAS, and WA, the VLT limit is 20%.
The exceptions are NT (15% VLT) and VIC (35% VLT).
- For the rear windscreen: Similar to above, there are three groups. ACT, NSW, QLD, SA, TAS, and WA set the VLT limit at 20%. NT set it at 15%, while in VIC, the VLT limit is 35%.
What Happens If Your Tint Is Too Dark (Or Darker Than What's Allowed)?
No matter where you are in the world, there are punishments for having car tinting that exceeds local limits. The same is true for Australia and the individual states and territories as well. So, if you get pulled over for having excessive car tinting, you could see yourself facing hefty fines.
In Australia, though, there is one more problem. For excessive car tinting, you may be asked to take your car over the pits for an inspection. It doesn’t matter who you are; having to do that is a big pain, and it’s one that’s worth avoiding at all costs.
How do you do that? Pay attention to any changes in local laws regarding car tinting, and don’t just take anyone’s word for it. After all, it doesn’t take much effort to check the transport authority’s website or give them a call just to be sure.
Why Is There a Limit to Car Tinting Levels?
It’s not often that you see government agencies explain the justification or logic behind their car window tint limits. However, we can apply some common sense to make a few assumptions on the matter. As you might’ve noticed, the only part of the car that’s strict when it comes to tinting is the front windscreen, while other windows allow for some tinting but not entirely.
One reason could be that the authorities, namely the police, need to be able to see into the car at any given time. Plus, it could also be a safety matter as the driver must have complete visibility through the front windscreen at all times, something that car tinting would reduce if it were allowed for that part of the car.
Are There Any Exemptions to Car Tinting Laws?
Typically, governments do allow for some exemptions to car tinting laws. Typical examples are for special purpose vehicles like hearses and ambulances. Regular car owners, however, can apply for an exemption based on medical reasons. For example, people suffering from conditions that are sensitive to sunlight can get permission to fix a darker car window tint.
To apply for such an exemption, you’d need to directly contact your local transport authority and follow their application process.
To find out more about topics like car tinting and more, be sure to check out the Blog at Carpart.com.au. There, you’ll see frequent updates, including how-to guides and the latest news on the automotive scene in Australia and beyond!
By Ray Hasbollah