A Clear Guide to Michigan Tint Laws: Everything You Need to Know

Car tinting

When it comes to window tinting, Michigan residents need to be aware of specific rules and regulations that are unique to the state. Understanding the window tint laws in Michigan is crucial for both vehicle owners and tinting professionals. In this detailed article, we’ll explore the nuances of Michigan tint laws, ensuring that you stay on the right side of the law while enjoying the benefits of window tinting.

Understanding the Basics of Michigan Tint Laws

Michigan tint laws regulate the amount of light transmission (VLT) through car windows. It’s essential to comply with these laws to avoid penalties. Let’s break down these laws for various window sections of a vehicle.

Window SectionTinting Restrictions
Front WindshieldTinting is allowed on the front windshield, but it is restricted to the top 4 inches of the glass. The tint applied to this area must be non-reflective in nature, meaning it should not create glare or reflections that could impede the driver’s visibility, especially at night or during adverse weather conditions.
Front Side WindowsFront side windows, referring to the driver and passenger side windows in front of the B-pillar (the vertical post separating the front and rear windows), must allow more than 35% of light to pass through. Excessive tinting on these windows, which reduces the VLT below the legal limit, is a common violation of Michigan’s tint laws. Therefore, it’s essential to ensure that the tint level on these windows complies with the 35% VLT requirement.
Back Side WindowsUnlike front side windows, there are no specific VLT requirements for back side windows. This means that any level of darkness can be applied to the rear side windows, offering vehicle owners more flexibility in choosing their preferred tint level. However, reflective tint, which can create distracting glare for other drivers on the road, is not permitted on back side windows in Michigan. Therefore, while you have the freedom to choose the darkness level, it must be non-reflective in nature.
Rear WindowSimilar to back side windows, there are no specific VLT requirements for the rear window. Vehicle owners can apply any level of tint darkness to the rear window according to their preferences. However, it’s important to note that, just like the back side windows, the tint applied to the rear window must also be non-reflective to ensure the safety of all road users.

Factors to Consider when Choosing Reflective Tint

Reflective window tints can offer several benefits, such as improved comfort and reduced heat buildup inside the vehicle. However, before installing reflective tint, it’s essential to take the following factors into account:

  • Legal Compliance: Always check your state’s tint laws, such as those in Michigan, to ensure that your chosen tint falls within the permissible limits. Failure to comply with these laws can result in fines and the need to remove or replace the tint;
  • Tint Type: There are various types of reflective tints available, each with its unique features and characteristics. Some tints are more reflective than others, so it’s essential to select one that not only meets legal requirements but also suits your preferences and needs;
  • Heat and Glare Reduction: Reflective tints are known for their ability to reduce heat and glare effectively. Consider the climate in your area and your driving habits when choosing the level of reflectiveness that provides the best balance of comfort and visibility;
  • Privacy: Reflective tints can enhance privacy by making it more challenging for people outside the vehicle to see inside. If privacy is a priority for you, discuss this with the tint installer to choose a tint that meets your requirements;
  • Professional Installation: Proper installation is crucial for ensuring that your tint adheres to legal requirements and functions as intended. Always opt for professional installation to avoid issues and ensure a seamless, long-lasting result.

Medical Exemption for Tint Laws in Michigan

Medical exemptions for window tint laws are designed to accommodate individuals with specific medical needs. These needs may include conditions that make individuals highly sensitive to sunlight, such as photosensitivity disorders, skin conditions, or eye conditions. Darker and more reflective window tints can offer crucial protection against harmful UV rays and excessive heat, contributing to the well-being of these individuals.

To obtain a medical exemption for window tints in Michigan, there are specific requirements that must be met:

Physician’s Statement

The cornerstone of the medical exemption process is a physician’s statement. This statement must be provided by a licensed medical doctor who is treating the individual with the medical condition. The statement should clearly outline the following:

  • Patient’s Information: This includes the patient’s name, date of birth, and contact information;
  • Medical Condition: The physician should provide a detailed description of the medical condition for which the exemption is sought. This description should include the nature of the condition, its severity, and its impact on the patient’s sensitivity to sunlight;
  • Medical Necessity: The physician must explicitly state the medical necessity for darker or more reflective window tints. This should be well-documented and supported by medical evidence.

Application Process

Once the physician’s statement is obtained, it must be submitted as part of the application for a medical exemption. The application typically includes the following steps:

  • Form Submission: Complete the required forms provided by the Michigan Department of State, including the medical exemption application form;
  • Documentation: Include the physician’s statement along with any additional medical documentation that supports the need for the exemption;
  • Processing Fee: Be prepared to pay any necessary processing fees, which may vary.

Approval Process

After the application is submitted, it will be reviewed by the relevant authorities. The approval process typically involves verifying the authenticity of the physician’s statement and assessing the medical necessity. If the application is approved, the individual will receive a medical exemption certificate.

Considerations and Benefits

It’s essential to consider the following when seeking a medical exemption for window tints in Michigan:

  • Compliance with Conditions: Even with a medical exemption, the window tints must still comply with specific requirements, such as the 35% reflectiveness limit for side windows;
  • Exemption Duration: The duration of a medical exemption may vary, so individuals should be aware of the expiration date and the need for potential renewals;
  • Law Enforcement Awareness: It’s advisable to inform law enforcement officers about the medical exemption when pulled over to prevent any misunderstandings;
  • Benefits: The primary benefit of a medical exemption is improved protection from sunlight, reducing the risk of health complications associated with excessive sun exposure.

Penalties for Non-Compliance

Failing to comply with Michigan’s window tint laws can result in a range of penalties and consequences, including:

Fines and Penalties

One of the most immediate consequences of non-compliance is the imposition of fines and penalties. Michigan has established a tiered system for fines, which means that the severity of the penalty may vary based on the extent of the violation. Common fines for tint violations may include:

  • First Offense: For a first-time violation, individuals may face fines ranging from $50 to $150. This amount can vary depending on factors such as the extent of non-compliance and the discretion of the enforcing officer;
  • Repeat Offenses: Subsequent violations can lead to higher fines, potentially reaching up to $500 or more, depending on the number of violations and the severity of the non-compliance.

Requirement to Remove the Non-Compliant Tint

In addition to fines, individuals found in non-compliance with Michigan tint laws may be required to remove the non-compliant tint from their vehicle. This removal can be costly and time-consuming, as it involves removing the existing tint and replacing it with a tint that complies with legal requirements. The expense for tint removal and replacement falls on the vehicle owner.

Repeat Offenses

Repeat offenses of tint violations can have more severe consequences. Individuals who repeatedly violate Michigan tint laws may face increased fines, longer periods of non-compliance penalties, and even potential license suspension or vehicle impoundment. It’s essential to address tint violations promptly to avoid accumulating repeat offenses.

Avoiding Penalties

To avoid penalties associated with non-compliance with Michigan tint laws, vehicle owners should take the following steps:

  • Know the Law: Familiarize yourself with Michigan’s window tint laws, including the permissible levels of darkness and reflectiveness for different windows of your vehicle;
  • Regular Inspections: Regularly inspect your window tints to ensure they remain compliant. Tints can fade or deteriorate over time, potentially leading to non-compliance;
  • Professional Installation: When installing window tints, opt for professional installation services. Professionals are knowledgeable about state regulations and can ensure proper compliance during installation;
  • Documented Exemptions: If you have a medical exemption for darker tints, ensure that you carry the necessary documentation, such as the physician’s statement and exemption certificate, in your vehicle;
  • Address Violations Promptly: If you receive a citation for tint violations, address it promptly by either removing the non-compliant tint or obtaining necessary exemptions. Ignoring citations can lead to increased penalties.

Keeping Up-to-Date with Michigan Tint Laws

Here are some effective ways to stay informed about Michigan tint laws:

Official Michigan DMV Website

The Michigan Department of State’s official website is a primary source for the latest information on window tint laws. You can find detailed guidelines, legal limits, and any updates related to tint regulations. Here’s how you can navigate the website for relevant information:

  • Visit the official Michigan DMV website (https://www.michigan.gov/sos/);
  • Look for a section dedicated to vehicle regulations or window tint laws;
  • Review the provided guidelines and any recent updates or changes to the laws.

Local Automotive Organizations

Local automotive organizations, such as car clubs or associations, often provide valuable updates and insights on various aspects of vehicle ownership, including window tint laws. Here’s how to make the most of these resources:

  • Join local automotive forums or social media groups specific to Michigan;
  • Participate in discussions or ask questions related to window tint laws;
  • Connect with experienced vehicle owners who can share their knowledge and experiences.

Professional Tinting Services

Professional window tinting services stay up-to-date with the latest tinting regulations to ensure compliance. When consulting with these services, consider the following:

  • Choose a reputable and licensed tinting service in Michigan;
  • Ask questions about the current legal limits for window tints;
  • Request information on any recent changes or updates to tint laws.

Additional Tips for Staying Informed

To enhance your ability to stay updated on Michigan tint laws, consider the following tips:

  • Subscribe to Newsletters: Subscribe to newsletters or updates from the Michigan DMV or automotive organizations to receive timely information directly in your inbox;
  • Regular Checks: Periodically check the official website and other reliable sources for any new developments in tint laws;
  • Network with Professionals: Build relationships with professionals in the automotive industry, including tinting experts, who can keep you informed about changes and trends;
  • Document Updates: Maintain a record of any updates or changes in tint laws for reference;
  • Review Local Legislation: Be aware of any local ordinances or city-specific regulations that may affect window tinting.


Navigating the window tint laws in Michigan can seem daunting, but with the right information, it’s quite straightforward. Remember, these laws are in place for safety and compliance. Adhering to Michigan tint laws not only ensures that you avoid penalties but also contributes to safer driving conditions for everyone on the road.

Whether you’re a new car owner in Michigan or looking to update your vehicle’s tint, understanding and complying with Michigan tint laws is essential. Stay informed, stay safe, and enjoy the benefits of tinted windows while respecting the legal boundaries set by the state of Michigan.


Can I use red or amber tints in Michigan?

No, Michigan tint laws prohibit red, amber, and yellow tints on front windshields and front side windows.

Are there any label requirements for tinted windows in Michigan?

Yes, a sticker to identify legal tinting is required on the inside of the driver’s side doorjamb.

Can I get a ticket for tinted windows in Michigan if I’m from another state?

Yes, out-of-state vehicles must comply with Michigan tint laws while driving in the state.

How often do Michigan tint laws change?

The laws can change, but not frequently. It’s best to check with local authorities or the DMV for the most current information.

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