Advice from N332 – Can I Tint My Windows?
As the summer months get underway, thoughts turn to ways of cooling down. Lots of cars are fitted with air conditioning or climate control, both of which can be very useful, but our thoughts might also turn to having tinting or shading applied to our windows to keep the sun out.
Of course, the sun is not the only reason people apply tinting to windows, sometimes it´s for privacy, and sometimes the opposite, as a way of making a vehicle stand out from the crowd.
Whatever your reason behind it, there are some rules that must be applied when getting windows tinted or laminated.
By definition, tinted windows are created when dark sheets that are glued onto the original glass of the vehicle so that they provide a shade for the occupants from the ravages of sunlight.
There are benefits to the process, not only because of the shade provided, but tinted windows which have had the laminate provided also offer extra protection from shattering, as the glued laminate often keeps the glass together. They also offer protection from UV rays and create a cooler atmosphere inside the vehicle, as well as the additional privacy.
When it comes to approval during the mandatory vehicle inspection, the legal requirements are very clear. The vehicle must have a certificate provided by the manufacturer of the laminate that must be completed by the installer.
Another prerequisite for the test is that all car window laminates are properly sealed on the windows.
However, the law changed recently which now means that tinted windows are no longer considered a major reform, so an extraordinary inspection is no longer required, so long as all other requirements are met. It is always advisable to check with your local ITV station before having laminate tinting installed though, just to be sure.
As for the law and enforcement, firstly, it is illegal to have the front windows tinted in any way. Both the windscreen and side windows must remain clean as per the manufacturer’s specification. This same rule applies to stick on sunshades by the way. You must not affix anything to the front windows.
In this image we can see that the red car has tinted front windows, whereas the silver car doesn’t. The red car is illegal.
As for the back of the car, here you can apply tinting. It is perfectly legal for the back doors, or just the back windows if your vehicle doesn´t have doors, to have tinting applied. It is also perfectly legal for the rear window to have tinting too.
However, there is still something that you must monitor closely in order to comply with the law, and that is that all tinting or laminating must be in a good condition. If the laminate starts to bubble or peel, then it is no longer acceptable and must be removed or replaced, as is in the case of the ITV inspection.
Here we can see that the laminate on the rear window has become damaged, this constitutes an additional offence.
Visibility becomes restricted if the laminate is damaged.
This might seem like an unusual law to enforce, but the reason is that if the laminate or tinting becomes damaged, then it reduces the visibility through the windows. Again, this might seem odd as we are talking about the back windows only, but a driver must still maintain good visibility all around the vehicle, in order to maintain visibility.
You might remember from your driving lesson days, and it is hopefully something you still do today, but always checking your blind spot is crucial before carrying out any move, and that is why visibility is important.
However, as always, if you follow the rules and only have the back windows tinted, and they are maintained in pristine condition, then you can have many happy years motoring, either without the blinding sun, or whilst pretending your backseat passengers are the next US Presidential candidates.