Many of us enthusiasts enjoy both the style and the practical benefits of tinting our vehicle windows or other auto glass, however the state of North Carolina does have its restrictions on how far we are allowed to take it. Preferences for window tinting vary widely, yet we are officially only able to do so much within the limits of the law, while the more extreme ideas remain on the cutting room floor, so to speak.
NC Safety Inspection stations will charge an extra fee to check a vehicle with aftermarket tint applied to its windows. All of the vehicle’s windows with applications of aftermarket window tint film must be checked with a photometer during the inspection to determine if the visible light transmission is within acceptable limits.
Windows must not be darker than 35% visible light transmission (VLT), making North Carolina one of the more lenient states in this area, with some others demanding 50-70% VLT. Additionally, the standard is considered to be met if the window tint is no lower than 32% visible light transmission when measured with a photometer (there is a +/- 3% margin from the base 35% that is still acceptable). Windshield tinting is acceptable as long as the combination of factory and aftermarket tint is 32% visible light transmission at the minimum.
The windshield guidelines apply to every vehicle without exception, however certain exceptions for all other windows of the vehicle may apply to specific vehicle types, including excursion passenger vehicles, for-hire vehicles, child care vehicles, motorcycles, mopeds, school buses, motor homes, limousines and a few others including emergency vehicles such as ambulances.
There also exists medical exceptions to these rules in some cases, for instance individuals who suffer from a condition causing abnormal photo-sensitivity. In order to obtain such an exception, a permit must be obtained through the Drivers Medical Evaluation Program with medical evaluation forms being completed and submitted by your doctor to the DMV. Medical permits such as these are good for 5 years unless DMEP directs a shorter time. In order to renew such a permit once expired, the individual must be medically re-certified to determine whether the medical condition still exists.