• Tom Fowler

What Does the IOWA Window Tint Law Involve?

Updated: Feb 23

Many vehicle owners in the U.S. tint their car windows for several reasons. While most cars come with decent factory tint, some people prefer to go for a darker tint to protect themselves from UV rays, have more privacy while driving, and more.


Tinted windows are legal in all states, including IOWA. However, each state has specific laws regarding how dark the car window tinting can be. Some people are not aware of these IOWA window tint laws, causing exposition to some potential legal problems in the future.


The following article is going to showcase the general aspects of legal tinting laws in IOWA so that everyone can have a safer experience while they're driving on IOWA territory.



What Does Car Window Tinting Involve?


What Does Car Window Tinting Involve?


In essence, window tinting involves taking a thin tinting film to a vehicle's windows so that they

reflect incoming light and protect the driver from high amounts of glare. Newer cars already come with safety glass that's treated to keep UV light from the windows, although people may decide to go for aftermarket tinting to make their windows even darker than before.


Generally speaking, a person can tint all their car windows, including the following:


  • Side mirrors

  • Rear windows

  • Back windows

  • Windshield

  • Front windows

Different Types of Window Tinting


There are five different window tinting options the user may choose for their car. All of these options work for the same purpose, although not all of them offer the same efficiency.


Ceramic Window Tint

This window tint type is the most expensive one on the list. It does the best job at absorbing UV rays while providing a low window tint darkness for the user. Ceramic window tint is better suited for those who want as much visibility as possible or live in a state that doesn't permit darker window tinting.


It's important to note that ceramic window tint doesn't provide as much privacy as other types since the window tint darkness is much lower.


Carbon Window Tint

Carbon tinting works similarly to the ceramic one. The main difference between the two options is that carbon window tint offers a matte finish on the car's windows, which is great to preserve the vehicle's internal temperature.


Metallic Window Tint

Metallic window tint uses metallic elements to make it shatterproof and effective at absorbing incoming light. The primary downside to this window tint type is that the metallic materials may interfere with radio signals, tire pressure monitoring systems, and others.


Hybrid Window Tint

The hybrid tint is suited for those who want to enjoy the benefits of both the metallic tint and the dyed tint. Hybrid window tinting does a great job at preserving regular radio signals while driving, but it's a bit more expensive.


Dyed Window Tint

Dyed tinting is the most common method used among drivers. Here, the person uses an adhesive layer of film with polyester topcoats and places it into the car's windows. This option is affordable for most people, and it does an excellent job at protecting the driver and passenger windows from incoming light. However, these film layers may fade over time.


Why Would Someone Want Darker Window Tinting?


As mentioned before, there are many reasons why someone would want to tint the windows for their cars, multi-purpose vehicles, or multi-passenger vehicles. As long as the tint grade complies with the IOWA window tint law, there are not going to be any issues with doing this job type on a vehicle.


In the rare case that a driver owns a vehicle without any legal tinting job on its windows, they must take care of the problem as soon as possible if they want to avoid being overwhelmed by sunlight.


Aside from protecting cars and multi-passenger vehicles from UV rays, here are some other reasons why drivers in IOWA city, Fort Madison, Fort Dodge, Cedar Falls, North Liberty, West Des Moines, Mason City, or other areas, may want to tint their car windows:


  • It protects the car's upholstery from discoloration due to consistent exposure to sunlight

  • It reduces the amount of glare the drivers receive from the sun

  • It helps regulate the car's internal temperature

  • It provides much more privacy for the driver and passengers

  • It makes the vehicle energy efficient


How Do the IOWA Window Tint Laws Work?


The IOWA window tinting laws vary depending on the vehicle the person is using. It's important to note that the window tint reflection is measured as Visible Light Transmission (VLT). In essence, Visible Light Transmission percentage refers to the amount of light that the tinting film allows to pass through the windows of regular cars or multi-purpose vehicles.


A lower Visible Light Transmission percentage means that the car is going to receive much less light, whereas the visible light allowed for windows with higher VLT rates is higher. The driver may choose any percentage of Visible Light Transmission they want for their windows, as long as it complies with the IOWA state rules and regulations.


Window Tint Laws for Sedans


  • Rear Windows and Back Side Windows: The driver may choose any tink darkness percentage they want

  • Front Windows: Drivers must allow at least 70% of light for their car's front window, meaning the tint darkness may not go higher than that

  • Windshield: According to IOWA law, the driver may only use non-reflective tint with up to 70% tint darkness. The tint must run above the car manufacturer's AS-1 line

Window Tint Laws for Multi Passenger Cars (SUVs - Vans)


  • Rear Windows and Back Side Windows: The driver may choose any tink darkness percentage they want

  • Front Windows: Drivers must allow at least 70% of light for their car's front window, meaning the tint darkness may not go higher than that

  • Windshield: The tint must run above the car manufacturer's AS-1 line, and the tint layer must not be higher than 70% in darkness

Window Tint Reflection Laws

Some tint films use a reflective finish to avoid as much sunlight as possible. According to the IOWA window tinting laws, the tint reflection grade for both sedans and multi-purpose vehicles isn't specified; this means that drivers may choose any percentage they want as long as it doesn't provide excessive reflectiveness.


It's important to note that excessive reflectiveness may expose the driver to potential inspections from IOWA law enforcement authorities since it makes it harder for them to verify what's inside the vehicle when they pull them over.


Miscellaneous State Tint Laws


IOWA Window Tint Law for Side Mirrors

According to IOWA state law, the rules and regulations for window tint only apply to the front/rear window or windshield. There are no restrictions for side mirrors as long there are no obstructions to the driver's vision.


Certification of the Tint Film

Some window tint laws require the drivers to acquire a certification of the tinted film to identify legal tinting. Other window tint laws require a sticker to identify legal tinting. According to IOWA tint laws, the driver doesn't require any certification type to verify the legality of the tinting.


IOWA Window Tint Law for Tint Colors

While it's only in rare cases, some window tint manufacturers allow drivers to choose a colored tint for their car. According to rules and regulations in IOWA, people can use any color for their tint as long as the visible light allowed doesn't go against the local window tinting laws.


Are There Any Medical Exemptions for the IOWA Window Tint Law?


The IOWA tint laws offered a window tint medical exemption for those who had a certified medical condition that required them to be strictly shielded from sunlight. Unfortunately, these medical exemptions are not granted to anyone since July 4, 2012.


Still, if the driver had any medical exemptions signed before July 4, 2012, it may be valid to law enforcement authorities, as long as certain conditions are met. These conditions include having a windshield that doesn't allow more light transmittance rates than 35%.


How Much Is a Fine for Breaking the IOWA Window Tint Law?


According to the IOWA Department of Transportation's rules and regulations, anyone who doesn't comply with the IOWA window tint laws is subject to a fine of $127.50.



Does a Vehicle Driver Have to Tint All Their Windows?


Does a Vehicle Driver Have to Tint All Their Windows?


Contrary to what other people may believe, a vehicle driver doesn't necessarily have to tint all their windows. Some people prefer tinting their windshield or front windows rather than a rear window. Others prefer more light to come over certain areas, so they use darker tint for the rear window and lighter tint for the rest; it's a matter of taste.


Additionally, the driver must choose any amount of reflection for the tint, as long as it's not excessive reflectiveness.


Bottom Line


It's critical to remember that the window tint law is interpreted differently in all states. As long as the driver complies with what their local law establishes, they're not going to have any problems.


The best way to know a driver's rights and responsibilities while driving is to talk to an experienced law firm. Thankfully, the Tom Fowler Law firm is prepared to walk anyone through IOWA's window tint laws, filing your injury claim, and any other important area where they may need assistance.


It's important to note that talking to a reliable law firm is also a great option in case of an accident that happens on the road; for more information, the Des Moines accident law office of Tom Fowler Law firm is ready to help.


For more information regarding vehicle laws in Iowa such as seat belt laws or front license plate laws, talk to a lawyer that specializes in personal injury and vehicle safety.

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