Tinted windows are one of the most common add-ons for cars in Ontario. It involves the application of a thin laminate film to the vehicle’s glass to darken the windows. It comes with many benefits.
However, it is crucial to understand the ⚖️ legal limits and risks of tinted windows in Ontario.
This blog will look at the benefits of tinted windows, the laws for them, how to check if your tint is legal and the potential consequences of a violation of tinted window laws so you can make an informed decision about whether tinted windows are suitable for your car.
Are Tinted Windows Legal in Ontario, Canada?
Yes, tinted windows are legal in Ontario. However, strict laws define the limits of how strong the tint can be and which windows can be tinted.
Section 73(3) of the Ontario Highway Traffic Act indicates, “(3) No person shall drive on a highway a motor vehicle on which the surface of the windshield or any window to the direct left or right of the driver’s seat has been coated with any coloured spray or other coloured or reflective material that substantially obscures the interior of the motor vehicle when viewed from outside the motor vehicle.“
This was amended in January 2017 when vehicle manufacturers were prohibited from tinting a vehicle’s windshield. It also mandated that the Visible Light Transmission rate (VLT) for the front and side windows be higher than 70%. This means the tint’s darkness cannot exceed 30%.
There are no regulations for windows in the back of the vehicle or the rear window as long as the car has rearview mirrors on both sides.
Why Do Tinting Window Laws Exist?
The main reason for tinting window laws in Ontario to exist is safety. Window tints can obstruct the view of the driver, especially during twilight and nighttime, leading to an increased risk of accidents.
Tinted windows also can pose a threat to pedestrians and cyclists, who usually make eye contact with drivers before crossing the road to signal for drivers to stop and allow them to cross.
Another reason is that clear windows allow police to detect criminal behaviour, such as distracted driving (texting and driving) or not wearing a seatbelt.
How Much Percentage of Car Window Tinting Is Allowed in Ontario?
It depends on which windows you are talking about. The front side windows have to have a VLT or at least 70% or higher, while the back and rear windows don’t have any limit on how much they can be tinted. The windshield itself cannot have any tint at all.
Complete Ontario Windows Tint Laws 2023
Legal Limit for Tinted Windows
Windshield: No tint allowed.
Front left and right windows: Maximum of 30% of tint allowed.
Backside, rear left and right windows: No limits for tint.
Exceptions to the Legal Limit
If you are wondering if there are legal exceptions for dark windows in Ontario, there are not.
Penalties for Violating Tinted Window Laws
Police can check the tint level of your windows using a photometer. If they find that your tint exceeds the legal limit, you may face fines between $85 and $500 (additional surcharges or fees may apply) and will be required to bring the tint of your windows below legal limits.
Ways to Legally Tint Windows in Ontario
Some vehicle manufacturers pre-tint windows on new vehicles. Other than that, some companies offer window tinting services, such as Autofolie. They can professionally tint your windows while ensuring that any tint is within the legal limits to prevent potential problems with the police or road safety.
How to Check If Tinted Windows Are Legal in Ontario
1. Inspecting the Level of Tint
You can buy a photometer or download an app to your smartphone to measure the level of tint yourself.
2. Verifying Whether the Tint Meets the Legal Limit
As you are not allowed to have any tint on your windshield, and there are no regulations as to the level of tint on your back or rear windows, you must keep in mind that the legal limit for tints of your front left and right windows is 30%.
3. Checking for Stickers and Certificates
There are no requirements for certificates or stickers indicating the level of window tint in Ontario.
What Will Happen If My Tinted Windows Don’t Adhere to Ontario’s Tinting Regulations?
Suppose your tinted windows do not adhere to Ontario’s tinting regulations. In that case, you are liable for a fine between $85 and $500 (additional surcharges or fees may apply), and you may be required to remove the tint from the windows.
Benefits of Tinted Windows in Ontario
- Protection From UV Rays
Window tints come with thin reflective layers, allowing them to limit the harmful rays of the sun entering your car. This protects you and your car’s interior from UV and infrared rays.
A nice side effect of this is also that this can keep your car’s interior cooler during summer, especially when parked in the sun.
- Reduces Glare and Eye Strain
Tinted windows can reduce the glare of sunlight reflecting and the headlights of oncoming cars, reducing the risk of a crash. At the same time, it also reduces the strain on your eyes.
- Provides Privacy and Security
They also improve your privacy as thieves cannot see if there are any valuables in your car, making it more unlikely for them to attempt to break into your vehicle.
The tinting film also increases the strength of your glass so that in the case of an accident or a break-in, the broken glass can’t scatter inside your car and add to potential injury.
Enhances the Appearance of the Car
Most people choose window tints for aesthetic reasons. Tinted windows can lend an air of elegance or exclusivity to a vehicle and either form a contrast to the paint colour or have it all blend together.
Risks of Tinted Windows
- Reduced Visibility and Safety Hazards
While window tints can reduce the glare of sunlight and headlights, they can also decrease the visibility of your surroundings, especially pedestrians and cyclists. They typically rely on eye contact with drivers before crossing the road, so you must be extra vigilant. The tinting can also obscure other details on and off the road that you might otherwise spot easily.
- Possible Legal Consequences
If the tinting of your windows exceeds the legal limit of 30% for the front left and right window or if your windshield is tinted, you can face fines between $85 and $500 (additional surcharges or fees may apply), and you may be required to remove the tint from the windows.
- Maintenance and Repair Costs
You must be more careful when cleaning your tinted windows to protect the film from scratches or bubbles. If the film has scratches or begins to flake, you will have to reapply the complete film.
Tinted windows also can be more challenging to clean as you have to beware of certain chemicals (such as ammonia) or cleaning products to avoid damage to the tinting film.
It is crucial to remember that you are not allowed to have any tint on your windshield and a maximum of 30% tint on the front left and right windows in Ontario.
Tinted windows can reduce the amount of harmful UV rays entering your car, protecting you and your family and your car’s interior. They can also reduce the heat and glare, increasing the safety of your vehicle. On the other hand, they also have the risk of reducing visibility and may be more difficult and expensive to maintain.
If you are considering getting tinted windows for your vehicle, consult with a professional car tinting company. They have the experience and expertise to advise you on the best product and tint and can ensure a professional installation to prevent issues from the get-go.
We have over 10 years of experience in the industry and hundreds of satisfied customers. With the combination of the best quality materials, professionalism, and reliability, we guarantee excellent results. Contact us today at (647) 859-5511 or fill out our convenient online form for a free consultation.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does Tinting Affect My Car Insurance?
Your car insurance premiums will not be affected as long as you adhere to the legal limits for window tinting. However, suppose you plan to travel to other provinces, which may have different window tint laws than Ontario, and you receive a ticket or are involved in an accident. Your premiums may increase as the tint would be considered illegal in that case.
Is 20% Tint Legal in Ontario?
It depends on the window. 20% window tint percentage in Ontario is perfectly legal on every window but the windshield.
What is the Maximum Legal Tint in Ontario?
For your front right and left windows, the darkest legal tint in Ontario is 30%. There is no limit for the back and rear windows, and no tint is allowed for your windshield.
How Much Does it Cost to Tint Windows in Ontario?
Is 5% Tint Legal in Ontario?
It depends on the window. 5% is perfectly legal on every window but the windshield.
Is 35% Tint Legal in Ontario?
It is legal as long as this tint is only applied in the back or rear windows. It would be above the legal limit for the front right and left windows, and your windshield cannot have any tint.