Tinted windows are a desirable addition to your vehicle. The sleek toned-down windows have been a popular modification for decades. If you own a car and are looking to modify it, you must understand the rules and regulations surrounding motor vehicle modification. Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as simply modifying your vehicle without looking into what can and cannot be done. There are specific rules that determine what vehicle owners can do, and they exist to ensure your safety. In this guide, we go through everything you need to know about window tinting in Ontario. We’ll break down some of the tinted window restrictions, along with general pros and cons so that you can make an informed decision for your vehicle.
Are tinted windows legal?
If you are looking to tint your windows and modify your car, you’re in luck! Tinted windows are legal in Ontario. However, certain conditions apply. For example, you are allowed to tint your rear windows to an extent of your choosing, but front windows can only be tinted up to 30%. Your windshield shouldn’t be tinted at all. Any new, lease or purchased vehicle will be manufactured adhering to provincial laws. However, if you’re planning on buying a used vehicle, it’s your responsibility to fix the windows, if necessary.
Why are there laws for window tinting?
You may be asking yourself, why are these laws for tinted windows in place? Well, the short answer is that safety is the first priority! Here is a breakdown of how the laws affect windows in your car:
The law for windshields is more clear-cut than the laws for front windows, as it specifically states that no aftermarket tinting is allowed on your windshield. A 30% VLT strip on top of 7.5 centimetres may be allowed.
The main reason is that police need to have access to the front windows of cars to ensure everyone’s safety. Some of the things they look for include:
- If the front-seat passengers are wearing their seatbelts.
- Increased visibility to ensure the driver isn’t texting while driving.
- Cars with tinted windows often provide cover for criminals trying to evade the law or conduct nefarious activity.
- This law is in place to help Ontarian drivers drive more safely. With a clear window, a driver can easily make eye contact with cyclists, pedestrians, and other drivers.
Front side windows
Ontario law is not straightforward when it comes to the regulations surrounding front window tinting. The Ontario Highway Safety Act says: “Any window to the direct left or right of the driver’s seat […] substantially obscures the interior of the motor vehicle, when viewed from outside the motor vehicle”. Therefore, no tint is recommended. A 30% VLT may be permitted.
Rear-side and back-side windows
There are no laws regarding what you are allowed to do with both your rear and back windows. You can tint them in whatever way you like! However, if they are tinted, you have a requirement to have left and right external rear-view mirrors to improve your visibility.
What are the benefits of window tinting?
- Aesthetics: Some people want their back windows completely blacked out in order to provide a more exclusive look to their vehicle. Others prefer a subtle tint to elevate the overall aesthetic. If you are dissatisfied with the factory finish of your car, window tinting is one of the easiest ways to upgrade its appearance.
- Blocks light: Many people tint their back windows in order to limit damaging sunlight penetration. Parents with infants or toddlers don’t have to worry about installing baby blinds in the back. It is also beneficial because exposure to harmful UV rays all the time can be dangerous.
- Keeps the skin safe: Blocking out UV sun rays with tinted windows can also keep your skin safe from skin cancer. By limiting the amount of rays that will hit your body, the chance of getting sunburns and other skin damage lessens.
- Keeps the car cool: With ceramic tints, you can also block the majority of infrared rays that penetrate your windows. By cutting these rays, you no longer need to use your AC for an extended period of time because the film acts as a heat barrier.
- Increased security: When the windows are darker, it makes it more difficult for people to see into your car. If you accidentally leave your phone in your car, you are less likely to have your vehicle broken into.
Do tinted windows affect my insurance?
In Ontario, window tinting doesn’t affect your insurance policy. However, this is as long as your car meets all vehicle inspection regulations, and the front windows and windshield are not tinted beyond 30%. However, you also need to be aware that if you get into a crash in another province, you will be subject to their tinting laws. This might affect your insurance. It is important to keep in mind the penalties for unlawful car window tints. In Ontario, these fines can range from $85-500. This is a hefty chunk of change for something that can be easily avoided, so make sure you do your research before tinting your vehicle!
What happens if I’m pulled over by the police?
It is important to follow this law for so many reasons, including if you are pulled over by police. They will check your car’s tinted windows by using a photometer. A photometer will measure the amount of light that comes through your front windows, thus measuring how tinted the windows are. To prevent this from happening, you can use a tint metre or download an app to check the tints yourself.
What are my options when it comes to tints?
If you are ready to add tints to your car, we’ve got information on the tint percentages you can choose from. The most common choice is 50% tinted, which follows provincial laws, but also helps block out UV rays. If theft is your main concern regarding your vehicle, we would recommend going with a 20% tint. This is a darker option that still follows all provincial laws. And if you are looking for an even darker look, you can go with a 5% tint. However, this can be a risky choice, and is usually only used for private cars and limousines.
Remember, before you purchase any vehicle or modify it, you need it insured! If you are in the market for new insurance, why not check out isure? We have some of the best premiums in the province as well as customer service representatives that are always here to answer your questions. Contact us or request a quote today!