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Tinted Windows
updated: Nov 07, 2012, 10:51 AM

By Edhat Subscriber

I got a fix it ticket yesterday for having tinted windows on the drivers and passengers side windows. The car came that way from Mazda. The tinting is minimal. Am I to replace the glass? Most of the cars I see are lightly tinted? What is up?

Comments in order of when they were received | (reverse order)

 COMMENT 340166 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-07 10:56 AM

It's hard to imagine that factory tint is a problem. Are you sure an additional tint wasn't added before you got it? I see lots of tinted windows, sure many are illegal, my standard is if I can't see the driver's eyes and make eye contact, it is too dark. If it is truly factory, I'd go to the police station and ask them to sign off, they probably will think they are okay as is.


 COMMENT 340169 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-07 10:59 AM

You could take it to a tint shop and ask them if your windows have window tint film on them. Try Cal Coast on Chapala. If it does, have them remove the film. Then you can get the ticked signed off.


 COMMENT 340170P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-07 10:59 AM

If it is not aftermarket and not bubbled, you're in the clear. Otherwise, unless it's clear tint, you're SOL.



 COMMENT 340172 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-07 10:59 AM

It's simple. California law states that no tint is allowed on either the front passenger or driver side windows. Period. I had the same issue when I purchased my Mazda3, it came from Nevada and the dealer there tinted the windows. I had it removed to avoid any question of getting a ticket.

Usually, they don't ticket you just for the tint. Usually it's an add on violation on top of a moving violation. Maybe they are getting more aggressive?


 COMMENT 340182P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-07 11:15 AM

Here is some more info:


According to my interpretation of these laws, front windows (both driver & passenger) may have aftermarket "tint" if the tint sheet itself has 88%+ transmittance (AKA light going through), and in combination with the window, 70%+ transmittance. However, the CHP website link I posted earlier says that NO aftermarket tint is allowed. But, the law clearly states that tint may be "installed, affixed, or applied" to these windows if it meets the requirements.

I don't know what to tell you anymore, the law and the CHP website seem to conflict. Good luck...


 COMMENT 340184 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-07 11:15 AM

Its illegal in CA as is not having a front license plate and having anything in/on your windshield (GPS devices stuck to your windshield) get your windows fixed or sell your car to a AZ or NV resident.


 COMMENT 340191 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-07 11:21 AM

Talk to the people at Mazda. If it turns out that they are selling cars that are illegal in California they should correct the problem. If the tint is legal they should be able to help defend your car.


 COMMENT 340194 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-07 11:24 AM

Tint shops can remove the tinting. It's a fix it ticket. Remove it, show it to the DMV. You can reapply it but risk ticketing. I had my Honda windsheild and driver/passenger windows minimally tinted for 7 years and was lucky to not be ticketed.


 COMMENT 340195 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-07 11:25 AM

I agree that many cars I see have tint on these windows. My tinter said the only thing that was legal was a clear film that cut down the UV rays, but that some people went for a light tint on the front windows and didn't get in trouble for that. My neighbor had a light tint installed made sure that he rolled down his windows if he was ever stopped for any reason. Never got a ticket for that.

But it seems illegal unless the tint is 0 or very light so if the cop wants to bust you, they can.


 COMMENT 340196 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-07 11:27 AM

If everyone in CA realized tint would keep their car cooler on the inside and therefore use less gas(less A/C running) and decrease our pollution, i'm sure people would not be so anti-tint.

Aside from it being illegal, what is people's problem with tint? From experience please.


 COMMENT 340201 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-07 11:30 AM

@196: Your entire comment made me laugh...every word of it. Thank you.


 COMMENT 340202 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-07 11:31 AM

personal experience problem with tint: when it is dark enough that I cannot see the driver clearly, I can't tell that the driver has seen me, and thus have to assume he/she has not. Think about how often when you are driving that being able to see the driver lets you know what he/she is going to do next ...


 COMMENT 340207 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-07 11:34 AM

194: When OP fixes the violation, they need to show the fix to the organization that issued the ticket (police, sherrif, or CHP). The DMV isn't involved here.


 COMMENT 340210 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-07 11:38 AM

I was pulled over on 101 for that as well. It was very scary getting back on the freeway at a high enough speed - I hope the fixit ticket was worth it!


 COMMENT 340213P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-07 11:44 AM

I don't get it. Why is window tinting so necessary in todays world? Is it because we have become accustomed to spending all our waking hours indoors in front of a TV or computer monitor? Have we become sensitive to sunlight and need protecting? I say, open your curtains people, get out of the basement and go outdoors and get your dose of vitamin D.


 COMMENT 340220 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-07 11:53 AM

I bought a car from out of state with tinting. I removed the front-side tinting because of the law and it cut down on visibility but kept the back tinting for privacy. Easy to do with a razor blade (careful not to scratch) and some glass cleaner - it took a couple of hours but if the tint is new it'll probably go faster.


 COMMENT 340222 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-07 11:57 AM

What VC is listed on the ticket?


 COMMENT 340224 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-07 12:03 PM

182 - I agree with your reading however it also states the material must be " clear, colorless, and transparent" - so not tinted at all. I don't know what the purpose of said clear material would be.


 COMMENT 340225 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-07 12:04 PM

When I bought my Nissan (8 years ago) brand new there was a slight tint on the drivers and passenger windows..not enough to do much other than keep some of the sun's heat out of the car..but you can hardly tell. I wonder how much your window's are tinted. Definitely get it checked to make sure it has an aftermarket tint and have it removed. If it's a factory tint take it back to Mazda and make it their issue.


 COMMENT 340226 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-07 12:05 PM

Tinted windows serve the same purpose as a hoodie- to hide the occupant. This jazz about keeping the car cooler is bunk.

The problem with hiding yourself from the other drivers and cops is no one can see you and therefore can't see what you may be about to do, where you may be about to go. Combine that with no turn signals and it becomes a dangerous scenario. People need to see where you're looking and they can't do it with tints that are too dark..

What are you hiding anyway? Your stoned, drunk mug is what. Are you the same people who pull up slightly behind at the stop light to check out the other drivers without being seen yourself? Are you the blind-spot hangers-on who do the same?


 COMMENT 340231 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-07 12:17 PM

202: Never ever rely on thinking the other driver saw you. That's how accidents happen.
196: Sorry, but that's a stretch. I like tint because I wear sunglasses, but I can only wear them when I have contacts in - if I wear my glasses, I'm SOL and stuck squinting. I also like how cars look with tint, but the practical application would be my motivation for getting tint. The reason for not having tint is primarily a safety issue, and is two-fold. 1) It enables you to see better if you do not have tint (primarily at night, unless it's so dark it inhibits your vision during the day). 2) The cops can see YOU better from outside your car. Sorry, but privacy is a luxury afforded to you in your home, not so much in your car. Cops want to be able to see you well enough to know if you appear to be reaching for a weapon, or you're talking on the phone, or texting, or any other behavior that could endanger them (or is illegal & they can ticket you for - yay revenue!).


 COMMENT 340235P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-07 12:24 PM

224, good point. How can something be clear, colorless, and transparent without having close to 100% light transmittance though?? Weird. Legal language doesn't make sense scientifically I guess...


 COMMENT 340247 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-07 12:43 PM

If you drive for hours at a time, you'll be glad you have tint.


 COMMENT 340253 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-07 01:02 PM

Completely illegal in California, despite what window tinting shops and misinformed Edhat commenters will tell you.

Tinted windows are dangerous. You can't make eye contact with other drivers, cyclists or pedestrians when your windows are tinted, which just makes it less safe for everyone. And sure, it's also because the cops want to be able to see into your car, which is important for their safety.


 COMMENT 340257 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-07 01:11 PM

The clear film can still block UV rays that cause your interior to fade and plastic to crack. That is the utility.


 COMMENT 340258 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-07 01:12 PM

If the police cannot see the drivers face clearly enough to ID them they will pull you over.


 COMMENT 340261P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-07 01:23 PM

Basically SBPD motor officers are bored, and have nothing better to do to the property owning, tax paying, law abiding citizens than to pull us over for chickens**t CVC violations. Hey, at least they generate a $25 fee for getting the ticket signed off.

Way to go SBPD! Thanks!


 COMMENT 340265P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-07 01:38 PM

253, maybe you can explain why the law seems to say otherwise? CHP website agrees with you, but the law sounds different - just trying to understand the logic of this, it all seems contradictory...


 COMMENT 340271P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-07 01:51 PM

261P Pretty darned funny. Just how many of those driving here in SB are property owning and tax paying and law abiding citizens? Those are the ones being pulled over and ticketed?

What percentage are renters, illegals, DUIs, drivers with no license, no insurance? How many are driving stolen cars, cars with no registration and cars with bald tires, no brake lights, etc. ?

You seem to have all the answers. I would love to know.


 COMMENT 340280 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-07 02:27 PM

257 - Factory window already block the UV light. Has for decades. This is why you don't see faded upholstery and cracking dashboards in older model like you did in the 1970s.


 COMMENT 340282 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-07 02:31 PM

Had to scroll 2 pages for @253 to give the full and correct answer. About par for the course.


 COMMENT 340285P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-07 02:43 PM

257, you should see my bright violet rear rear deck upholstery on my beemer, it was jet black a handful of years ago. Must have cut corners on the back windshield. ;-)


 COMMENT 340289P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-07 02:50 PM

I heard that if you just pay the ticket & fine, but don't fix the tint issue, nothing will happen until you get caught again. If you get caught again, you just pay the ticket & fine and don't fix the tint issues, nothing happens..... just pay the ticket and keep the dark tinted windows.


 COMMENT 340314 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-07 04:13 PM

I have paid for tint twice! But its worth it so would be thieves don't steal my navigation and stereo and my golf clubs....It adds a cool look to the car, but it does make vision worse at night. So when i drive i usually roll down my windows to be safe


 COMMENT 340345 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-07 05:21 PM

Tinting means nobody can see what you're smoking while talking on your cell phone and applying make-up. Cops especially can't see if you have a weapon. In either case, there's no legitimate reason to tint front windows.


 COMMENT 340370P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-07 06:21 PM

@314 : Oh, how ridiculous!
@345: You forgot texting, reading maps and painting your nails!) (I do love your comment.)
@353: Police have plenty to do nowadays. A lot of good ones here in SB. Nice guys. I wish them all to be as safe from harm as possible.


 COMMENT 340425P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-07 09:52 PM

I wrote the post. I was just pulled over at 300 East Haley for the tinted windows only VC 26708(a) (2) tinted front side windows. No other violation. I'm a 25 year local tax paying property owner and small business owner in downtown SB. The tint is hardly noticeable. The moto cop said he write lots of these violations. I'll check with Mazda and thank you all for the great input.


 COMMENT 340443 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-08 06:43 AM

strange. you all seem to be worried about the police and other drivers being able to see your eyes to tell what you are doing. what do you do at night-ride around with your dome light on? don't be so stupid....please


 COMMENT 340460 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-08 07:32 AM

If I were a police officer, I would not want to approach a car where I could not see the driver clearly. They could have a weapon. I would think the law is largely to provide for police safety?


 COMMENT 340463P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-08 07:38 AM

Lots of conflicting info here. Hope the OP can sort it out.


 COMMENT 340466 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-08 07:46 AM

you must have been on Hollister in Old Town.....that handsome motor officer keeps himself really busy!


 COMMENT 340480 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-08 08:17 AM

If you would like to keep your windows tinted go see your dermatologist and get a prescription for the tint.


 COMMENT 340482 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-08 08:25 AM

It's illegal; below is from chp.ca.gov website:

1.The windshield and front driver's side and passenger's side windows cannot receive any aftermarket tinting.
2.If the rear window of a vehicle is tinted, the vehicle must have outside rearview mirrors on both sides.

The law prohibits any person from driving any motor vehicle with any object or material placed, displayed, installed, affixed, or applied upon the windshield or side or rear windows, with certain limited exceptions.
However, legislation signed into law effective January 1, 1999, exempts from the above prohibition specified clear, colorless, and transparent material that is installed, affixed, or applied to the front driver and passenger side windows for the specific purpose of reducing ultraviolet rays. If, as, or when this material becomes torn, bubbled or otherwise worn, it must be removed or replaced.


 COMMENT 340500 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-08 09:02 AM

I love how so many are quick to assume people tint their windows to hide "texting, applying makeup, smoking, etc." Has anyone thought that maybe some just like the way it looks on their vehicle?


 RESIDENT agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-08 09:26 AM

Most of the posts here that describe not being able to see into the car at all assume the darkest of tinting.

But don't you all agree that whether or not tinting prevents cops or other drivers from seeing the driver's eyes, or hands, etc. is dependent on the degree of tinting - from clear UV filter tint to almost black.

The CHP doesn't want their officers to have to make a subjective call as to whether the amount of tinting is too much so they prohibit all tinting.

If the "tinting" is factory tint in the glass itself, the OP should have a valid argument that it does not fall under the CHP prohibition because it is not "aftermarket" tinting. Showing it to the PD or CHP office should, in that case get the citation signed off. I suspect that there is a $ charge for even that however.


 COMMENT 340528 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-08 09:31 AM

Tinted windows in cars should not be allowed, period. As a pedestrian I can't see driver, or anyone else in the car. The same would occur for any policemen or Highway Patrol, I should think -- re criminals, abductors, etc.


 COMMENT 340778 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-08 07:31 PM

I called the CHP and was told that the reason you can't tint the side window is that in the event of accident the glass cannot shatter in a safe manner as it is designed to do, but because of the "stickiness" of the tint material could break in "dangerous" shards.


 COMMENT 340798 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-08 08:13 PM

778 LOL That's the reason they gave you? That is funny. If you put a film on glass the glass wont break in shards, it will stay attached to the window in one piece


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