Guide to tinting car windows in Victoria

person tinting car windows

Danny Baggs

Posted November 01, 2023

Interested in tinting your car windows to protect from the summer heat? Find out the laws, types, costs and how dark you can tint your car windows.

Car window tinting is top of mind for some Australians as they seek to increase their car’s privacy or heat resistance, with many drivers choosing to upgrade to tinted windows when financing a brand new car. Tinting involves applying a thin film to the car window’s glass, which can range in ‘tint’, or shade, from clear to dark. It can also refer to car manufacturer tinting, which places tinting material between the layers of glass during manufacture.

Here are your questions about car window tinting answered.

What you need to know about tinted car windows

What are the benefits of tinted car windows?

Tinted car windows reduce heat from the sun, maintaining a cooler temperature inside the car – helpful for drivers in hot locations. They also protect car interiors and occupants from ultraviolet (UV) ray damage.

In addition, window tinting can provide additional privacy and security to your car, since it becomes harder for people outside to see in. This could help deter would-be thieves from breaking into your car to steal valuables.

What are the drawbacks of tinted car windows?

Good vision of the road, other road users, and potential hazards is imperative for safe driving. Tinted car windows can reduce driver vision, especially at night, in rain, fog, snow, and other poor light conditions.

VicRoads states that “it is desirable that the visible light transmittance (VLT) of windows is not reduced below the level as supplied by the vehicle manufacturer.”

person wiping dark tinted car window

It's important to ensure that window tints don't obscure your driving vision. Image: Getty


What is VLT?

VLT stands for Visible Light Transmission. It measures how much light can pass through a tinted film on glass.

What are the laws in Victoria about tinted car windows?

Applying film to windows on a motor vehicle is a modification according to VicRoads. Regulation 252 of the Road Safety (Vehicles) Interim Regulations 2020 requires all vehicle modifications to either have specific approval from VicRoads or to be carried out in accordance with guidelines published by VicRoads.

VicRoads states that all driver windows (front side windows) must have a minimum VLT of 35 per cent.

Any windows located above the driver, such as a sunroof, are exempt from minimum VLT requirements.

To apply a tint to passenger windows (rear side windows) or the rear windscreen, there must be at least one rear vision mirror is fitted to each side of the vehicle. Passenger vehicles are allowed a minimum VLT of 20 per cent on their rear side windows and rear windscreen. Light buses and vehicles for the carriage of goods (such as utes) have no minimum VLT.

The reflectance of any window fitted with film must not be more than 10 per cent: the equivalent of untreated glass.

Heavy vehicles weighing more than 4.5 tonnes come under the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator scheme and not the VicRoads regulations.

What are the laws in Victoria about tinted car windscreens?

The majority of the front windscreen must have a minimum VLT of 70 per cent. No film is permitted, with tinting only acceptable if the windscreen is darkened by the car manufacturer.

Above the wiper arc area or on the top 10 per cent of the windscreen (whichever is greater), tinted bands of less than 70 per cent VLT are permitted. This tinted band must not cover any camera or sensors mounted inside the vehicle.


car on road with rear windows tinted dark

There are many different types of window tints. Image: Supplied


What is privacy glass?

Some car manufacturers darken their car windows during manufacture. These are known as body tinted windows or privacy glass, and are usually marked with ‘TINTED’, ‘V’, or ‘AS3’.

If a factory-tinted window has a VLT below VicRoads requirements, you may not apply any film to the window. If the factory-tinted window has a VLT above VicRoads requirements, then any applied film must not result in a VLT less than the requirements stated above.

What types of tinted film are there?

There are several kinds of tinted film for car windows. They may include:

  • Crystalline film – a multi-layered film that’s almost transparent, blocking heat and UV rays while maintaining a normal clear window look. This is not a film for privacy, but it maintains clear driving vision.
  • Plastic film – the basic window tint is a thin, multi-layered plastic film that dyed in different densities. It’s an affordable option that provides basic but decent UV protection and privacy.
  • Metallised film – a film that uses metal microparticles to reflect heat and UV rays. They have a shiny finish and are more scratch-resistant than dyed window tints. The metal particles can also help strengthen your car’s windows. 
  • Hybrid film – this window tint combined plastic and metallised films to enhance the tint’s strength and UV blocking, while remaining more affordable than a fully metallised film.
  • Carbon film – a film embedded with reflective carbon particles, which very effectively reflect heat and block up to 40 per cent of infrared light. They have a matte finish that some find more aesthetically pleasing than metallised films.
  • Ceramic film – ceramic films don’t contain any dye or metal particles, but instead use ceramic micro-particles to tint your windows. Ceramic film is shatter-resistant, difficult to scratch, and reduces UV rays by up to 99 per cent. They are a costly tint option but are very effective, and widely considered the best option for most cars.
  • Chameleon film – this window tint changes shade depending on lighting, temperature and view angle. It uses nanoparticles that change colour in different conditions.


car with clear windscreen without tint

Tinting of the windscreen is only acceptable if the windscreen is darkened by the car manufacturer. Image: Supplied


How do I get my car windows tinted?

If you decide to tint your windows, going to a professional installer is recommended. DIY tinting can result in bubbled or wrinkles in the film, leading to poor visibility. Do your research, checking that your chosen installer has a good track record and the appropriate certification.

How much do tinted windows cost?

Car window tinting typically starts from $200 for basic films, with a single window costing around $70. More expensive films can cost significantly more. The price will depend on what type of tint you need, what kind of car you have, how many windows you want to tint, and how big those windows are. 

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