Navigating Tinted Windows: Is 20 Percent Tint Legal in Iowa?

The allure of tinted windows on vehicles lies in their ability to provide privacy, reduce glare, and shield passengers from the sun’s intense rays. However, as drivers consider the aesthetic and functional benefits of window tinting, it’s important to understand the legal regulations that govern this practice. In Iowa, like many other states, window tint laws are in place to ensure safety on the roads while allowing for a certain level of customization. This article delves into the specifics of window tinting regulations in Iowa, particularly addressing the question: Is 20 percent tint legal?

Understanding Window Tint Laws in Iowa

Iowa, like most states, has established laws that dictate the permissible levels of window tint darkness on vehicles. These laws are in place to ensure that drivers and law enforcement officers can maintain clear visibility through windows, especially during nighttime and adverse weather conditions. The degree of window tint darkness is measured in terms of Visible Light Transmission (VLT), which represents the percentage of light that can pass through the window.

Legal Tint Levels in Iowa

Iowa follows the following window tint regulations:

  1. Windshield: Non-reflective tint is allowed on the top portion of the windshield above the manufacturer’s AS-1 line. The AS-1 line is a reference point marked on most windshields, typically located a few inches from the top.
  2. Front Side Windows: Window tint must allow more than 70 percent of light to pass through. This means that only a light tint, often referred to as a “clear” or “light smoke” tint, is permissible on front side windows.
  3. Back Side Windows and Rear Window: There are no restrictions on tint darkness for rear side windows or the rear window. This means that you can apply darker tints, including 20 percent tint or even lower, to these windows.

Is 20 Percent Tint Legal in Iowa?

While Iowa law mandates that front side windows must allow more than 70 percent of light to pass through, there are no specific regulations regarding tint darkness for rear side windows and the rear window. Therefore, a 20 percent tint or darker tint on these windows is generally considered legal in Iowa.

Keep in Mind: Changing Laws and Updates

It’s important to note that laws and regulations can change over time. Therefore, it’s recommended to verify the current window tint regulations with the official Iowa Department of Transportation or a legal authority to ensure accuracy.


Window tinting regulations exist to balance personal preferences with road safety. In Iowa, while 20 percent tint or darker tint is typically legal for rear side windows and the rear window, it’s crucial to adhere to the specific regulations outlined by the state. Before applying any tint, it’s wise to stay informed about the latest laws and consult official sources to ensure compliance. Remember, staying within the legal limits ensures both a personalized driving experience and the safety of yourself and others on the road.