Are Headlight And Rear Tints Legal?

Are Headlight And Rear Tints Legal?

Are headlight and rear tints legal?

If you’re after that super stylish look on the road, you may have looked into headlight or rear tints, a translucent plastic wrap or specialist paint applied to your lenses. Many drivers use grey or ‘smoked’ tints for a sleek look on the road.

However, depending on where you live, these tints could potentially land you with a ticket or a hefty fine. Bad times! Some argue that very dark tints pose a huge safety risk. If your headlights are too dark, other cars won’t be able to see you at night. Also, if other drivers can’t see your lights, how can you see the road ahead with them clearly enough to be safe?

To tackle these serious safety issues, some countries and localities have banned headlight and rear tints completely. Others have placed restrictions on certain types. Keep reading this post to find out the laws for different countries, plus a round-up of some general guidelines for safe installation of tints.

Don't forget, you could always try upgrading your headlight bulbs for a whiter, more stylish look on the road without the need for a tint. 


Shop our styling bulb range here.

What’s legal in the UK?

The UK doesn’t have any laws that completely ban headlights or rear tints, but there are rules in force that restrict the kind of modifications you can make to your car lights. Generally speaking, the main rules are:

  • Lights must remain their original colour, meaning that headlights have to stay white/yellow, and rear lights red.
  • The tint can’t dim lights by more than 50%. You should still be able to see most of the light coming through.


What’s legal in the US?

Due to the differences in state laws, the US is a lot more complicated. There’s no federal law regulating tints, so it’s up to individual states to decide what is legal and what isn’t. If you’re driving through multiple states, you may well run into some problems with the law. It’s best to check the laws for each state if you’re planning a drive like this to avoid any penalties.

Many states have laws that completely ban tints. It’s illegal to put any kind of spray or film over your lights. Other states are more lenient. Some declare headlights must be white or yellow, and rear lights be red. They also specify that the lights on your car must be visible from a certain distance, usually around 500 feet.

What’s legal in Australia?

Australia share similar laws with the UK, meaning that headlights must be white/yellow, and rear lights red. There are also laws in Australia restricting tints. Tints or headlight covers that block more than 15% of the headlight beam are banned. The same guideline can be assumed to apply to rear lights, which also must be visible from a distance of 200 metres.

General guidelines

Wherever you live, here’s some general guidelines you should follow if you’re thinking about getting your lights tinted:

  • Don’t draw the curtains! Lights should be visible. Anything that completely blocks out your lights is a major safety hazard, not to mention illegal.
  • No matter how cool your smoked headlights look, they won’t look good if you crash your car. Headlights need to be bright enough to illuminate the road ahead.
  • Stick with a grey or a slightly smoked tint. These are the most popular and least likely to affect the light output. Colourful tints are illegal in most countries and can be confusing for other drivers.

Remember, your lights are an important part of your vehicle. They help you to see at night and ensure other drivers can see you clearly. If you do decide to take the plunge and get your lights tinted, make sure you stick to the road laws of your country and stay safe on the road!

If you're after the sleek look but still unsure about tints, you could try upgrading your bulbs instead. Our styling bulbs offer a whiter light on the road for extra style on the road.


Shop our styling bulb range here. 


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About the Author

John Conboy is the founder of, a UK based automotive lighting specialist, which ships bulbs worldwide. John has 20+ years experience in the industry and in that time has become an approved partner of Philips and OSRAM.