The Low Down On Car Windows. Tinting Laws In Australia & Mobile Windscreen Repairers.

Car windscreens are an essential piece of the vehicle, and windscreen glass is designed to protect a car’s passengers from the outside elements.  This article is about car windscreen tinting as well as car windscreen replacement which was featured in a television investigative report some time ago which exposed potential windscreen repair dangers.  The television piece highlighted the importance of getting mobile windscreen repairs and replacements properly done as a poorly done job could cost the occupants of a vehicle their lives.  See more at the end of this article.

Vehicle Window Tinting Laws – it is important to remember that not just any window tinting will do.  We all would love to have the dark windows that people on the street cannot see inside your vehicle “the gangster look”.  Before you rush out and buy window tinting from an overseas website to get “the look”, you need to be aware of what the window tinting laws are in your respective state.  Window tinting laws are in place for a reason, and that’s to have regulations including the degree of darkness for safety especially at dusk, night, during heavy rain and not to obscure the drivers vision as well as a rear vision during the overtaking process.  There is also importance for the pedestrians at intersections to make vision with the drivers at intersections.  I recall many windows tinting jobs in the past were done quite poorly, and the result was a “bubbled” look.

Generally, on window tint laws in Australia they work on VLT or Visible Light Transmission.  Visible light transmission (VLT) is the measure of the amount of light that passes through a window.  For example,  35% VLT means 35% of the available light passes through both the window and the tint membrane together, and the rest of the light is blocked.  The window film Association of Australia might also be good to check out on how dark can you legally tint your car windows in Australia.

Basically, for all states window tinting regulations other than the front windscreen of the vehicle are:

  • VICNSWACTSATAS and QLD – a minimum VLT of 35 percent applies to all side and back windows.
  • NT – driver and front passenger side windows must have a resultant VLT of not less than 35 percent. Windows behind the driver can be tinted to a minimum resultant VLT of 16 percent.
  • WA – driver and front passenger side windows must have a resultant VLT of not less than 35 percent. Windows behind the driver can be tinted to a minimum resultant VLT of 20 percent.

Remember always to check your local state regulations, i.e., ring or go to the transport office before having the window tinting applied as window tinting laws in your State may have changed at the time of writing.  When I searched the Victorian legislation, the available documents on the VicRoads for download and guidance was 2009.  The WA document was 2013 so these laws may change at any time.  If you apply window tinting to your vehicle, it may render your car unroadworthy as a modification and there are strict penalties.

Western Australia Car Window Tinting Regulations:

There is a document that provides the lowdown on car window tinting laws in Western Australia produced by the WA transport office – the report named IB119C is dated April 2013.  This bulletin provides guidance on tint, perforated artwork, advertising stickers, labels, logos, decals and any other form such as paint applied to the vehicle’s glass.  This section serves as an overview and readers should also read the above document and any other information available from the WA Transport office.  Essentially, the car window tinting regulations in Western Australia state that tinted window film is not allowed on the main part of the windscreen.  A tinted band is permitted on the front windscreen provided it is above the area swept by the window wipers and does not impede any area of the “primary vision” area of the windshield and must not exceed more than 10% of the windscreen area.

Passenger Vehicles in Western AustraliaThe tinting on the vehicles glass must not be a mirror or reflective so as to “dazzle” the drivers.  I remember this was a real problem in Queensland back in the 1980s where some drivers had a reflective mirror finish on their windscreens, and this was a problem which the sun hit that person vehicle at a particular angle.  The reflective material may not be entirely banned however as there is a mention in the document of the “Road vehicle standards rules 2002” which allows reflective materials to 10%.  I would never put any reflective style tinting on even if it was permitted for the sake of dazzling the vision of other drivers having had the experience.

The document states where the drivers area is the VLT is 35%.  Behind the drivers area, it’s 20% VLT.

There is the exemptions on a case by case basis for “privacy glass”.  Document IB119C also goes on to state: “Some types of vehicles also have exemption ambulances, hearses and coroners’ cars have a particular need for privacy and are permitted to have window tinting film of less than 20% VLT behind the “B” pillar”.

western australia tinting laws
source: WA Transport IB119C

Commercial Vehicle Tinting: Example of a commercial vehicle which has 35% VLT to front driver window. 20% on rear window.
source: WA Transport IB119C
Bus Window Tinting: Example of bus with 35% VLT for driver (front window) and 20% VLT on windows behind driver.
source: WA Transport IB119C
Limousine Tinting.

source: WA Transport IB119C
Passenger Vehicle Tinting: Required 35% to front and 20% VLT to rear windows behind the "B" Pillar.

Here’s a word on mobile windscreen repairs.  A piece I recall back in 2011 aired on the Channel Seven Today Tonight program.   The producers questioned the safety standards of mobile windscreen repairers who at the time of airing (2011) were not licenced to perform installations.  The program also highlighted that poorly installed windscreens could be the difference between life and death and many technicians were taking short cuts on the installation and windscreen replacement jobs.  The reason being saving 10 to 15 minutes meant the ability to do more jobs in a day.  What the TV program highlighted was that in an accident the windscreens deflect the airbag of the car and stops the roof caving in on the passengers – as reported.  Were you aware that touching the glass with bare hands during a replacement of the windscreen makes the window “give way” in an accident?

Technicians were from the following glass companies:

  • Novus Windscreen Replacement – replaced a Nissan Navara Windscreen (Plastic panel not removed by specialist and did not use  gloves when handling the glass which apparently weakens the glass after “activation” and was said to be “pretty much useless” by the videos expert used)
  • Instant Windscreens – Replacing a glass on a VT Commodore.  The concern was about the gloves contaminating the windscreen.  It was said the problem was contaminating the glass during the deployment of the airbag on the passenger side.
  • Brisbane’s Northside Windscreens – Technicians fingers touched the glass, and the technician handled the glass.
  • ABC Discount Windscreens replaced a glass on a Hyundai accent.

Some states aren’t using registration labels but remember to get your registration sticker placed back on the new windscreen.  Requesting a replacement label following replacement of a windshield from VicRoads, Victoria – Click Here  NRMA piece on its website about broken windscreens and repair – Click Here

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