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Can my vehicle’s headlights be tinted?

You may wonder if your vehicle's headlights shine too brightly on Montana's roads, perhaps necessitating some tinting to dim the impact of your lights. At the same time, many Montana motorists understand automobile standards are carefully regulated by law, including headlight performance. As it turns out, Montana law does address the question of vehicle tinting, as well as provide guidance on the question of how bright your headlights should be.

According to the Montana Driver Manual issued by the Montana Department of Justice Motor Vehicle Division, vehicle headlights are prohibited from certain forms of tinting. Unless the tinting on the headlights complies with federal regulations that govern automobile manufacturing, vehicle headlights and tail lights cannot be tinted. Additionally, headlights and tail lights cannot be treated with any component, system, material or substance that colors the surface, unless it complies with manufacturing regulations.

Montana law also dictates that if your vehicle was manufactured following January 1, 1956, it should emit amber or white light from the front section and amber or red light from the rear. These lights should be seen up to 500 feet away by other drivers. According to state law, the following types of vehicle lights are required to generate light visible to these specific distances:

  •         Low beams and dim lights should be visible up to 100 feet
  •         300 feet for turn signals and brake lights
  •         500 feet for headlights and tail lights
  •         1,000 feet for high beams

Vehicle lights that do not comply with these standards can result in legal penalties and even vehicular accidents. In the event an automobile does not meet these standards, a technical checkup may reveal substandard manufacturing, or prohibited vehicle tinting or coloring.

This information is provided to educate you on Montana state law requirements for headlights and should not be interpreted as legal advice.

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