Well, not if you’re in Alberta, Canada. The legalities of using aftermarket lighting, even headlights, on cars, trucks, RV’s, and boats can be strict in certain areas. The United States, however, pretty much allows things like underglow packages and wheel lights for a car, given certain provisions:

Colors Are SUPER Important!

This one should be a no-brainer, but if you’re rockin’ red and blue flashing lights on your vehicle, you can pretty much expect to have an, let’s say, uncomfortable day with any of the OTHER cars that rock those color lights.

Red and blue in particular are not allowed to be shown from the front of anything except emergency vehicles in ANY state, and will get you a ticket and possibly arrested, depending on the mood of the officer at your window.

HOWEVER, red and blue are not expressly forbidden on various parts of the vehicle in different states.

Location Is Everything, Know Your Local Laws

Colorado, for instance, does not have any specific laws on red and blue lighting, (such as underglow or wheel lights), except in regard to the front of the vehicle. Green light, on the other hand, is illegal to display anywhere on the vehicle. Therefore, Colorado residents view underglow lighting legal, and it is up to the owner if they want to try the red and blue underglow. Know The Laws

In my lovely state, Florida, red light is not allowed to be displayed from the front of the vehicle, and blue light is illegal anywhere on the vehicle. Also, flashing lights on the front are prohibited.

I have the slow scrolling Knight Rider-style scanner light in my grille, which I’m sure is riding the line. I’ve passed a couple of state boys with no incident though, so I’m leaning toward legal.

In California, they enforce brightness laws on underglow kits, the vehicle may not emit more than 0.05 candela, (base unit of luminous intensity), from any aftermarket lighting. Also, any installed lighting must be at least 12 inches from the required lighting on the vehicle.

In certain places, such as Washington D.C., basically any display of aftermarket lighting on a moving vehicle is illegal, and even when parked you are advised not to display red, blue, or flashing lights.

No matter where you go, if you love running your LED lighting kits, be sure to know what will get you stopped. Here is a list of all the state laws regarding underglow.

Have A Little Respect

While those of us with aftermarket vehicle lighting on our cars really enjoy driving around with them on all the time, it’s always a wise idea to have your lighting on a killswitch, preferably right at your fingertips. Why?

Because its not just YOUR highway.

If you are approaching an emergency scene, the last thing that the first responders need is more confusion. Go ahead and shut off your cool lights for a minute until you clear the scene. Trust me, during those moments, nobody cares one way or the other about your lights, and the least you can do is try not to distract the guys risking thir lives on the side of the road.

I also suggest that when driving through residential neighborhoods at night, especially after a certain hour, maybe 10 or 11, go ahead and kill it. Honestly, you’re just shining irritating lights into the bedroom windows of hard working people, while they’re trying to sleep.

One other concession, if you’re planning on speeding, or in any other way intending on breaking a law, use common sense. Turn off the bright, flashy eye-catcher and stop drawing attention to yourselves!

All you guys rockin’ underglow that get arrested for messing around with your lights on, you are making it more difficult for police to decide the lights are okay. Which means more of a chance I’ll get stopped, which I am not a big fan of.

You Do You, Just Be Aware…

I'm Calling The Cops!

If those of us who have a strong appreciation for our auto modifications didn’t try so hard to stretch the laws, there’s a good chance the laws would stay simple and easy on us.

If everyone keeps running around in the middle of the night, blasting the speakerbox like it’s Spring Break and lighting up the night like Vegas, then you can bet one thing:

The laws will change. Not for the better, I might add.

As it stands, underglow lighting laws remain pretty vague in most states, which allows us the freedom to act as we please. If we blatantly disrespect the other human beings around us though, people WILL put their voices together and change the laws.

Sure, you can blast the neighborhood with your own expression of personal freedom, just be aware that it’s not always welcomed.

And more often than not, people are cussing when you disrupt their peace. I know that isn’t the effect I go for with my auto upgrades.

I’m going for cool, not disrespectful.

Ultimately, It’s Your Call

No matter what, it’s still your world, this is your oyster.

You want lights on your rims, by all means, put lights on your rims. I did, and I haven’t regretted it yet. I have had the foresight so far to make sure I’m not running reds or blues, and the cops haven’t stopped me yet for running green.

That’s not to say I don’t keep a close eye on the sides of the road. One of these days, I’m sure I’ll irritate an officer and have to deal with that situation. I just hope that when it happens, he’ll let me know what he expects in his area of town, so I don’t have to make it a recurring issue.

I hope, if nothing else, I have given you pause for a moment, to consider that every action you take has consequences. Even the simple act of enhancing your favorite machine can lead to possible legal issues, if you aren’t aware of the actual laws regarding vehicle modification.

Do yourself a favor… Stay informed.

Bobby

Founder of SickLites.com

If you have any questions regarding this article, or you’d just like to put your 2 cents in, feel free to leave a message in the comment section below. I’ll get back to you ASAP! Thank you for your time!

30 thoughts on “Wheel Lights For A Car? Is That Even Legal?

  • Don’t think underglow lighting is legal in Washington State because I can’t recall having seen it. I have seen extra flashing lights when brake pedal is depressed and think this is actually a good thing. When in freeway rush hour traffic anything alerting me to the car in front of me having something extra is great in my opinion.
    It is common sense, respect for others and considerate to turn off your lights and turn down your music when going through a residential area at night. Thank you.

    • Thanks for stopping by and checking out my blog, Suzanne!

      You are correct, it looks like Washington only allows aftermarket lighting on private propery, and even then you aren’t allowed to display any red or blue. What a bummer, it’s always so cool to see a nice car with some underglow go cruising by!

      I agree with you that the extra lighting serves the purpose of making other drivers aware of your vehicle around them, that’s actually one of my philosophies as a driver. If you value your vehicle and its’ need to stay in good shape, one is wise to draw as much attention to it as possible, without being over the top.

      Small little accessories make a world of difference in what catches the human eye, and a simple blinking light in a place it wouldn’t normally be is more than enough to make you register that “something is happening over there”.

      Thanks again for the input, Suzanne! Tell any of the car enthusiasts you know about my site, I should be linking to products soon, and they will make great gifts for car people! 🙂

  • Nate MC

    I knew there were laws in regards to car lights in general, but not in regards to wheel lights or to the extent of the above, such as specific colored lights like red and blue. And yea, I think it’s a good idea for drivers to have their lighting on a “kill-switch” and within easy access.

    • Bobby

      Thanks for stopping by to comment, Nate! 

      From what I can tell, there aren’t any laws SPECIFICALLY about wheel lights, but the broad use of the terminology in the existing laws pretty much gets used to include wheel lighting. I’m sure the right lawyer could fight a charge, but in all honesty, most lighting violations are considered non-moving violations, punishable by ticketing. 

      The red and blue flashing lights on the front, however, can and will get you a felony charge of impersonating an officer if you use it to make people pull their vehicles over so you can go by. That’s not really worth the adrenaline of making traffic part like the Red Sea for a few minutes, prison seems like a pretty crappy place to be. LOL

      I appreciate your input, brotha. I wish you great success and I hope you have an excellent week!

      Bobby

  • Ben Kuriger

    Very interesting post Bobby! Certainly a topic that I hand’t really considered. However, I do appreciate the eccentric looking cars on the roads and have always been a fan of standing out in my automobiles. I may just have to invest in colors on my rims at some point in the near future.

    All the best my friend,

    Ben Kuriger

    • Bobby

      Right? I kinda stumbled into this niche because of a recommended item on Amazon when I was looking for light fixtures for my RV, and when I saw how affordable these auto LED lights are, I remembered just how cool I always think these lit up rides are. Why not delve into it a little? 

      I have no regrets either, I’ve spent about 40 DOLLARS on lights for my truck, and it’s already become the coolest vehicle I’ve ever owned. I did, however, thoroughly research Florida’s underglow laws before I put the Knight Rider scanner on the front. Last thing I need is traffic tickets or worse. 

      Anyway Ben, I thoroughly appreciate you taking the time to check me out, feel free to swing through anytime!

      Bobby

  • Henry

    Hi Bobby! I’m glad to read Colorado doesn’t have specific laws on red and blue lighting. And I appreciate you have also mentioned from the very start that wheel lights are illegal in Alberta, Canada. I’ll be careful and bear this in mind.

    I fully agree with your reasonable suggestions concerning emergency scenes. We all need a little respect. We can enjoy cool lights but always being sensitive.

    • Bobby

      Henry, I’m glad you understand my point about respect. Above all the other information in that post, I want people to start treating each other with the same respect they expect for themselves. It would be a much nicer world, and definitely a much nicer DRIVE if we all just acted right on the highways. There’s nothing more exhausting than dealing with ridiculous road ragers and disrespectful drivers.

      Thank you very much for taking the time to read my blog, I always appreciate feedback from my readers. Feel free to follow me on Instagram, I’m about to start venturing out into the world for content, and hopefully I have plenty of intersting things to share!

      Great success to you, and I hope you have a great day!

  • Andy

    First of all I thought California had completely banned this. Nice to see that I am wrong, and I should read more. I really like your article and i will try it whenever I get my new car, maybe a Tesla? But who knows. Anyways this is great knowledge and made me know more about certain law. I hope to see your next work soon. See you.

    • Bobby

      Thanks for taking the time to check out my post, Andy!

      Funny, the first thing I thought of when you said Tesla, is with it being a fully electric vehicle, I wonder if there are any power usage considerations to take into account when installing aftermarket lighting? I’d hate to advise someone to hook up underglow to their awesome new Tesla, only to find out it slowly burns out some electrical component I hadn’t considered. Thats something I’ll need to look into, so thank you for the idea.

      So far, there aren’t too many states that have completely banned underglow, Washington state and Washington D.C. being 2 of them. I’m glad my article caught you up on at least a small piece of California law you weren’t familiar with, that’s the goal, to educate a little. I’m no authority, but I can definitely shoot you in the right direction!

      Thank you again Andy, your feedback is valuable to me, and feel free to check back from time to time!

      Bobby

  • Judy

    You have enlightened me with this interesting article on extra lighting for cars and in doing so you have also given some very common sense advice for those who feel the need to have them.

    Underglow lights and wheel lights are perfect for your local show pony who wants to make an impression in his pride and joy . However they are just that as far as I am concerned, a way to brag, to show off and real people of sincere character do not need flashy lights to show off, they stand out by their integrity, their honesty and the way they interact with and help others. 

     I don’t mind super bright headlights but when they are not turned off in an approaching vehicle I get very annoyed as I am blinded by the intense brightness.  Too often a car with after market lighting will leave them on till the last minute and in doing so they compromise the safety of everyone on the road.  I was driving into town last night and was confronted with some lights so bright that I had to stop and wait till he went by before I could proceed. That can be tolerated for one car but if more people decide to drive around like a mobile circus I think there would be more than just me feeling angry. 

    • Bobby

      Oh Judy, if you only knew the show pony I am. Hahahaha! 

      I agree completely that a person is weighed not by what they show on the outside, but the deeds they perform and the knowledge they share. That being said, I still have a strong appreciation for people who feel free enough to express themselves in whatever manner they see as a fit for themselves. Oh my goodness, the interesting characters I’ve met in my time, let me tell you. Larger than life, and very often some of the most upstanding individuals.

      Myself, I wear a cowboy hat in a place where I’m one of very few who do. I have a practical vehicle that I value greatly, and since I’ve always loved cool lights on cars, I decided this would be an interesting niche to explore. I’d like to think that my inner person is only amplified by my desire to stand out, and that my interesting appearance draws more opportunities my way. 

      I agree with you completely about the new, super bright LEDs, people don’t often take into consideration that they are probably blinding the person in front of them. That’s one of my biggest driving bugaboos, but unfortunately for us, not everyone is considerate to others. Honestly, a lot of them may not even be AWARE they’re doing it, but that makes it no less annoying.

      Anyhow, thank you for taking the time to explore an idea you hadn’t considered, your feedback is very valuable to me. Feel free to drop in anytime!

      Bobby

  • Mariana

    Hello Bobby, 

    Wow, I didn’t even know this kind of lights existed! I have never seen these lights on any car in my city, but I guess it’s something that isn’t very common worldwide. I try finding some information about whether they were legal in my country or not, but there is nothing really specific, the law says that the lights shouldn’t be modified or something like that. I also did some research if there were available somewhere to buy, but I didn’t find anything. 

    I hope people from the US where these lights are legal read this article and get inform about the situation. I agree that some people may dislike and will bother them while they are driving. Moreover, some people cannot see very well with so many lights around them, specially those with astigmatism, like me. Usually when I go in car at night, the lights are very blurred and gets me confused sometimes, imagine if wheels also had lights. 

    Best, 

    Mariana

    • Bobby

      SO true, Mariana. Night driving is an issue for a LOT of people, because of the way our eyes pick up light. Did you know the human eye can pick up the light from a single candle over 10 MILES AWAY? I try to remember that when driving in a city where there are thousands of lights everywhere, I’m sure we are very distracted without even realizing it. 

      Thats why I feel if people are going to run underglow lighting, they be respectful with it. There’s no need to confused or blind other drivers with your accent lighting, just keep it simple and subtle.

      Thank you very much for reading my blog, I greatly value any input people give me. Feel free to come back anytime!

      Have a great day, Mariana!

      Bobby

  • Sara

    Great information here – thanks for taking the time to review some of the state standards on something like this, I often wonder if the things I see on cars are legal or not! I personally love seeing the customization on cars, but as I get older, driving at night can be difficult on its own – so not having those lights on during freeway driving or during heavy traffic times is a nice way to be respectful to other drivers! 

    • Bobby

      Thank you Sara, I’m glad you took the time to check out my article! 

      I, too, suffer from my eyes getting blurry at night if there’s a lot of light, so I 100% understand where you’re coming from there. The new ultra-bright LED headlights they’re putting on all the new cars absolutely KILL me, I’m not sure they put much thought into the OTHER drivers when they designed those.

      And while underglow lights don’t often put out enough light to cause my eyes to have issues, they can be seriously distracting, as the eyes by nature are attracted to colors and light. I always end up turning my head to check out some cool car driving past me, and that’s a terrible habit to have. I’ve been trying to be more aware of my distraction, and try to keep it under control while driving.

      Much appreciation again, I welcome any feedback people have, it helps to give me direction as I build this site into a tool for information. Good fortune to you, have a great day!

      Bobby

  • 207Connie

    Hello Bobby. I’ve exceed my days of hot rods. I do see lighted vehicles around today. I did not think of regulations watching the pretty lights. I found your article full of information. If I am asked about extra light I know with way to direction.I think your are right about using common sense. Safety first.

    • Bobby

      Thanks Connie, I appreciate the feedback! 

      It’s come to my attention that MOST people never put much thought into the legality of extra lighting on their vehicles, at least until a cop stops them and tickets them for it. Luckily, my truck doesn’t LOOK like a hot rod, it just runs like one, so I haven’t had to deal with law enforcement about it as of yet. 

      And yes, if you’re ever in a conversation about some cool car lighting you see driving by, be sure to send the other party to my page, Maybe they’ll find some useful content that will help them form an educated opinion.

      Good fortune to you, Connie, And I hope you have an excellent day!

  • Paul

    Dear Bobby,

    This was a highly informative article and I learned a lot of new things.

    I have seen some of the cars with this underglow lighting and to be honest its eye-catching and I wondered whether this is legal or not. Your post gave me a great walk-through and the list you shared on Neon Underglow Laws is very helpful.

    Thanks a lot for the great advice on when and how to use and for sure Underglow lighting should not be a disturbance to others in any way. Indeed, we need to respect others and behave with common sense and we should not take too much advantage and mess up, going cool is the best way.

    I am interested in this underglow lighting but after reading your post I realized first I need to know the laws regarding vehicle modification.

    Much Success!

    Paul

    • Bobby

      Thanks Paul! I’m glad my article helped to make you better understand that there are usually bigger considerations to take into account when modifying your daily driver. The last thing ANYBODY wants is to make their ride look awesome, only to get pulled over leaving the driveway and told to turn it all off.

      And I couldn’t agree with you more, cool IS the way to go. I’m a bit of a show-off myself, but I have learned that moderation in ALL things is far more important than going extremist with anything. Hardcore showboats are the ones who end up with cops breathing down their necks at every turn, whereas us subtle guys often get COMPLIMENTED by the police. As long as you stay within the law, car mods can be appreciated by everyone, INCLUDING Johnny Law.

      Thank you again for checking out my blog, I always appreciate good feedback on my efforts.

      Fell free to come back anytime, and I hope you have a great day!

      Bobby

  • Nuttanee

    I see many cars in NYC where I live have many colors underglows lights, blue and red around the wheels and flasing sometimes, and I was wondering if that is legal. I googled it and found out that only white and must not be rotating, flashing, oscillating or otherwise moving is legal. Oh well those people gotta be careful. I wish NY laws will be more fun like other states so I can dress up my girl a bit. 

    • Bobby

      Aw, what a bummer! No worries though, if you still want to spruce up your ride, just go with the underglow options that ARE legal in NYC. You’d be surprised how even white lights in the wheel wells make your car just pop out in a crowd. No need for flashing or moving lights, thats mainly car show stuff anyway.

      And really, if you have app-controlled lights, you can always set them however you’d like for when you’re parked, then switch them to solid, legal standards for driving. Where there’s a will, there’s a way!

      Thank you very much for taking the time to read my article, I certainly appreciate your feedback! Feel free to drop in anytime, I’ll be trying to keep my content coming regularly, and hopefully it stays FRESH. 🙂

      Good fortune to you, and I hope you have a great day!

      Bobby

  • Sam

    This is such an interesting topic that it made me laugh a bit.

    But come to think of it, i really don’t see the need in pimping the car so much that you attract trouble from low enforcement agents and they are paid to simply discharge their duties. I believe that manufacturers of these vehicles have standard rules they consider before production. it really doesn’t make any logical sense the extent people go with the alterations.

    It was also great to learn that blue and red lighting is reserved by law for emergency vehicles in most states.

    this was really fun to read. thanks for sharing. 

    • Bobby

      Hi Sam, thanks for checking out my post!

      I agree, people do have a tendency to go pretty overboard with their daily driver, (heavy duty mods should be kept to show cars). I personally prefer the simple but effective approach, a couple of lights to accent the color of the car, maybe a low-key paint job. Definitely not putting some crazy wrap on your car that makes it look like a rolling billboard or art exhibit, thats a good way to cause accidents in everyday traffic. Too many rubber-neckers out there.

      You have a point about the manufacturing standards, as well. This is probably the reason we never see actual concept cars riding around, they are just a little TOO eye-catching. I’m sure that auto manufacturers prefer their new models to stand out a LITTLE, but also to blend in with the rest of the production vehicles around them.

      Thank you for your input, I always find it valuable to have readers put a little thought into the article.

      Good fortune to you, and I hope you have a wonderful day! Come back any time!

  • Hi there,
    This was a very interesting article for me to read. I am from Alberta, Canada and I have not seen any of the described lights that you have mentioned in this article. LOL Like you said they must be illegal here and that explains why I have never seen them. haha
    I do think that these lights would certainly look very attractive though.
    I liked the way you advised people to be respectful of others when using their colored lights. I could certainly see them being quite a distraction around emergency situations and in residential areas, especially at night time.
    Thanks for the very interesting article, and keep up the awesome writing. I sure did enjoy it!
    Take good care!
    Angela

    • Hi Angela! Thanks for taking the time to check out my page, I always appreciate someone that can validate some information for me. I actually just got a comment from a guy in Ontario, and sounds like underglow lighting is legal there, he says he see’s them all over the place. Interesting, and good information to have. When my fiancee and I finally start our RV traveling, I intend fully on visiting Canada, as I’ve never been anywhere outside the continental United States. At least I’ll have an idea which provinces I can run my lights in and in which ones I can’t!
      Thank you again for your feedback, feel free to stop in anytime!

      Bobby

  • Hi Bobby,

    Great article. I live in Ontario, Canada and as far as I know they’re legal here and they are quit popular. I love seeing the car meets and all the wild designs, led lighting, under glow, grill. All that stuff. I’m no car guy myself but the amount of pride and hard work put into these machines is impressive. People are pretty respectful about it around here too, we all just want to look good and make head turns! It’s exiting to see the turn out in such a product. I’m positive this will become a much bigger thing many more people will be curious about. Keep informing about all the great uses and availability!

    Best of luck with everything,
    Brandon Sandy

    • Hey, thanks for the shout Brandon! I, too, am a big fan of these awesome looking machines, it’s hard not to be impressed by these cars that look like they’re straight from outer space or some futuristic movie. I have this feeling it’s on it’s way to being a much bigger trend as well, Mainly because of the affordability now. Anybody can afford these things, and literally almost anybody can install them theirselves.
      I can add Ontario to my list of safe places to run lights, thanks for the info. One of the other people that dropped in says she’s from Alberta, and has never seen them there, so I’m assuming the Canadian Provinces are much like the States in that respect. Some allow it while others don’t. Good to know!

      Thanks again Brandon, I definitely appreciate you reading my article and shooting me some feedback! Stop in anytime, I’ll probably be posting a couple of times a week, and I’ll try to keep it fresh!
      Good fortune to you, and have a great day!

      Bobby

  • Strahinja

    Hello Bobby and thank you for sharing this wonderful article with us. You definitely gave me a few ideas. I tuned my VW and it has a new racing look. I am also very interested in putting some lights in my rims – but the laws here forbid this kind of equipment for cars.

    I appreciate sharing your ideas and also mentioning the law factor. You are completely correct – putting anything out of the ordinary might cause you a fine.

    I love your website and I will boomark it for future posts.

    Strahinja.

    • Bobby

      Thanks Strahinja, I look forward to seeing you again. As far as modifying your Volkswagon, you can probably still put lights on it, you just can’t drive with them on. But if you’re just hanging out with friends or something, you can have the coolest car in the parking lot by adding a little accent lighting.

      Definitely keep checking in, I’m going to try to post about twice a week, maybe something along the way will be able to help you out.

      Great success to you, and have an excellent day!

      Bobby

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