California Neon Underglow Laws

California neon underglow usage is governed by the state's Code. All relevant laws, rules and regulations pertaining to vehicle lighting including car underglow in California have been provided below. Make sure to examine the regulations carefully and do not use any restricted lights.

Usage of neon underglow lighting is governed by California Vehicle Code, Division 12 – Equipment of Vehicles, Chapter 2: Lighting Equipment.

Is neon underglow legal in California?

California law allows additional aftermarket vehicle lighting which includes neon underglow. In California neon underglow is legal, as long as you follow these restrictions:

  • Red color may not be visible from the front of the car
  • No flashing lights are permitted
  • Underglow must not emit more than 0.05 candela per square inch
  • All aftermarket lights must not be installed within 12 inches of vehicle’s required lights

We also highly recommend avoiding blue, red and green colors on any aftermarket lights including underbody glow, as these colors are typically used on emergency vehicles.

In case your underglow system emits more than the allowed 0,05 candela/square inch, permitted colors are white and amber in the front, and red in the rear of your vehicle. Review your street glow lights package carefully, and if possible have the original packaging in your car as additional proof if required.

California vehicle lighting laws

Below are all relevant excerpts from California Vehicle Code (Div. 12, Chapter 2: Lighting Equipment) that limit, restrict or permit certain aftermarket lights to be installed on vehicles.

Article 7: Flashing and Colored Lights

Flashing lights are prohibited on vehicles except as otherwise permitted. [...]

Besides turn signal lamps, exceptions for flashing lights include emergency and other vehicles as described in Article 7.

Article 10: Diffused Lights

(a) Any vehicle may be equipped with a lamp or device on the exterior of the vehicle that emits a diffused nonglaring light of not more than 0.05 candela per square inch of area.

(b) Any diffused nonglaring light shall not display red to the front, but may display other colors. A diffused nonglaring light shall not resemble nor be installed within 12 inches or in such position as to interfere with the visibility or effectiveness of any required lamp, reflector, or other device upon the vehicle. [...]

No diffused nonglaring light on a vehicle shall resemble any official traffic control device.

Article 15: Light Restrictions and Mounting

This section applies to the color of lamps and to any reflector exhibiting or reflecting perceptible light of 0.05 candela or more per foot-candle of incident illumination. Unless provided otherwise, the color of lamps and reflectors upon a vehicle shall be as follows:

(a) The emitted light from all lamps and the reflected light from all reflectors, visible from in front of a vehicle, shall be white or yellow. [...]

(b) The emitted light from all lamps and the reflected light from all reflectors, visible from the rear of a vehicle, shall be red [...]

(c) All lamps and reflectors visible from the front, sides, or rear of a vehicle, except headlamps, may have any unlighted color, provided the emitted light from all lamps or reflected light from all reflectors complies with the required color. [...]

 

Our information about car neon underglow laws in California was last updated in 2017 and checked in 2018. In case any info we provided is not up to date or correct be sure to contact us so we can revise it. Thank you!

Check our data with your local law enforcement or other relevant agencies! California underglow laws in certain cities or counties may be different from state legislation. While we do our very best to provide the most accurate information about LED and neon street glow usage we will not be held liable for any potentially incorrect or misinterpreted info.

State of California Info

california

California is a state located on the West Coast of the United States. It is the most populous U.S. state, home to 1 out of 8 Americans, and is the third largest state by area (after Alaska and Texas). It is home to the nation's second and fifth largest census statistical areas (Greater Los Angeles area and San Francisco Bay Area, respectively), and eight of the nation's 50 most populated cities (Los Angeles, San Diego, San Jose, San Francisco, Fresno, Sacramento, Long Beach, and Oakland). The capital city is Sacramento.

Capital: Sacramento

Population: 38,041,430

Area: 163,696 sq mi (423,970 km2)

Cities ▼

Cities in California: Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, Sacramento, San Jose, Oakland, Santa Barbara, Mountain View, Pasadena, Anaheim, Beverly Hills, Berkeley, Monterey, Long Beach, Palm Springs, Santa Monica, Hollister, Malibu, Fresno, Bakersfield, Palo Alto, Big Sur, Calabasas, Irvine, Newport Beach, Cupertino, Huntington Beach, Napa, Temecula, Modesto, Torrance, Santa Cruz, Laguna Beach, San Luis Obispo, Riverside, Sunnyvale, Stockton, Pleasanton, Ontario, Ventura, Fremont, Menlo Park, Orange, Carmel-by-the-Sea, Carlsbad, Burbank, Santa Rosa, Solvang, Eureka

Counties ▼

Counties in California: Alameda, Alpine, Amador, Butte, Calaveras, Colusa, Contra Costa, Del Norte, El Dorado, Fresno, Glenn, Humboldt, Imperial, Inyo, Kern, Kings, Lake, Lassen, Los Angeles, Madera, Marin, Mariposa, Mendocino, Merced, Modoc, Mono, Monterey, Napa, Nevada, Orange, Placer, Plumas, Riverside, Sacramento, San Benito, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Francisco, San Joaquin, San Luis Obispo, San Mateo, Santa Barbara, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Shasta, Sierra, Siskiyou, Solano, Sonoma, Stanislaus, Sutter, Tehama, Trinity, Tulare, Tuolumne, Ventura, Yolo, Yuba

Wikipedia

State website



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