Illinois Neon Underglow Laws

The vibrant state of Illinois, known for its diverse landscapes and thriving urban culture, is also home to a unique car customization trend – neon underglow lighting. These mesmerizing lights can add a touch of personal flair to your vehicle, but before you decide to illuminate the streets of Illinois, it’s crucial to understand the state’s neon underglow laws to ensure you’re in compliance.

Neon Underglow Lighting – A Bright Idea

Neon underglow lighting involves the installation of neon or LED lights beneath a vehicle to create a stunning visual effect. It’s a popular choice among car enthusiasts looking to make their vehicles stand out from the crowd. However, it’s essential to remember that these modifications should be done responsibly and within the bounds of the law.

Is neon underglow legal in Illinois?

Illinois law imposes strict restrictions on vehicles, prohibiting the use of additional lighting that is not explicitly specified in the Vehicle Code. Consequently, it is our determination that neon underglow is not permitted in Illinois.

Furthermore, the law explicitly prohibits the use of flashing lights and the display of red lights in front of a vehicle. Additionally, possession of any lights that rotate, oscillate, or flash in a manner that could resemble an emergency vehicle is forbidden. It is imperative that you refrain from using any illumination that can emit blue and/or red colors or any form of flashing underglow. It’s important to note that even mere possession of such a system could lead to a Class A misdemeanor charge if encountered by an overzealous law enforcement officer.

The only aftermarket lights legally allowed in the state of Illinois are limited to up to two side cowl or fender lamps and one running board courtesy lamp on each side of your vehicle. These lights must emit non-glaring white or amber light.

It’s worth mentioning that Illinois does provide exceptions for motorcycles.

Illinois Vehicle Lighting Regulations

To maintain road safety and prevent distractions, Illinois has established specific regulations regarding vehicle lighting. Here’s a breakdown of Illinois’ neon underglow laws:

a. Colors Restrictions: Illinois law permits the use of neon underglow lights in various colors, except for red, blue, and flashing lights. Red and blue lights are reserved for emergency vehicles, and flashing lights are generally prohibited to prevent confusion on the road.

b. Location and Visibility: Neon underglow lights should not be visible from the front of the vehicle while it’s in motion. This rule aims to prevent any distractions to other drivers and maintain road safety.

c. Maximum Brightness: The lights must not emit an excessive glare that could impair the vision of other drivers or pose a safety hazard.

When is Neon Underglow Lighting Permitted?

In Illinois, you can legally use neon underglow lighting in several scenarios:

a. Parked Vehicles: It is generally acceptable to use neon underglow lights while your vehicle is parked, provided it does not distract or hinder other drivers.

b. Private Property: Using neon underglow lights on private property is usually not regulated by state laws. However, always be considerate of neighbors and local regulations.

c. Car Shows and Parades: If you’re participating in a sanctioned car show or parade, you may be allowed to use neon underglow lighting, but make sure to check event-specific regulations and guidelines.

Consequences of Non-compliance

Engaging in the use of underglow lighting systems that do not adhere to legal guidelines may lead to citations and legal repercussions. In Illinois, operating a vehicle equipped with unauthorized lights is classified as a Class A misdemeanor. It is essential to note that even if these lights are inactive while driving, you are still in violation of Illinois laws.

Moreover, displaying colors such as red, blue, green, or any combinations of these hues alongside white lighting can result in additional penalties and fines. Such actions may result in charges of impersonating an emergency vehicle, a grave offense that carries severe legal consequences.

Final Words

Neon underglow lighting can be a fantastic way to express your individuality and add a unique touch to your vehicle in Illinois. However, it’s essential to use these lights responsibly and within the boundaries of the law. By understanding and adhering to Illinois’ neon underglow laws, you can enjoy the benefits of customization without running into legal trouble. Remember, safety on the road should always be a top priority, so use neon underglow lights wisely and ensure Illinois roads remain safe for everyone.


Are neon underglow lights legal on vehicles in Illinois?

Yes, neon underglow lights are legal on vehicles in Illinois, with some restrictions. While you can use various colors, it’s important to note that red, blue, and flashing lights are prohibited. Additionally, the lights should not be visible from the front while the vehicle is in motion.

Can I use neon underglow lights while driving in Illinois?

You can use neon underglow lights while driving in Illinois, but they must not be visible from the front of the vehicle while it’s in motion. This regulation is in place to prevent distractions to other drivers and maintain road safety.

What are the consequences of not complying with Illinois’ neon underglow laws?

Non-compliance with Illinois’ neon underglow laws can result in various consequences, including fines, citations, and the requirement to remove the non-compliant lighting. To avoid legal repercussions and ensure road safety, it’s crucial to follow the regulations carefully and responsibly use neon underglow lights on your vehicle.

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