Iowa Neon Underglow Laws

Customizing your vehicle with neon underglow lights can be a thrilling way to make your car stand out and express your unique style. However, if you’re considering adding neon underglow lights to your vehicle in Iowa, it’s important to be aware of the state’s regulations to ensure you stay on the right side of the law. In this article, we’ll delve into Iowa’s neon underglow laws, helping you understand the rules and make informed decisions about enhancing your vehicle’s appearance.

Is neon underglow legal in Iowa?

Iowa law does not establish specific restrictions on additional vehicle lighting, including neon underglow. Therefore, it is our conclusion that neon underglow is generally legal in Iowa, with the following exceptions:

  1. Red color should not be visible from the front of the vehicle, and the rear end of the vehicle should only display the color red.
  2. All flashing lights are strictly prohibited, except in cases of emergency.
  3. Blue lights must never be used on any part of a vehicle except on authorized emergency vehicles.
  4. License plate illumination must be white.

We also strongly recommend avoiding the use of red and green colors on any aftermarket lights, including underbody glow, as these colors are typically reserved for emergency vehicles.

There are no specific Iowa laws that expressly restrict or prohibit the installation of car underglow, indicating that it is generally legal to use while driving, provided it complies with the above-mentioned restrictions.

Iowa vehicle lighting laws

The following are pertinent excerpts from the Iowa Vehicle Code that establish limitations, restrictions, or permissions regarding certain aftermarket lights that can be installed on vehicles.

321.388 Illuminating plates.

Either the rear lamp or a separate lamp shall be so constructed and placed as to illuminate with a white light the rear registration plate and render it clearly legible from a distance of fifty feet to the rear.

321.393 Color and mounting.

1.  A lighting device or reflector, when mounted on or near the front of a motor truck or trailer, except a school bus, shall not display any other color than white, yellow, or amber.

2.  No lighting device or reflector, when mounted on or near the rear of any motor truck or trailer, shall display any other color than red, except that the stop light may be red, yellow, or amber.

321.422 Red light in front – rear lights.

1.  No person shall drive or move any vehicle or equipment upon any highway with any lamp or device thereon displaying or reflecting a red light visible from directly in front thereof. No person shall display any color of light other than red on the rear of any vehicle, except that stop lights and directional signals may be red, yellow, or amber.

321.423 Flashing lights

2. Prohibited lights.

flashing light on or in a motor vehicle is prohibited except as follows:

a.  On an authorized emergency vehicle.
b.  On a vehicle as a means of indicating a right or left turn, a mechanical failure, or an emergency stop or intent to stop.
c.  On a motor vehicle used by a rural mail carrier

3. Blue light.

a.  A blue light shall not be used on any vehicle except for the following:
(1)  A vehicle owned or exclusively operated by a fire department.
(2)  A vehicle authorized by the chief of the fire department if the vehicle is owned by a member of the fire department, the request for authorization is made by the member on forms provided by the department, and necessity for authorization is demonstrated in the request.
(3)  An authorized emergency vehicle

The Legal Status of Neon Underglow in Iowa

Neon underglow lights are generally legal in Iowa, but there are specific guidelines to follow.

Regulations to Adhere to

To legally use neon underglow lights in Iowa, it’s essential to comply with the following regulations:

  1. Color Restrictions: Iowa law does not explicitly specify the colors permitted or prohibited for neon underglow lights. However, it is advisable to avoid using red or blue lights, as these colors are typically associated with law enforcement and emergency vehicles.
  2. Placement: There are no detailed placement regulations outlined in Iowa law. Nonetheless, you should ensure that your underglow lights do not obstruct your license plate or any essential vehicle lighting.
  3. Flashing Lights: The use of flashing neon lights is generally discouraged, as it can be distracting to other drivers and may violate certain regulations.
  4. Use during Nighttime: Neon underglow lights should primarily be used during nighttime hours or in low-visibility conditions. Excessive use during the daytime might be distracting and disruptive to other drivers.

Penalties for Violations

Failure to comply with Iowa’s regulations regarding neon underglow lights can result in legal consequences, including fines and other penalties. It’s important to understand these rules and adhere to them to avoid potential legal issues.

Violation of Iowa Code pertaining to vehicle lighting equipment constitutes a traffic infraction. The associated fines are as follows: a fine of up to $20 for emitting a red light in front of your car and a $10 fine for illegal flashing lights, improper use of rear signal lights, or the use of blue lights.


Neon underglow lighting offers a captivating and visually appealing way to personalize your vehicle in Iowa. While the state generally permits this customization, it’s essential to abide by the regulations. By following the rules regarding color, placement, and use of neon underglow lights, you can enjoy this unique modification without violating the law.

Understanding Iowa’s neon underglow laws is crucial for vehicle owners looking to enhance their cars with this eye-catching feature. By staying informed and following the regulations, you can drive your vehicle with style, knowing you are both compliant with the law and considerate of other road users. Neon underglow is a fantastic way to showcase your personality on the road, provided it’s used responsibly and within the legal framework.

Are Underglow Lights Legal in Iowa?

Neon underglow lights are generally legal in Iowa, subject to specific guidelines and restrictions.

When Is It Legal to Use Underglow Lights in Iowa State?

Neon underglow lights can be legally used in Iowa when they adhere to the state’s regulations. These regulations include avoiding the use of red or blue lights, refraining from flashing lights, ensuring they do not obstruct essential vehicle lighting or license plates, and primarily using them during nighttime hours or in low-visibility conditions.

When Is It Illegal to Use Underglow Lights In Iowa?

It is illegal to use underglow lights in Iowa if they violate the state’s regulations. This includes using red and blue lights, flashing lights, obstructing necessary vehicle lighting, or using them excessively during daylight hours.

Is It Illegal to Install Underglow Lights In Iowa?

Installing underglow lights in Iowa is not inherently illegal, as long as the installation and use adhere to the state’s regulations. It is crucial to ensure that the colors, placement, and use of these lights comply with the law.

What Iowa Vehicle & Traffic Law Restricts Use of Lights On Motorcycles?

Iowa’s Vehicle & Traffic Laws apply to motorcycles, and the same regulations regarding underglow lights that apply to cars are generally applicable to motorcycles. This includes the color restrictions, flashing lights prohibition, and other rules.

Are Multicolored Underglow Lights Illegal in Iowa?

Multicolored underglow lights are not illegal in Iowa as long as they do not include red or blue colors, adhere to placement and use regulations, and do not flash.

Iowa Traffic Ticket/Summons for Under Glow Lights on a Motorcycle

Using underglow lights on a motorcycle that violate Iowa’s regulations could result in a traffic ticket or summons, leading to fines or other penalties.

Are Under Glow Lights Legal While Parked in Iowa?

Using underglow lights while parked is generally legal in Iowa as long as they do not violate the regulations. However, it’s still advisable to use them in a responsible and non-disruptive manner, especially during nighttime hours.

Are Motorcycle Wheel Lights Legal in Iowa?

The legality of motorcycle wheel lights in Iowa is subject to the same regulations as other underglow lights. They should not violate color restrictions, flash, obstruct essential lighting, or be used excessively during the daytime.

Is the Law for Underglow Lights the Same for Cars and Motorcycles in Iowa?

In Iowa, the regulations for underglow lights generally apply to both cars and motorcycles. The same rules regarding colors, flashing lights, placement, and usage are typically applicable to all motor vehicles. However, it’s essential to check for any updates or specific provisions in the law that may differ for motorcycles.

Leave a Comment