New York Neon Underglow Laws – Is neon underglow legal in New York?

New York, the Empire State, is known for its vibrant and bustling cities. For car enthusiasts, adding neon underglow lights can be an exciting way to express personal style and make a vehicle stand out. However, when it comes to neon underglow lights, it’s important to understand New York’s specific laws and regulations to ensure you stay within the bounds of the law. In this comprehensive article, we will explore New York’s neon underglow laws, what is permissible, what is restricted, and how you can illuminate your vehicle while respecting the state’s legal boundaries.

Is neon underglow legal in New York?

In New York, the use of additional vehicle lighting, including neon underglow, is generally restricted, except for white-colored lights. Therefore, it is our conclusion that in New York, neon underglow is not illegal, provided you adhere to the following restrictions:

  1. Only white lights are allowed for non-mandatory vehicle lights.
  2. Rotating, flashing, oscillating, or moving lights are not permitted.
  3. License plate illumination must be white.
  4. All aftermarket lighting, including neon underbody glow, must only emit white light, and the use of any other colors is prohibited.

If you are stopped by a police officer, and in the case of LED underglow lights that can change colors, it is strongly advisable not to mention the color-changing capability. Even the installation of lights capable of displaying colors other than white could be considered a violation of the law in New York. The use of blue, red, or green underglow is specifically prohibited, as these colors are reserved for emergency vehicles.

There are no relevant NY laws which specifically restrict or prohibit installing car underglow, meaning we consider it legal to use it while driving.

New York Neon Underglow Car laws

Here are pertinent excerpts from the New York Vehicle Code that delineate the regulations governing the installation of specific aftermarket lights on vehicles.

§ 375 (41). Colored and flashing lights

41. Colored and flashing lights. The provisions of this subdivision shall govern the affixing and display of lights on vehicles, other than those lights required by law.

1. No light, other than a white light, and no revolving, rotating, flashing, oscillating or constantly moving white light shall be affixed to, or displayed on any vehicle […]

8. The provisions of this subdivision shall not be applicable to the driver of a vehicle from another state or foreign jurisdiction which vehicle has colored lights affixed but not revolving, rotating, flashing, oscillating or constantly moving if the lights on such vehicle comply with the laws of the state or home foreign jurisdiction in which the vehicle is registered.

§ 375 (2.)

2. (a) Every motor vehicle except a motorcycle, driven upon a public highway during the period from one-half hour after sunset to one-half hour before sunrise or at any other time when windshield wipers are in use […] shall display […] 4. if required to display a number plate on the rear, a white light which shall illuminate the numerals on such plate in such manner as to render such numerals legible for at least fifty feet from the rear. […]

(c) No lamp shall be used on a motor vehicle having a light source greater than thirty-two candle power, unless such lamp is approved by the commissioner as provided by this section.

New York Neon Underglow Laws: The Essentials

Neon underglow lights are legal in New York, but there are essential regulations to adhere to:

  1. Permissible Colors: New York permits neon underglow lights of any color except for red and blue. The use of red and blue lights is typically reserved for law enforcement and emergency vehicles, and using them on civilian vehicles is generally illegal.
  2. Placement: Neon underglow lights should be installed under the vehicle and should not extend beyond the wheel wells.
  3. Flashing Lights: Flashing, oscillating, and rotating neon lights are not allowed. Neon underglow lights should emit a steady and consistent glow.
  4. Brightness: Neon underglow lights should not be overly bright or distracting to other drivers. They should provide a subtle, ambient glow without causing discomfort or impairing visibility.

Penalties for Violations

Violating New York’s neon underglow laws can lead to penalties, including fines and potential warnings from law enforcement. To avoid legal issues, it’s crucial to follow the regulations carefully.

Responsible Usage

While neon underglow lights can enhance the aesthetics of your vehicle, it’s important to use them responsibly:

  1. Be Mindful of Surroundings: Use neon underglow lights in a considerate manner, especially in residential areas, to avoid disturbing neighbors.
  2. Regular Maintenance: Ensure your neon lights are properly installed and in good working condition to prevent accidents and malfunctions.
  3. Environmental Consideration: Adjust the brightness and usage of your neon lights to prevent distracting or discomforting other road users.

Stay Informed

Laws and regulations can change over time, so it’s advisable to consult up-to-date sources, such as the New York Department of Motor Vehicles or local law enforcement, to ensure compliance with the most current information.


Customizing your vehicle with neon underglow lights in New York can be an exciting way to express your style and make your vehicle stand out. Understanding and adhering to the state’s laws and regulations is essential to avoid legal complications and ensure road safety. By following the permissible colors, placement restrictions, and other rules, you can enjoy your neon underglow lights while respecting the law. Remember that laws can change, so staying informed and consulting up-to-date sources is crucial for compliance with New York’s neon underglow laws.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Underglow Lights in New York:

Are Underglow Lights Legal in New York?

  • Neon underglow lights are generally legal in New York, with specific regulations and restrictions.

When Is It Legal to Use Underglow Lights in New York State?

  • Neon underglow lights can be used in New York as long as they adhere to the state’s regulations, including permissible colors, placement, and other restrictions.

When Is It Illegal to Use Underglow Lights In New York?

  • It is generally illegal to use red and blue neon underglow lights in New York. These colors are typically reserved for law enforcement and emergency vehicles. Violating these restrictions may lead to legal consequences.

Is It Illegal to Install Underglow Lights In New York?

  • Installing neon underglow lights in New York is not explicitly illegal, provided they comply with permissible colors, placement regulations, and other state laws.

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

  • The same regulations regarding neon underglow lights that apply to cars generally apply to motorcycles in New York.

Are Multicolored Underglow Lights Illegal in New York?

  • Using multicolored neon underglow lights is generally legal in New York, with the exception of red and blue lights. These colors are typically reserved for law enforcement and emergency vehicles.

New York Traffic Ticket/Summons for Under Glow Lights on a Motorcycle

  • Violating neon underglow regulations in New York may result in receiving a traffic ticket or summons.

Are Under Glow Lights Legal While Parked in New York?

  • Neon underglow lights are generally legal for use on a parked vehicle in New York, as long as they comply with state regulations.

Are Motorcycle Wheel Lights Legal in New York?

  • The legality of motorcycle wheel lights in New York is generally subject to the same regulations as underglow lights on other vehicles.

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

  • Yes, the same laws and regulations regarding underglow lights apply to both cars and motorcycles in New York.

New York Underglow law references:

New York Laws, VAT – Vehicle & Traffic, Title 3, Article 9: Equipment of Motor Vehicles and Motorcycles, Section 375 – Equipment

New York Laws, VAT – Vehicle & Traffic, Title 3, Article 9: Equipment of Motor Vehicles and Motorcycles, Section 376 – Lamps, signaling devices and reflectors

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