North Carolina Neon Underglow Laws

Neon underglow lights on vehicles have been a popular aftermarket modification for years, allowing car enthusiasts to add a unique and colorful glow to their cars. However, these lighting accessories are subject to regulations in most states, including North Carolina. If you’re considering adding neon underglow lights to your vehicle in North Carolina, it’s important to understand the relevant laws and restrictions.

North Carolina Neon Underglow lighting laws

Here are the pertinent excerpts from the North Carolina Vehicle Code that outline the limitations, restrictions, or permissions related to installing aftermarket lights on vehicles.

§ 20-130. Additional permissible light on vehicle

[…] (c) Restrictions on Lamps. – Any device, other than headlamps, spot lamps, or auxiliary driving lamps, which projects a beam of light of an intensity greater than 25 candlepower, shall be so directed that no part of the beam will strike the level of the surface on which the vehicle stands at a distance of more than 50 feet from the vehicle […]

§ 20-130.1. Use of red or blue lights on vehicles prohibited

(a) It is unlawful for any person to install or activate or operate a red light in or on any vehicle in this State [emergency vehicles excluded]

(c) It is unlawful for any person to possess a blue light or to install, activate, or operate a blue light in or on any vehicle in this State, except for a publicly owned vehicle used for law enforcement purposes or any other vehicle when used by law enforcement officers in the performance of their official duties. As used in this subsection, unless the context requires otherwise, “blue light” means any blue light installed on a vehicle after initial manufacture of the vehicle […]

§ 20-130.3. Use of white or clear lights on rear of vehicles prohibited

It shall be unlawful for any person to willfully drive a motor vehicle in forward motion upon the highways of this State displaying white or clear lights on the rear of said vehicle […]


A breach of sections 20-130 is classified as a Class 1 misdemeanor.

Are Underglow Lights Legal in North Carolina?

North Carolina law does not impose restrictions on additional vehicle lighting, including neon underglow. Therefore, we conclude that neon underglow is legal in North Carolina, provided you adhere to these specific restrictions:

  1. Avoid Blue or Red: Do not use underglow lights in blue or red colors.
  2. No Amber Flashing Lights: Refrain from displaying amber flashing lights on your vehicle.
  3. Restrictions on White Lights: White lights that are visible from the back of the vehicle are not permitted.
  4. Flashing Lights: While North Carolina does not explicitly prohibit all flashing lights (unlike many other states), it is strongly recommended to avoid any flashing, oscillating, or rotating lights. These lights can distract other drivers and may result in citations.

It is crucial to never use blue or red-colored lights on your vehicle. Blue and red lights are reserved for use by police and other emergency vehicles. Additionally, even the possession or installation of lights capable of displaying these colors is prohibited by law.

If your LED underglow lights can change color and you are pulled over, do not inform law enforcement officers that they can change to blue or red, even if you do not use these colors.

In addition to red and blue, it is advisable to avoid using purple/violet and green-colored underbody neon glow. In some states, these colors are also employed by emergency vehicles.

North Carolina does not have specific laws that restrict or prohibit the installation of car underglow, meaning it is considered legal for use while driving. However, it is essential to stay informed about the most up-to-date regulations to ensure your compliance with the law.

When Is It Legal to Use Underglow Lights in North Carolina State?

Underglow lights can be used when your vehicle is in motion, but they must adhere to the restrictions set forth by the North Carolina Vehicle Code.

When Is It Illegal to Use Underglow Lights In North Carolina?

Using underglow lights in a way that violates the state’s restrictions is illegal. To avoid legal issues, ensure that your underglow lights meet the following criteria.

Is It Illegal to Install Underglow Lights In North Carolina?

It is not illegal to install underglow lights in North Carolina. However, these lights must comply with specific regulations once installed.

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

The North Carolina Vehicle Code does not specifically mention motorcycles in its underglow light regulations. However, the rules for underglow lights on cars are likely to apply to motorcycles as well.

Are Multicolored Underglow Lights Illegal in North Carolina?

Multicolored underglow lights are not necessarily illegal in North Carolina. Still, they must follow the state’s restrictions to ensure compliance.

North Carolina Traffic Ticket/Summons for Under Glow Lights on a Motorcycle

The specific penalties for underglow light violations are not mentioned in the North Carolina regulations. Violators may face fines or penalties, but these are not explicitly stated.

Are Under Glow Lights Legal While Parked in North Carolina?

Underglow lights are generally legal while your vehicle is parked, as long as they comply with North Carolina’s regulations.

Are Motorcycle Wheel Lights Legal in North Carolina?

The legality of motorcycle wheel lights is not explicitly mentioned in North Carolina’s regulations. However, similar rules to those for underglow lights on cars are likely to apply to motorcycles.

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

While the regulations for motorcycles are not explicitly stated, they are likely to follow the same rules as those for cars. It’s essential to ensure that any underglow lights you install on your vehicle in North Carolina comply with the specific restrictions mentioned in the state’s regulations. Violating these restrictions could lead to fines or penalties, so it’s crucial to stay informed and compliant with the law.

Always check the most up-to-date regulations to stay in compliance with the law and enjoy your underglow lights without legal issues.

North Carolina Underglow law references:

North Carolina Statutes, Chapter 20: Motor Vehicles, Article 3: Motor Vehicle Act, Sections 20-129 to 20-134.

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