Ohio Neon Underglow Light Laws

Underglow lighting was all the rage back in the early 2000s, particularly because it was all over hip-hop and pop-culture — the Fast&Furious franchise in particular, among other references.

The popularity of this upgrade eventually faded because soon enough they were regarded as being unnecessary and distracting, which led to them being regulated.

However, some states do still allow people to use these lights, as long as they meet the recommended guidelines and don’t create a problem for other drivers out on the street.

Underglow lights typically involve the use of neon or LED tubes attached to the underside of the vehicle. This allows the surface under the vehicle to glow, which enhances the silhouette of the vehicle.

Over the years, Ohio has passed several laws about auto lighting, many of which apply to underglow lighting. Which begs the question: Is underglow legal in Ohio? Read on to find out.

Ohio Laws for Underglow Lights

Up until July 2011, the state of Ohio did not permit the use of underglow lights. However, the law has since changed: The bottom line is that underglow lights are legal, but with limitations.

You can install them on your car as long as you follow the restrictions covered under the requirements stipulated by the Ohio Motor Vehicle Code, Chapter 13: Traffic Laws.

That said, you aren’t explicitly permitted to keep your underglow neon lights turned on all the time when driving on the street or highway.

Light Type and Size

Ohio does not have any restrictions regarding the type of lights that you can install for underglow lighting on vehicles.

9th gen Civic with green underglow

The State Code also allows the use of fender and side cowl lights on the vehicle. There are no specifications regarding the size of lights permitted by the state.

Permitted Colors

Any lights that you install in the front or rear, underglow or not, can only be in amber color on the front and red color on the rear.

So even if you do install underglow, we recommend installing it only on the sides, and ensuring that you avoid colors including red or blue because they resemble the light colors used by law enforcement vehicles.

To offset any potential for violations, you must ensure that your license plate is properly illuminated using a white colored light.


Your underglow lights should not exceed 300 candlepower, and if they do, then 500 candlepower is the upper limit.

If the lights are over 300 candlepower, then they must be installed in such a way that they strike the pavement at a distance of not greater than 75 feet.

Since July 2011, Ohio has not had any prohibitions or restrictions regarding the use of underglow lighting on vehicles. And, as per the Ohio state patrol, using neon or LED underglow lights in the state is legal.

It’s worth noting that flashing or oscillating lights that can impair the vision of other motorists are prohibited.

As per the Ohio Revised Code, section 4513.17, flashing lights can only be used by motorists when indicating a left or right turn or if there is vehicular traffic and you need more care when approaching, passing or overtaking other vehicles.

However, this restriction does not apply to emergency vehicles.

As mentioned earlier, you can install fender, cowl or backup lights on your vehicle, and if you’re installing lights on the side of your vehicle instead of underneath it, then you must ensure that the lights that you install are either amber or white.

Fines and Penalties for Driving With Underglow

The use of underglow neon or LED lights is legal in Ohio and there are no fines or penalties for using these lights.

However, as per Ohio Code 4513.17, using flashing lights is a violation and is regarded as a minor misdemeanor.

State of Ohio Info

Flag of Ohio

This Midwestern state is the 34th largest state in the country in terms of area.

It hosts the 7th largest population in the United States. It is nicknamed the Buckeye State.

Population: 11,544,225
Capital: Columbus
Registered vehicles: 9,800,933
Total lane miles: 262,492
Number of highways: 21


Underglow light law references:

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