Q: Can I Legally Use Colored Headlights?

asked by on November 18, 2015

Can I legally use colored headlights?

The simple answer is: no, headlights must be white. Vehicle lighting is regulated by the U.S. Department of Transportation. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is responsible for Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) and FMVSS 108 deals with all vehicle lighting.

The rest becomes less simple! Individual states have jurisdiction, and you can check with your own state’s DMV, but they mostly just adopt the federal standards.

Just saying a “white light” is a rather broad term in our current state of technology. White light has a spectrum and can include LED lights, HID/xenon lighting, or halogen lamps, even though they look like they vary from bluish to yellowish. High-end luxury and sports cars are equipped with rather amazing lights and this technology is moving down to the more moderately priced models as well.

This “look” has created demand in the aftermarket, though most lighting kits for converting standard halogen lamps to HID are not legal. To make it even more unclear, lamps can be marked “DOT” and still not be legal. According to industry experts at the Specialty Equipment Marketing Association (SEMA), millions of dollars worth of illegal, aftermarket automotive lighting systems have been confiscated coming into the U.S.

Was this answer helpful?
The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

Get an instant quote for your car

Our certified mechanics come to you ・Backed by 12-month, 12,000-mile guarantee・Fair and transparent pricing

Get a quote

What others are asking

Interior lights are not working

The most likely cause of this issue would be a short to ground somewhere in the interior lighting system. If a wire has too much metal exposed and it is coming in contact with the vehicle's chassis, excess amperage is...

Van experiencing electrical system problems

The turn signal lighting is all supplied power from the same turn signal relay. Since LED lighting consumes less power it should be heavy duty enough to use but you may want to check with LED lighting manufacturer through their...

How do you change from high to low beam headlights?

Your Altima has both high and low beam functionality. This applies whether you have halogen bulbs or xenon bulbs. Changing from one to the other is easy. Here’s how: Push the headlight lever forward to change from your low...

Related articles

Headlight Use Laws for All 50 States
Every state has different rules and regulations on headlight use. Headlight laws vary between states, so it's a good idea to familiarize yourself.
4 Essential Things to Know About Your Car’s Reverse Lights
Reverse lights are also called backup lights. They are used to warn other vehicles and people around the car that...
What Are Xenon Headlights?
You’ll You’ll hear a lot of names bandied about when discussing headlights – halogen, xenon, “super blue,” and HID are just some of them. If you’re thinking about replacing your headlights and are looking for something that’s both higher performing...