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Underglow Lights

Your vehicle may become a stunning, rolling light show at night with underglow lights. Alternatively, an underglow can offer a delicate touch to nighttime lighting if utilized with restraint.

What is a car underglow? 

Underglow is the term for lights mounted beneath an automobile's chassis to illuminate the ground below. It's a small, aftermarket design piece typically added to a car to improve its appearance. Ground effects lighting is an easy way to make your car stand out, especially at car shows. It gives your regular car a special and unique appearance. 

Neon tubes or LEDs are used to create the unique light effect: 

  • Only red can be produced by neon gas. Neon tubes, however, may emit up to 150 colors and react to music by adding more constituent gases. These gas-compressed tubes are delicate, though. For instance, they tend to break quickly when driving over speed bumps. 
  • Flexible tubes, strips, and cluster pods are the different forms of LED illumination. They have multicolored and strobe effects, linger longer, and are brighter. Modern advancements also enable these lights to create patterns, react to music, and function as courtesy or stop lights.  

Cars That Support Underglow

A car of almost any kind can acquire an underglow. Thanks to its raised frame, a 4X4 vehicle has enough ground clearance to illuminate the road. In any case, be mindful of where the lights are placed to steer clear of road debris.

You may select your preferred color and turn on the lights using a portable controller that is about the size of a credit card.

Lighting up your wheels is another clever application. Remove the brake caliper and rotor if you install a ring of lights behind your wheels. LEDs can be mounted behind these components by bolting a static ring.

A significant impact is created by placing a set of LEDs in the wheel wells to illuminate a large region.

Types of Underglow Lights For Cars

Neon Tubes

Neon tubes were the conventional method of obtaining underglow lights. Fortunately, neon has been replaced by LEDs. Neon had a lot of disadvantages.

  • The tubes are not flexible.
  • They are fragile and get very hot.
  • There aren't many colors to choose from
  • The neon tubes need electric transformers to energize the inert gases that make them glow.
  • The transformers wear out over time.

Despite these flaws, you can utilize neon behind the hood or in the trunk. Here is where the line of light is produced by the straight tubes.

Kit for neon lights

Light-emitting diodes, or LEDs, are frequently seen in contemporary automobile headlights.

However, LEDs are more than just lightbulbs. Moreover, flexible strips with adhesive backing can encapsulate LED illumination, which can be installed throughout the car.

Most vendors include an option to connect the strips in a daisy chain. You can now light up the entire car if you'd like. To achieve the disco impression, light up the whole undercarriage.

One fixed color is available for LED strips. However, the best option is RGB (red, green, and blue) diode-equipped LED strips. Most LED strips include controllers that let you mix and match the underglow lights' color and brightness.

With a portable controller (about the size of a credit card) in place of a basic on/off switch, you can:

  • Turn on the lights
  • Pick desired colors
  • Choose a level of brightness
  • Display a flashing sequence

Specific devices can be managed using a smartphone. That might include fresh features. One feature of this is that the flashing sequence can be synchronized with music.

Electroluminescent Light (EL) Underglow Lights

Only some things in town are LED. Electroluminescent light (EL) wire cables are another option for underglow lighting, particularly for interior use.

The interior of this car is jazzed up with red ELs.

An internal trim piece is wrapped with a flexible cable, resembling a drinking straw, thanks to EL technology. The cable glows softly when someone turns on the power.

ELs offer the following benefits:

  • EL are available in various designs, including lightbox-style flat panels and large strips.
  • They use less power and stay cool to the touch.

But ELs make use of AC or alternating current. As a result, to convert the 12-volt direct current to alternating current, you will need an inverter. An inverter is typically included with the kits.

8 Step Installation Underglow Lights For Trucks

LedLightJeep offers glow lighting kits that include everything you need. The fundamental steps for adding an LED underglow are as follows. (The procedures are essentially the same for EL or Neon):

Clean the undercarriage before installing the LED strips.

Determine the wiring required to connect to the battery or fuse box.

Use any unused circuit in your fuse box for the lighting kit. If not, use an in-line fuse to connect straight to the battery. In-line fuse wiring needs to be included in the majority of packages. LedLightJeep Motors has you covered if you still need to.

Take off the adhesive-backed LED strip's liner covering.

Press firmly into the chassis or other mounting location where the adhesive is located. Do not press on the LEDs themselves.

Give the glue at least half an hour to set. Use zip ties to secure the cords for added security.

To add more strips, add connectors. Specific packages include a brief wiring strip to join two LED strips together. Other devices connect their ends.

After that, turn everything on and observe whether the under glow lights produce the desired effect. As necessary, make adjustments.

The flexible strip encases the LED for easy attachment.

Legal Issues with Underglow Lights

Verify your state's and local motor vehicle codes before installing underglow lights.

Other drivers may be distracted by bright, flashing, or multicolored lights. As a result, some states either forbid or severely restrict their use.

Most governments disapprove of red and blue illumination, which could be mistaken for emergency vehicle lights or street infrastructure. Either way, be ready to draw the attention of law enforcement.

Is it illegal to drive around with underglow? 

If you drive in Connecticut, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Virginia, or Washington, the answer is yes. Due to severe regulations, cars are not allowed to use underglow lighting in these nine US states; if you break the law, you risk receiving a civil fine or non-moving traffic infraction. 

If you follow the regulations, aftermarket light modifications are usually OK nationwide. States have different limits, although the most lax laws can be found in Arkansas, Ohio, Kansas, Idaho, California, and Montana. States with larger cities and more significant traffic are subject to stricter laws. Therefore, verify the websites of the relevant state DMVs before purchasing an underbody package for your car. 

What are the typical restrictions? 

Because they can divert other drivers' attention and raise the possibility of an accident, rotating and flashing lights are typically prohibited. Everyone can see your underglow, even your passengers, while you drive with it. It looks fantastic; therefore, that should be sufficient justification for understanding how it distracts pedestrians and other drivers. Highway flashing lights can pose a greater risk to other drivers' night vision. 

Your car may resemble an ambulance, a police enforcement vehicle, or another emergency vehicle if painted red, blue, or green. This regulation is enforced in almost all states; if approved, these lights must not be turned on when on public property.

Car Underglow Laws 

Check out the laws in the US states that forbid cars from having underglow lights. For information on rules governing the installation of aftermarket lighting in all other states, visit the DMV website. 

States where it is NOT LEGAL 

Connecticut: Other than where required and with DMV permission, only lighting equipment with manufacturer certification is acceptable. If you only use neon underglows on private land and stay away from red, blue, green, and flashing/rotating lights, you may still run afoul of Connecticut's severe vehicle laws. 

Illinois: Neon or LED underglow lighting is not covered by the Illinois vehicle code, and employing any lighting equipment not covered by the code is illegal in the state. Additionally, flashing and oscillating lights are strictly prohibited. 

Pennsylvania: All aftermarket lighting not explicitly included in the state's vehicle code, including ground illumination, is prohibited by law. Underglow is classified as "ornamental lighting" under the Pennsylvania Vehicle Code since it is a vanity or non-essential lighting element. 

Washington: The Washington State Code expressly states, "If a vehicle is in motion on a public roadway, the vehicle must not: (i) Display aftermarket neon lighting devices." Red, blue, and white flashing lights should be avoided if you use them while parked on private land. 

Virginia: When driving on public streets, any aftermarket light—aside from those that are allowed—must be covered and unlit, according to the Virginia Code. 

Maine: In Maine, "under-vehicle lighting" is only allowed for events, performances, and such demonstrations; it is not allowed to be used on public roads. 

Michigan: If aftermarket lighting is not explicitly listed in the statute, it must be covered and left unlit in public, according to Michigan Vehicle Code Section 257.698. If you break the rule, the police can charge you with a civil infraction, which carries a punishment of up to $100. 

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