Are blackout headlights and tail lights legal? Here’s the answer

The short answer to this question is no. Especially in the USA, blackout headlights and tail lights are illegal in all 50 states.

Because headlights are an essential safety feature in every car on the road, they are designed to serve at least two critical purposes.

  • Allows the driver to see clearly in the dark
  • Gives the other driver the ability to see their lights to prevent accidents

It is also important to note that most states require headlights to be either white or yellow. These states also have specific regulations that their drivers must abide by.

Even though there is a wide variety of different colors on the market today, some states do not make provisions for any other color.

Therefore, if a driver does not have the proper headlights and taillights on their vehicle, they may even receive a ticket based on the laws of that particular state.

For instance, according to the laws in the state of Texas, the headlights on a vehicle cannot be impaired. As such, Texas law states that any device that impairs the required effect is prohibited.

In these laws, both the front lights and rear lights are referenced, including tail lamps, headlamps, reflectors, etc. Simply stated, the headlights and tail lights must meet specific specified manufacturer safety standards to be legal.

Therefore, the owner of the vehicle cannot impair the vehicle’s standard lighting with an alternative source or additional materials that would impair its effectiveness. In specific, these laws are also addressing anything that will make the lights dark.

So, before you decide to make these types of customizations to your vehicle, you must check the present status of your state’s laws. Also, to make sure that you know exactly what the lighting requirements are for your insurance company, you must do your research.

Advantages of Tinting or Installing Blackout Lights

As you can see, research shows that blackout lights and tail lights are illegal in all 50 states. However, this does not always stop some drivers from customizing their vehicles with these types of lights.

Instead, some people may weigh both the advantages and disadvantages of customizing their vehicles with these lights. With that being said, here are a few things that you may want to know.

Unique Car Modification

Some people enjoy adding all types of different cool modifications to their vehicles. They may even pick and choose which modifications they like and those that they may want to pass up.

Therefore, one of the top advantages of using blackout lights and tail lights for some vehicle owners is adding a new unique cool feature.

Protection from Damage

Another advantage to tinting a car’s headlights and tail lights is protection from damage. When these customizations are added, the headlights are protected from dents, scratches, flying road debris, and other damages. Therefore, these tinted lights may eventually lead to quite a bit of cost savings over time.

Enhanced visibility

Based on circumstances, some car owners may choose to tint their headlights and tail lights for greater visibility. For instance, when fog lights are tinted with the color yellow, the driver may get better visibility, particularly in extreme weather conditions.


Headlight tinting helps the lights on the vehicle to last longer. This is because the effects of the tint help to mitigate damages caused by dirt and UV rays.

Makes the Car Distinctive

Cars with blackout headlights and tail lights are easy for people to distinguish. Typically, these distinguishable features can easily come in handy, particularly in large parking lots with lots of similar-looking vehicles.

Disadvantages of Blackout Or Tinted Lights

On the flip side, some disadvantages must be considered when making this type of decision. To start, the driver may not want to add customizable blackout headlights and tail lights due to the following issues.

  • If the tint on the vehicle is too dark, it increases the possibility of causing an accident
  • The driver may be pulled over and ticketed
  • Dim lighting makes it difficult to see objects afar off
  • Aftermarket headlights are not legal in all states


If you are thinking about customizing your vehicle with blackout headlights and tail lights, you need to do your research first. There is quite a bit of information online that addresses how the laws can vary in each state.

Because some states only make provisions for yellow and white headlights, other colors may be illegal. Some states may also prohibit the use of aftermarket lights since they must meet specific safety requirements.

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