Back view of row of pickup trucks showing legal tail lights.

Are My Truck's Tinted Tail Lights Legal?

When having aftermarket truck tail lights installed on your truck, the last thing you want to worry about is getting a ticket for them in the future. Tinted tail lights have become extremely popular in recent years, due to their sleek and modern look. But are tinted tail lights legal? It depends.

Laws Regarding Tinted Tail Lights

Unfortunately there is no blanket answer the question of whether or not tinted tail lights are legal. Laws regarding acceptable tail lights vary greatly by state, and can even vary by county and town. The only way to be sure that your truck’s aftermarket tail lights are legal is to check with your local municipality or Division of Motor Vehicle Services (DMV) or Department of Transportation (DOT).

Driving with tail lights that are non-compliant with the law can get you an expensive ticket, and no one wants to spend money upgrading their truck just to get fined for all the hard work they put into it. There are some general rules you can follow when working on your truck’s aftermarket tail lights.


All states require that vehicle tail lights be clearly visible, especially at night, from a certain number of feet away. This applies to tail lights that are tinted as well as those that aren’t. This means that should your tail lights be obscured by dirt or snow, making them difficult to see, you can be pulled over. Even if you have one tail light that isn’t visible, because of a dead lightbulb for example, a police officer has a valid reason to stop you.

In some states the law regarding how far the light of your tail lights must reach is 500 feet, while in others it may be 1,000 feet. All states also require that your rear turn signal be clearly visible. If you can’t see your truck’s tinted tail lights at night, or can’t see them very well due to the tint, they are probably not legal.

Another factor that comes into play regarding visibility is the percentage your tail lights are tinted. Similar to window tinting laws, different states have different policies. Some states may allow a tail light tint as long as it is within their guidelines.

These varying requirements makes it essential to check your local laws before installing tinted tail lights, so you won’t be left wondering, “are tinted tail lights legal?”


Some states also require that your tail lights adhere to certain color guidelines, no matter what. The most common colors are red, white/clear, and yellow/amber. In states with color requirements, any tints that alter the appearance of your tail lights in these regards will be considered illegal.

Blacked-Out Tail Lights

One thing is for sure. Blacked-out tail lights are illegal in all 50 states. If you can’t see anything through your tail lights, and you can’t see your turn signal when it’s turned on, your tinted tail lights are illegal. This is for safety purposes. Other drivers need to be able to see when you’re braking, coming to a stop, and getting ready to turn. Having tail lights that are clearly visible is crucial to avoiding accidents.

The Best Choice For Your Truck

If you’ve checked with your local DMV/DOT or police station regarding the question “are tinted tail lights legal?” and determined that they definitely are not legal where you live, there are other options to upgrade your truck with aftermarket tail lights to give you that edge you’re looking for.

Here at RECON, we’re dedicated to helping each of our customers design the truck that matches their vision. You drive your truck every day, and we share the same passion that you do of building a masterpiece that you can take pride in.