Pennsylvania State Laws About Smoked Headlights

By Teo Spengler - Updated August 13, 2018
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headlight image by Tammy Mobley from Fotolia.com

Yes, some ideas seem odd and some seem even odder, but there is no accounting for tastes. If you don't understand the desire to smoke or black out your vehicle's headlights or taillights, just accept that, for some age groups in some areas, it's a fashion trend. But for those readers who love this trend and live in Pennsylvania, you may want to ask first about Pennsylvania's headlight laws: Are smoked headlight covers legal in Pennsylvania? If you plan on driving on Pennsylvania streets and highways, the simple answer is no.

Pennsylvania Headlight Law

Almost every car sold in America comes with white headlights. That is, white lights in the headlights and no tinted covers. This is as true in Pennsylvania as in other states. And the Pennsylvania headlight laws don't permit tinted covers that change the quality of the light that comes from the vehicle's lights.

The laws about headlights are found in Pennsylvania's Motor Vehicle Code, statute 175.66, which sets out the rules about lighting and electrical systems in a car. This statute covers the minimum and maximum candlepower permitted, which means how bright headlights have to be to be legal. They must be not less than 7,500 candlepower and not more than 10,000 candlepower. The law also discusses auxiliary and fog lamps, and when each can be used.

Smoked Headlight Covers Are Not Legal

The same statute discusses headlight covers:

  • Section 175.66(g)  Condition and position of lamps: Lamps shall...not be so obstructed by a screen, bar, auxiliary equipment or a device as to obscure, change the color of, or obstruct beam.

This law means that any screen, cover or device that changes the color of a headlight beam or obstructs it is illegal in Pennsylvania. This law only applies to vehicles operated on the streets and highways, including freeways, in Pennsylvania. If you want to insert smoked headlight covers and ride off-road, nobody will stop you.

Taillight Tint Laws in Pennsylvania

If smoked headlight covers are not legal in Pennsylvania, take a guess as to weather smoked taillight covers are legal. Yup, you're right. The same law that applies to headlights in Pennsylvania covers taillights, too. You cannot insert tinted or smoked taillight covers in Pennsylvania and drive on state roads or highways. As with headlights, you can smoke up your taillights or tint them as you like as long as you do not intend to drive the vehicle on a road.

Note that you are required to get periodic inspections of your car for registration purposes in Pennsylvania. The licensed person performing the inspection is required by law to make sure that the headlights and taillights meet state standards.

About the Author

Teo Spengler earned a J.D. from U.C. Berkeley's Boalt Hall. As an Assistant Attorney General in Juneau, she practiced before the Alaska Supreme Court and the U.S. Supreme Court before opening a plaintiff's personal injury practice in San Francisco. She holds both an M.A. and an M.F.A in creative writing and enjoys writing legal blogs and articles. Her work has appeared in numerous online publications including USA Today, Legal Zoom, eHow Business, Livestrong, SF Gate, Go Banking Rates, Arizona Central, Houston Chronicle, Navy Federal Credit Union, Pearson, Quicken.com, TurboTax.com, and numerous attorney websites. Spengler splits her time between the French Basque Country and Northern California.

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