What modifications are permitted on cars? Legality of undercar neons, interior neons, coloured lights, tinted windows and radar and laser detectors
What colour lights are legal and illegal to display on a road legal vehicle? I haven see cars that have blue coloured sidelights, and also under lit. are these legal? Does the same apply to motorbikes for side lights and underlit panels?
Undercar Neons are legal if only the glow is visible. You must not be able to see the actual tubes. As long as all you can see is the GLOW then in theory they are not causing a problem. We recommend that if you have them fitted you have a switch to turn them on and off. They must not cause a distraction to yourself or other road users and the police may well argue that if they’re turned on they are distracting to other drivers, but it depends on the officer. If you are stopped by the police, be courteous and polite. If you are asked to switch off the neons we suggest that you do so or they could issue you with an order to remove them.
Interior Neons have the same rules as under car kits – no visible, distracting bulbs or tubes. If they distract other drivers, the police have every right to pull you over and ask you to switch them off. You could actually be fined for using them anywhere so we urge caution.
The police can also say that the neons reduce the drivers visibility because of reflections on the windows. Once again, if the police as you to turn them off, do so.
Lights at the front and rear and side indicators must meet the legal requirements (regardless of what else you have added). These being two white lights at the front, two red lights at the rear, orange turning lights at front, rear and both sides.
As of January 1st 2004, new legislation was brought in that prohibits window tinting. You are not allowed to tint your windscreen or front windows at all. Anything forward of the B pillar (middle of the car) must not be tinted in anyway. You are however still allowed to perform any level of tinting on your back windows. If you’ve tinted you windows before January 2004 that does not mean that you are safe, if the police believe that your tint causes reduced visibility they can issue you with an order to have it removed. The reason this law was introduced was that there was a serious accident between a motorbike and a heavily modified car with very dark tints. It was believed that the root cause of the accident was that the driver couldn’t see well enough through his tinted windows.
Radar/Laser Detectors are another confusing area. GPS systems that alert you to the presence of “safety” cameras are perfectly legal, in fact the latest AA road maps also contain camera locations. Laser detectors are now illegal, as are any systems which jam or don’t reflect radar and laser.
Do I need to declare them to my insurers?
There’s one golden rule when dealing with insurers, DECLARE EVERYTHING. If you don’t then your policy could be void and you won’t get anything. It’s just not worth trying to save ВЈ20 when declaring that small mod would have saved you all the hassle.