Replacing the headlights with a new pair of LED ones is exhilarating. But you don’t want to go through all the effort only to realize that you have broken the law. Like other nations, NJ has clear rules for headlights and other vehicle lighting systems.
But just the state laws aren’t enough. You must also check federal law to determine whether the new LEDs you are planning to buy are actually legal. The short answer to our main question is that all OEM LED headlights are legal in NJ. But most aftermarket ones are illegal, like most other states.
But let’s talk about this topic in detail below.
Vehicle Lighting Laws in New Jersey
The following are the vehicle lighting laws in New Jersey that you may need to know about.
When the Headlights Must Be Lighted–
- From half an hour after the sunset to half an hour before the sunrise.
- When the harsh weather limits your visibility to 500 feet or closer.
- Motorcycle headlights can be lighted during the day and nighttime.
- Bicycle headlights (white) and taillights (red) must be lighted during nighttime to be visible from 600 feet from the front and rear.
- A vehicle must be equipped with at least two headlights. In addition, each side must have equal numbers of them.
- A motorcycle must have at least one and a maximum of two headlights.
- Any vehicle can have no more than two auxiliary lights, which must be aimed according to the standards.
- There can be one spotlight at max, and it must be appropriately focused not to glare at anyone. You also cannot use your spot lamp for driving lights.
- Two fender lights (or side cowls) are allowed, but they must be white or yellow and not glare.
- Any vehicle lighting must only be white, yellow, or amber in color. Any additional color is not allowed without a permit. You can get a license for red or blue colored lights for free and any other colors or flashing lights for $25.
- Headlight beams must be white.
- Taillights, stop lights, and turn signals must be red or amber. Other rear lights must be red.
- Any front lighting system except headlights, spotlights, or alternative driving lights with a luminous intensity over 3770 must be angled so that their beams reach the road level within 75 feet from the vehicle’s front.
Again, like the laws from most states, NJ Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) doesn’t specify much about whether LED lights are allowed or not. So, let’s look at the Federal Motor Vehicle Service Standards (FMVSS) to determine their legality in this state.
Headlight Laws by FMVSS
Federal law doesn’t allow any sort of headlight modification. It includes installing LED bulbs into halogen housings, vice versa, and trimming any part of the headlight system. So, if your vehicle comes with a halogen or HID headlight system, you cannot legally use LED headlights on it. But you may find OEM LED headlight housings with DOT approvals that fit your vehicle. You can replace your stock housing with them. Make sure that both your housing and wiring are fit for a LED headlight system.
About Interior Lighting
Since the state law of NJ doesn’t specify anything about interior lighting, you should be able to use them legally. However, don’t use any other color than white or yellow unless you have permission. Avoid color-changing lights. If you already have them, keep them white mostly on the road. Don’t tell any officer on duty about their color-changing feature.
Many may not know this well, but most state laws are for on-road vehicle use. If you have a vehicle you only use for off-roading, feel free to get any aftermarket LED on it. Don’t hesitate to install some LED light pods on it as well.
But avoid inhabitant areas with those lights and don’t take rural roads. Rural roads are also considered a road, and the laws apply there.
Moments When LED Headlights Are Legal in NJ
- If your LED headlight is a factory unit with the proper aiming angle. They should be focused properly unless you change their beam angle.
- If your LED headlights are an OEM item with the right fit for your vehicle.
- If your aftermarket LED headlights are properly DOT and SAE approved and fit your vehicle correctly.
If your stock halogen headlights don’t make much brightness as you need, worry not. There are many halogen OEM products with high brightness available on the market. They cost so low as well.
Since NJ allow stock and OEM LED units, feel free to use them. But don’t ever modify your vehicle. You may get tickets, and your vehicle may not pass the inspection in that case.