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Just a quick reference for Michiganders of the applicable automobile window tint, neon light, smoked tail/head light, exhaust loudness levels, and police vehicle copycat laws.


Question: Can I have tinted windows on my vehicle?

Answer: The law that covers window applications is MCL 257.709 . The use of tinting is limited to the rear side windows, the rear window if the vehicle has outside mirrors on both sides, and the top 4 inches of the front side windows. There is a limited exception for medical necessity with a doctor's prescription, which allows for tinting to be applied to the front side windows as well. Michigan does not have a specification for the darkness of the window application, but does prohibit applications with a solar reflectivity greater than 35%.

Question: If I have a signed letter by my doctor indicating a medical necessity for tinted windows can another person drive my vehicle if the windows are tinted?

Answer: MCL 257.709(3)(e) allows for front side window tinting with "...a letter signed by a physician or optometrist, indicating that the special window treatment or application is a medical necessity. However, the special window treatment or application shall not interfere with or obstruct the driver's clear vision of the highway or an intersecting highway." A vehicle equipped with such tinting could not legally be driven by a person other than the person to whom the letter was given.

Question: Can I install neon lighting within the interior of my vehicle?

Answer: The problem with placing neon lighting inside a vehicle is that the vehicle code is very specific about the color of lamps allowed on a vehicle and what color can be seen from what direction. For instance, the only color legally allowed to be displayed to the front of a vehicle is white or amber. The only color allowed to be displayed to the rear is red or amber. To the sides, front - amber or white, rear - amber or red. No other colors are allowed and if any permitted color lamp is visible from any direction that is not allowed then it cannot be equipped that way. If the lighting causes a visual impairment for the driver or is potentially distracting then such lighting is unlawful. Finally, like exterior neon lighting, there is no provision within the Michigan Vehicle Code that allows the use of interior neon lighting. Ultimately it will be a matter for the courts to decide.

Question: Are neon license plate frames legal?

Answer: You may equip your vehicle with a license plate frame that contains neon lights however they must be covered and unlit while on the roadway or within the public right-of way. In addition the frame cannot obstruct any of the registration information on the plate or tabs.

Question: Can I have neon underbody lighting on my vehicle?

Answer: MCL 257.698(4) prohibits equipping a vehicle with any lighting that is not expressly required or permitted by Chapter 6, unless both covered and unlit. Neon underbody lighting is neither expressly required nor permitted. If equipped, the lights must be unlit and covered while on a highway, which includes all public roads and the adjacent rights-of-way.

Question: I am considering equipping my vehicle with neon valve stem lights. Are they legal?

Answer: If installed on a vehicle, the lights must be both covered and unlit while on a highway (any public road, including the right-of-way). This prohibition includes, but is not limited to: windshield wiper lights, tire valve stem lights, overhead/roll bar lights, underbody lights, and interior after-market lighting if visible from outside of the vehicle.

Question: Are smoked-out headlight covers legal?

Answer: The Michigan Vehicle Code requires head lamps to emit a white light, with "high-beams" of intensity to reveal persons and vehicles at a distance of at least 350 feet ahead, and low-beams of intensity to reveal persons and vehicles at a distance of at least 100 feet ahead. Since smoked headlamp covers change the color of light, and/or decrease their intensity below the requirements, they should not be used when headlamps are required to be on. However, smoked headlamp covers may be used when headlamps are not on, and not required.

Question: Is having smoked tail light/brake covers legal in Michigan? How about the smoked ones with slashes or vents in them showing a small part of the original red lens?

Answer: MCL 257.686 requires a tail lamp to emit a red light plainly visible for at least 500 feet to the rear of the vehicle.

MCL 257.697 requires stop lamps to emit a red or amber light and be capable of being seen and distinguished from other lamps for a distance of 100 feet, including during normal daylight.
If the cover you apply prohibits the lamp from meeting these requirements then it is unlawful.

Question: I own a retired Police Cruiser and am looking into adding on some extra equipment (Spotlights, etc.). Before I do so I would like to know what is legal (both on and off the road) here in Michigan.

Answer: If your intention is to equip this vehicle to represent an authorized emergency vehicle you cannot operate that vehicle on the roadway unless you are a peace officer. The use and/or possession of a flashing, rotating, or oscillating light of any color would be prohibited.

Should you decide to operate a vehicle on the roadway equipped as a police vehicle you would be subject to arrest for the criminal act of "False Representation as a Peace Officer".

Question: Would it be legal to install a (police type) siren on my car for purposes of an auto alarm?

Answer: MCL 257.706 covers sirens on vehicles. Under the circumstances you describe the installation and use of a siren would be illegal.

Question: I would just like to know if there is any sound level or DB law here in Michigan for automotive exhausts, specifically aftermarket?

Answer: MCL 257.707c provides the decibel levels at which the noise is considered excessive, while MCL 257.707e addresses the procedure for conducting a test. It is important to note that while these objective levels are provided, a vehicle below these levels may still be in violation. MCL 257.707b requires an exhaust system to be maintained in good working order to prevent excessive or unusual noise, which can be subjective. MCL 257.707 requires that an exhaust system be equipped with a muffler, and a resonator and tailpipe, if originally equipped. This precludes the modification of an exhaust system beyond the replacement of worn-out parts.

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