For years, many motorists in California have wondered if license plate lights are required. This is because there seems to be a lot of inconsistency regarding whether law enforcement will ticket motorists who don’t have them. In this article, we will explore the law surrounding this topic and answer whether or not license plate lights are required in California.

What Are License Plate Lights?

License plate lights are vehicle lighting that helps illuminate a vehicle’s license plate. These lights are typically found on the vehicle’s rear and help make the license plate more visible in low-light conditions. License plate lights can be either incandescent or LED lights, typically lasting for the vehicle’s life.

License plate lights are a legal requirement in most states, and they help other drivers see your license plate number at night. These lights are usually white and mounted on the back of your car, above the license plate.

Are They Mandatory In California?


License plate lights are not required in California, but they are recommended. Many drivers install them as a precautionary measure, as they can make your license plate more visible at night. You may be issued a citation if you are pulled over for a traffic violation and your license plate is not illuminated.

California law does not specifically require license plate lights, with a few exceptions. Some vehicles – like motorcycles – are required to have them, while others do not need them as long as they can be seen from a distance.

Depending on the state, the laws regarding license plate lights may vary. In California, for example, the law states that license plate lights are required “when lighted lamps are required.” This means that if your vehicle has other lighted lamps, such as those used for signaling or backing up, you don’t need to have license plate lights. However, if your vehicle doesn’t have any other lighted lamps, then the law requires that you have license plate lights so that your license plate remains visible.

Do License Plate Lights Come In Different Colors?

License plate lights are typically white but can come in different colors. You can find license plate lights in various colors, including blue, green, red, and yellow. While white is the most common color for license plate lights, some people prefer to have lights in different colors.

Where Can You Find License Plate Lights?

There are a few different places where you can find license plate lights in California. One option is to look online at websites that sell car parts. If you want to buy online, get more info on license plate lights and vland headlights. Another option is to go to a local car dealership and ask if they have any license plate lights for sale. Finally, you could check with a local auto shop to see if they have any license plate lights in stock.

Can I Paint My License Plate In California?

No, under Section 4464, California’s Vehicle Code [1], you cannot paint your license plate in California.

Is There Any Penalty For Not Having License Plate Lights In California?


No, California has no penalty for not having license plate lights. However, if you are pulled over for an infraction such as speeding, the officer may ask you to produce your registration and proof of insurance. You may be cited for unlicensed vehicle operation and no insurance if you do not have these items. These are both infractions that come with fines.

How Much Do License Plate Lights Cost In California?

There is no definitive answer to this question, as the cost of license plate lights can vary depending on several factors. License plate lights in California typically cost between $5 and $20. Some factors that can affect the price include the type of car, the make and model, and the year. Additionally, the price may also vary depending on the retailer and as well as the specific requirements of the state.

What Things To Consider When Buying License Plate Lights?

There are a few things to consider when buying license plate lights:

  • Type Of Light (Led, Halogen, Etc.): Most people don’t think about the type of light when they’re buying license plate lights, but there are a few different types of light sources that can be used for this purpose. The most common light source for license plate lights is incandescent bulbs. These bulbs are inexpensive and widely available, but they’re not energy-efficient. LED lights are the most popular type of light for license plate lights. They are very bright and consume little power, making them ideal for car use. However, they can be quite expensive. Halogen lights are another popular option for license plate lights. They are not as bright as LED lights but are much cheaper.
  • Size: The size of the light is important because it needs to be big enough to be seen but not so big that it is obtrusive.
  • Brightness: The brightness of the light is important because you want to be able to see the license plate, but you don’t want to blind other drivers. The color of the light is important because some states have restrictions on what colors can be used.
  • Color: While white is the most common color for license plate lights, there are a few reasons why you might want to consider other colors. For one, different colored lights can provide better visibility in different conditions. For example, yellow lights are easier to see in foggy conditions, while blue lights are easier to see in snowy conditions. Additionally, different colored lights can have different effects on your car. For example, red lights can make your car look more aggressive, while blue lights can make it look more sleek and modern. Ultimately, the color you choose is up to you and should be based on your preference.


This article answered the question, “Are license plate lights required in California?” It turns out that they are not, but they are highly recommended. License plate lights make your car more visible at night, which can help keep you safe on the road.