Tesla Model 3 Underglow: Oh, the Nostalgia… But Is It legal?

By Zac Ludicrous •  Updated: 09/12/22 •  17 min read

When I was little, it was my dream to own a car of my own and put some crazy underglow on it — I had to quench my thirst through games and movies.

But not anymore. 

tesla model 3 underglow

Underglow is back, baby!

It’s underglow time!

But before we move on to the installation, we have to go through US laws and find out whether or not we can actually install it.

Before I shed some light on the whole picture, it’s safe to say that you can have underglow installed on your Tesla Model 3 as long as it is not cherries and blueberries and should definitely not be flashing — in most cases. 

Some states, however, do not allow the use of neon underglow, no matter what color — Michigan, for example. 

You may have it installed, but you’re not allowed to use it while driving.

Similarly, Pennsylvania and Connecticut also restrict the use of aftermarket lighting, including neon underglow.

To make it easy for you, here’s a list of states where underglow is illegal: 

I’m sorry if you live there. 

Meanwhile, here are the states where neon underglow is legal:

If you live in one of these states, get ready for some sick neon underglow.

tesla model 3 underglow
Credit to TeslaLux Innovations

The vehicle above follows the neon underglow laws of most states. As you can see, it’s blue in the front and amber in the back. 

In most states, red should not be on the front. In some, blue is restricted, and flashing ones should be avoided at all costs.

Other states only allow white (on the front) and amber lights (on the back). 

The neon underglow should not be emitting more than 0.05 candela per square inch; this is the limit in most states where underglow is legal.

If your underglow lights are brighter than this, you will surely get a ticket. So make sure not to put it on full blast.

Moreover, the lamps should not be visible from the outside. They should be held in place in stealth mode. 

If you’re the kind of person who likes everything to be lit up, you should check out the puddle lights that you can install on your Model 3 — as well as some other ambient lighting that would look sick on your vehicle. 

And that’s about it for the legal considerations. Let’s move on to the neon underglow kits that you can get for your Model 3. 

Product Recommendations

Overall Best Neon Underglow Kit: Xprite 

Xprite has to be on top of this list as it’s one of the most inexpensive yet sturdy sets of neon lights that you can get. 

There are plenty of other neon underglow kits available, but none of them offers the kind of lighting Xprite offers. 

It’s a set of four LED strips that can be attached either through the 12V port or directly to the battery terminals. 

As your Tesla has a 12V port in the trunk, you can easily have the box installed there in the back and run your wiring harness from there. 

Its Bluetooth connectivity is also great, and you can have all the functions of the LED lighting on your fingerprints. 

The app can also control the interior lighting if you have them installed — which means you don’t have to go through the grinding of learning how to control the lights from the remote. 

The best part is that the brightness is adjustable, so you can either dim or brighten the lights whenever you want (wink).

You can choose from eight different static color options and use sound active mode. 

However, it’s best not to use the sound active mode while driving as law enforcers can pull you over for having flashing underglow and issue you a ticket as a gift.

Now this is a gift you don’t want.

As for the installation, these strips come with an adhesive that’s not that good. You might have to resort to the good old zip ties to keep them in place. 

Or, to avoid drilling for zip ties, it’s best to order a good-quality double-sided tape. 

Make sure to clean the area so there’s no dirt or debris under the vehicle where you would be putting the LED strips. 

After a good wash, you can clean the area with isopropyl alcohol and wipe it with a clean microfiber cloth — all this effort so that the adhesive can work its magic.

If not properly cleaned, the adhesive will go to heaven after a month or two. 

tesla model 3 underglow

Another problem that might occur during installation is related to how you run the wires from the power source to the box and then to the rest of the LED strips. 

There were instances when people had to order an extra length of extension wire to reach their desired place, so to make your troubles go away even before they manifest, here’s a link to that extension wire

The overall ratings for Xprite are pretty good. They have been manufacturing these lights since 2014, so they know a thing or two about awesome underglow stuff. 

There are four different variations that you can set on these lights. 

However, it’s best not to use any flashing variation while driving unless you want to meet the law enforcers of your area. 

Credit to Grayson Saemo / AP

According to some unlucky customers, the lights malfunctioned after three months of usage. However, the faulty part was replaced by the seller. 

Make sure to ask the seller directly for any warranty-related issues beforehand. 

Some people find it a little frustrating when the Bluetooth fails to connect. To get rid of the frustration, you can get this same product with a manual remote function. 

Some reviews also suggest that the Bluetooth connectivity sometimes messes up the whole underglow LED strips and does not work properly, so there might be some glitches. 

Here’s a link to the same product without Bluetooth, which costs less than the Bluetooth version. 

You can use this LED underglow in most types of weather as it’s made to be waterproof. 

Harsh winters might cause some damage to the insulation on these light strips.

Pros

✅ Inexpensive
✅ Easy to set up
✅ Waterproof
✅ Bluetooth connectivity 
✅ Eight different colors to choose from
✅ Adjustable brightness
✅ Two power source connectivity
✅ Has remote control 
✅ Four different variations

Cons

❌ The adhesive is subpar
❌ Requires zip ties
❌ Might require an extension wire 
❌ Some users reported glitches
❌ Not compatible for harsh winters

Runner-Up Underglow for Tesla Model 3: KORJO 

The only reason why this is not the top pick is because of its price point. 

Compared with the Xprite underglow, the price of KORJO is a little high. However, the quality is far superior.

The KORJO underglow kit comes with a six-month warranty, whereas Xprite didn’t mention anything about it. 

KORJO also goes out of its way to offer a 30-day money-back guarantee on top of lifelong technical support. So if anything goes wrong, KORJO will have your back. 

In some of their marketing posts, it has also mentioned that the lights come with one-year warranty, so make sure to confirm this with the seller when finalizing your purchase. 

When it comes to the connectivity of KORJO underglow lights, you have your trusty Bluetooth giving you full control through the app. 

Another benefit of KORJO is that you get six pieces of strips to work with, while you only get four in the case of Xprite. 

The color options are also enormous — 120 colors, to be exact — with a number of different variations you can do. 

You get a Bluetooth controller as well, so you won’t always have to fiddle around with the app; you can simply control the lights through the Bluetooth controller. 

To make the installation procedure simple, KORJO also gives you a 12V power adaptor, which, as mentioned before, you can plug into the 12V port in the trunk of your Model 3. 

However, some Tesla owners have preferred to attach these underglow lights to a separate rechargeable battery pack to avoid draining the 12V battery on their Tesla. 

If you don’t have a separate battery, you can connect it to the 12V battery without a problem and call it a day. 

The installation of these KORJO underglow lights is straightforward, and you get a lot of wires to work with. You wouldn’t have to worry about wires not being enough for the installation. 

Not to mention, you also get extra clips and 3M tape to have all the lights held in place. 

To prevent environmental damage, the lights are made to be waterproof. 

The only major pain with these lights is that they won’t listen to you sometimes. No matter how much you fiddle around with the controls, you won’t be able to get them to listen to you. 

Kind of like teenagers. 

tesla model 3 underglow

So if the lights you ordered behave in a way that you would want to ground them, it would be best to have them replaced under warranty. 

Rule of thumb, if the first ones didn’t work like they are supposed to, it’s best to get a refund and order different ones because chances are, they only have the defective ones in stock. 

If you’re lucky and they work the first time without a problem, you are having a great day, and you can enjoy your underglow on your Model 3. 

Some reviews have also suggested that the seller isn’t responsive, just like the lights. So make sure that the seller is available to answer your queries.

If you’re not getting any response, you can always go for the Xprite underglow kit, which is also much more inexpensive. 

Pros

✅ Six pieces of lights
✅ One-year warranty*
✅ 30-day money-back guarantee
✅ Lifetime support (if the seller responds)
✅ Bluetooth connectivity
✅ 12V adaptor
✅ Extra clips
✅ 3M tape 
✅ App control
✅ Extra wires

Cons

❌ Their tech support is sluggish
❌ Sometimes delivers faulty lights
❌ The app control can be messy

Tesla Model 3 Underglow Installation 

Before I go into the individual steps, let me give you an overview of what to expect from this DIY job. 

The installation of these underglow light strips is kind of straightforward, but it does take a lot of time to complete — 3 to 4 hours easily. 

There are several things you need to consider. The wiring route, for instance, is the most painful one. 

And then comes the attachment of these strips.

I think the hardest, most frustrating part is to get under the vehicle and do all the work. 

Because the ride height of the Tesla Model 3 is kind of low, it becomes really difficult to reach stuff under your vehicle.

Professionals would charge you about $250 for the installation. 

However, you can save these precious bucks by using a lot of elbow grease — like a whole lot of it. 

The fuses on these boxes are known to fail when connected directly to the 12V battery, so using the 12V port would be the best choice. 

Another intuitive way is to install a kill switch to these lights.

The switch can help reduce vampire drain and allow you to turn the lights on and off without a hitch. 

Tools You Need for Underglow Installation on Your Tesla Model 3

Step-by-Step Procedure of Installing Underglow on Your Tesla Model 3

Step 1

The first thing you need to do before you start the installation is to check if all the lights are working as they are supposed to. 

To check the lights, you can use the 12V port in the trunk of your Model 3, which is located on the side.

Connect all the wires and turn the lights on. 

If you see any faults or damage, make sure to return or replace the defective ones. 

Step 2

Figure out how you want to run your wires. 

You can run the wires from the passenger-side glove box compartment and power the box through the 12V battery (wire coming from the frunk into the passenger footwell through the firewall)

You can also do this by putting a rechargeable 12V battery and fixing it behind the glove box. 

Or you can have the box fixed in the trunk and power it with the 12V port and run your wires from there. 

To fix the box and/or the 12V rechargeable battery behind the glove box or on the side of the footwell, you can use double-sided velcro.

Step 3

Once you have made up your mind on where to put the box and how to power it, you can then move on to fixing the lights. 

Make sure to clean the area properly. 

If there’s any dirt or debris, you won’t be able to fix it adequately and the whole light will eventually come off while you are driving. There’s a high likelihood that you will be damaging the lights, and they won’t work. 

Clean the area using isopropyl alcohol and let it dry. 

Once dry, use double-sided tape to attach the light strips to the area where you feel like it. 

It’s best to keep them tucked in to avoid any unnecessary tickets. If the light tubes are visible from the outside, that’s a ticket right there. 

Step 4

Use zip ties to hold the light strips in place and connect all the wires. 

Before you move on to tuck all the wires in, make sure to test the lights. 

If you feel like the wires are not long enough, you can always order extra extension wires from the seller like this one

Splice the wire from the power source that runs to the box and put a switch in between. Make sure that the switch is within reach of the driver. 

Step 5

Once the connection is all set, you can then move on to tucking all the wires and making them look clean.

You can lift the panels and trims under the carpet and run the wires underneath. 

You can use a prying tool to release the tabs/clips and then move on to routing the wires. 

The front lights can be powered by the wires running through the firewall underneath the glove compartment, and from the frunk, you would have to drill holes to get the wire to reach the bottom.

The holes can then be filled with silicone to prevent water from getting into the cabin from underneath. 

Step 6

This step is not for the lighthearted. 

If you want to make the lights last longer and avoid hitting them on a curb or pothole while driving, zip ties and a heat gun can save the day. 

You can use the heat gun to soften up the plastic trims underneath in a way that a groove is formed for the lights to sit in and then use zip ties and drills to keep the lights in place. 

However, if you want to avoid extra drilling, you can skip this step and simply let the double-sided tape and zip ties with screws do the job.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does installing underglow void the Tesla Model 3’s warranty?

No, installing underglow lights on the Tesla Model 3 does not void the warranty as it’s an add-on and you’re not really tampering with any existing accessory. 

So even if you have to drill some holes to connect your underglow lights on the bottom of your Model 3, your warranty will remain intact. 

Is it illegal to have an underglow installed on your Tesla Model 3?

The answer to this question depends on the state where you live. 

If you are unlucky and live in any of these seven states, you can’t have underglow on your Tesla Model 3, no matter what color it is.

I have gone into great detail on how to avoid tickets and have these sweet underglow lights on your Tesla Model 3. I also discussed some underglow restrictions in the rest of the states, which you can find above. 

Is underglow illegal in Toronto?

Yes, the underglow lights are illegal in Toronto. 

However, there is an exception for the color green. And some posts suggest you can also have the color purple. 

So if you’re set on getting underglow, make sure that you only have the color green, which should be not too bright and should definitely not be flashing. Any other color should be avoided at all costs. 

Alberta, on the other hand, makes it completely illegal. 

If you’re an enthusiast like me who grew up watching car movies and playing car video games, I know your pain. 

However, if you have them installed and only turn them on while you are parked, that is almost allowed. 

You should not drive your vehicle with underglow turned on to avoid tickets. 

My underglow lights stopped working. What to do?

If you have recently installed underglow on your car and you see the lights are not working anymore, I might have a solution for you. 

First, you need to check if there is any visible light damage. 

If there’s no damage to the lights themselves, you can then move on to the remedy. 

The fuse on the box that is connected to the power source and supplies energy to the lights might be dead, which causes the lights to stop working. 

You can simply change the fuse, and you will be good to go.

Final Thoughts 

The 90s are back. 

Underglows have always been my favorite, and the nostalgia is surreal. 

You can always have an underglow to remind you of the good old days. 

Not to mention the attraction that these lights have. 

Just look at it. I can keep staring at it all day (although it’s actually illegal when you drive it with these colors).

But that’s not the point. The point is that these look sick, and you can turn them on while you are parked. 

So prepare yourself for some staring eyes because people will be looking at your Tesla a lot more compared to when your Model 3 didn’t have any underglow. 

If you’re just getting into the underglow scene, it’s best to avoid the premium ones and taste the joy of underglow on the testing grounds first. 
I would recommend the Xprite underglow kit as it’s the most appreciated and most inexpensive of all the underglows currently available on the market.

Zac Ludicrous

Mechanical engineer by profession. TSLA shareholder before the hype. EV enthusiast all day long. Zac enjoys learning about the future of battery technology, autonomy, and EVs. He considers Tesla Model 3 the most important vehicle of the 21st century -- and is in a quest to improve the ownership experience of every Model 3 owner he possibly can.

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