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Concerning legality of clear turn signal lenses -> (archive)

[ Follow Ups ] [ 3-series (E46) Message Board ] [ Msg. Board FAQ ]

Posted by Andi on December 30, 1998 at 13:48:44:

In Reply to: Re: Interesting...Reply Long posted by Wilson on December 29, 1998 at 22:02:16:

Clear turn signal lenses with orange bulbs is perfectly legal. Many, many vehicles come like this from the factory.

However, the front sidemarkers must still have orange lenses. On the M roadster, there is a seperate sidemarker in the bumper under the turn signals -- and although the turn signal may be clear, the sidemarker has an orange lens.

I believe the E46 does not have a seperate sidemarker -- the units next to the headlight are both turn signals and sidemarkers:

Because of this, I do not think it is legal in the USA to change the turn signal/sidemarker lenses on the E46 to clear. However, I doubt you'll get caught and it certainly isn't a dangerous modification. As long as you use an orange bulb, you're still signalling orange, and how many times do you park in the middle of the street at night perpendicular to traffic so they can reflect their headligts off your front sidemarkers? :-o

So my opinion is, although it's slightly illegal, you can get away with it.

I put clear turn signals and sidemarkers on my Maxima -- with orange bulbs. Notice the white reflection from the flash:

I haven't been ticketeted. [knocking on wood]

Since on the E46 the sidemarker is a turn signal, if you are ever pulled over for it, mention that it's a turn signal and that you have an orange bulb, and that many cars have clear turn signals with orange bulbs from the factory. I doubt the police office will be knowlegeable enough concerning lighting code to realize it's also a sidemarker that has to be orange. Just turn on your hazards and show him that it blinks orange...

Sorry for the long post. Hope you find this information helpful.

Happy new year, --Andi

: The law has something to do with the reflected color if the car was disabled at night with no power to the bulb. Example if you swapped out all rear lenses to clear all you would see white reflected color no red or amber. I guess DOT likes the reflective color thing. This law was explained to me by a California Highway Patrol Officer who enforces this law as written in the Vehicle code. The California code makes reference to D.O.T. requirements for lens colors. The CHP primarily targets the street racers, Acuras etc. that plague California with their street racing activity. Also if you look at the catalogs selling these after market lenses there is usually a fine print notice advising for off road use only.

:
: : I think it's a matter of having both clear bulbs and clear lenses that is illegal. One or the other have to be amber.




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