Is it Illegal to Put Business Magnets on Your Car?

by Elle Smith ; Updated September 26, 2017
Your car can advertise your business to other commuters on the road.

A vinyl car magnet is an innovative way to market your business or services when you're out and about in your car. These signs are low-profile in thickness, removable and easy to produce. They are typically placed on the side of the car door, so they do not obstruct your vision or interfere with driving. It is not illegal to use vinyl or magnetic car advertising, but there are a few considerations to keep in mind when your vehicle is used for business.

Local Laws

Check with the Department of Motor Vehicles for your state to learn if there are any laws that prevent your using a car magnet to advertise your business. The vehicle code for each state varies. Generally, if your magnetic sign is placed on the passenger or driver's side door, and there is no obstruction of view, there is likely no law against it.


Inform your automobile insurance company that your car is being used for commercial purposes. If your car converts from personal use, your insurance premiums will likely be affected. Not informing your carrier can lead to problems if you need to file a claim later on.

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Registering Your Business

You may have to register your business with your city or county and pay local taxes if you have a business and advertise your business on your car. This may entail filling out a business tax application and providing the description of business, starting date, seller's permit and gross receipts. All cities business tax requirements are different, so check with your local city hall.

Municipal Code or HOA Ordinances

Some cities or homeowners associations have local ordinances that prohibit vehicles with commercial advertising parked on the streets or driveways. These laws are usually aimed toward non-motorized, unattended trailers with billboard-size advertising, but check with your city hall to be sure.

Window Wraps

Graphics placed on the rear window raise a different set of concerns because they can obstruct your vision. You must be able to see out of your rear window. These are a different type of sign than a magnetic version that attaches to the car door. Many states have mandated that rear-tinted windows may be used only if there are rearview mirrors on both sides of the car.

About the Author

Elle Smith has been an advertising professional for more than 25 years. Her work for ABC, CBS and Sony Pictures Television has appeared on radio, on air, in print and outdoors. In addition, Smith has more than 20 years experience in marketing, graphic arts, commercial photography and print production, and is a licensed real estate agent with property management certification in California.

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