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Throughout the Grand Theft Auto series, lights are a main feature of all cars that are vastly improved in every game. As a form to enhance the realism of the games, small details are added on various cars and improves the overall appearance of the vehicle that accompanies the main lights.

Turn Signals

Roman'sTaxi-GTAIV-Front

An example of amber turn signals in a Roman's Taxi.

Turn signals are blinking lamps mounted near the left and right front and rear corners of a vehicle, and sometimes on the sides or on the side mirrors of a vehicle, activated by the driver on one side of the vehicle at a time to advertise intent to turn or change lanes towards that side.

This is a very common feature on many civilian cars or a rare sight on other types of vehicles not intended for public use. Although it appeared in most of the Grand Theft Auto series and rendered in multiple vehicles, it was not functional in the 3D Universe due to limited mechanics in rendering functional lights. However, they become a typical feature from Grand Theft Auto IV and onwards, where they are often used by NPC's in the environment to give realism and to tell where the car is going when in an intersection. True to in real-life, rear turn signals can be either of an amber color separated with its own light cast (Patriot) or a red color and together with the main lighting unit (Stanier).

Despite the apparent changes, the player is unable to make use of turn signal in normal gameplay, although they can be activated via a trainer. In Grand Theft Auto IV, there are rare instances where a parked car may have the turn signals on, being an example the parking lot in Big Horn Drive, where a Car Wash is available.

Daytime Running Lights

Daytime Running Lights, also referred to as DRLs, are small light strips or bulbs that cannot be controlled by the player. These lights turn on whenever the car's engine is on, and they remain on until the player turns the car off. Like normal headlights, these ones can get damaged and turn off during collisions. Much like in real life, DRLs seem to be a relatively new feature in the US only found on late-model cars. Not all vehicles have DRLs, just a select few;

Vehicles with DRLs

Auxiliary lamps

Auxiliary lamps are lights that differs from the conventional lighting system. These usually provides either more illumination to the front of the car or where the car itself cannot provide from the sides or rear. It can include fog lamps, spotlights, searchlights, etc.

Although those appeared since the 3D Universe, most of them are just basic parts and were not coded to provide any source of light, although in the HD Universe, some lamps are used in conjuction with the lighting feature or with the car's engine on. Fake lamps do not work, but cannot be destroyed and only deforms like the car itself when crashes over an obstacle.

In Grand Theft Auto V, some cars allows for modifications that will include non-functional lamps at Los Santos Customs.

Vehicles with auxiliary lamps

3D Universe
  • BF Injection (Grand Theft Auto: Vice City and Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories rendition)
  • Dune (Two are functional)
  • Police Maverick (Fully interactive in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas)
  • S.W.A.T.
Grand Theft Auto IV
Grand Theft Auto V & Online

Warning lights

Warning lights are a type of device intended to warn passers-by about a certain type of vehicle operating within an area. This includes strobe lights and emergency lights.

Vehicles with beacon lights

This feature is seen in various specialized vehicles featured in the Grand Theft Auto series, such airport vehicles and service vehicles. Although these were present since Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, only in Grand Theft Auto V are fully functional.

3D Universe
HD Universe

Vehicles with emergency lights

This feature is prominently featured in emergency vehicles featured in the Grand Theft Auto series. These were present since Grand Theft Auto 1 and varies between games, with Grand Theft Auto V having the latest LED emergency lights.

Because of the limitations of the 3D Universe games, only the roof-mounted lightbars seem to have the lighting effect on these vehicles, despite some of them (like the Fire Truck) features textures of various colored lights on other places, aside from the roof.

2D Universe
3D Universe
HD Universe

Taxi signs

A Taxi sign is a basic feature seen on every Grand Theft Auto game. As the name says, it is a small top sign with "TAXI" stencils written on both sides, incorporated with a bright yellow light to denote its availability for public transport.

From Grand Theft Auto 1 and onward, taxicab vehicles always carries this sign and varies through the games.

  • In the 2D Universe and Grand Theft Auto Advance, due of the perspective, taxi signs are represented as plain lines placed over the vehicle's roof, usually with a grayish color to differentiate from the Taxi's yellow color. These signs are transversely mounted.
  • From Grand Theft Auto III, taxis will have either a yellow/black sign with "TAXI" in white or a simplistic yellow sign with "TAXI" in black (or "TAKI", because of an odd texture in the letter "X"), with a bright yellow color (only seen when a taxicab can be used for faster travels if a mission is failed or when initiating the Taxi Driver side mission). The second variation of the sign was reused for every taxicab from Grand Theft Auto: Vice City until Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories. Depending of the vehicle and game, taxi signs will be either longitudinally or transversely mounted.
  • For the HD Universe, the taxi sign has a modernized appearance, having the yellow/black squared light with the "TAXI" letter in white (as wih the first variation seen in Grand Theft Auto III. These will have the characteristic light either on, if the taxi is unoccupied, or off, if the taxi is occupied by at least one person. These are transversely mounted and can be either the single sign or accompanied by a roof-mounted advertisement (except for the Cabbie, which always have the single unit on it).

Vehicles with taxi signs

2D Universe
3D Universe
HD Universe

LED Display panel

A LED Display panel is an uncommon feature seen in the HD Universe, where they are used to display a certain message, usually a destination.

This feature can be seen in certain public transport vehicles. So far, the Bus, the Airport Bus and the Tram have this kind of device.