Vehicle modifications are an integral part of the car culture, and it’s hard not to go one day without seeing at least one car receiving modifications from the automotive aftermarket world. But just because the modifications are popular, doesn’t mean they are all legal. As the industry evolved over the years, some variations began skirting US state and federal laws.
As such, steps have been taken to curtail a lot of this variation. While it is illegal in some states, others have become illegal across the board. So before you decide to install a cold air intake or strap on lightbars in your car, first consider what modifications are legal and which ones are illegal in your jungle. Check out this list of the most popular modifications we’ve made to cars that are illegal or at least upset.
You’d think it would be nice to have a vehicle with extra powerful lights on the road. You know, the brighter the light, the more visible the road is, right? It could be you, too, because bright headlights, spotlights and light bars are illegal in many states because the risks they pose are not for you, but for other motorists.
Light bars, in particular, are known for being very bright and powerful. This is good news for you if you are in off-road or dark areas with no traffic, but if you are going to use light bars on crowded roads and highways, you are inviting others into danger and trouble from law enforcement authorities.
Imagine driving in a lane opposite the highway and then the car driver turning on his lightbar from another lane. Powerful lighting may not only blind you temporarily, but may distract you long enough to cause you an accident. There are places where light bars are appropriate, but public roads are not one of them.
There’s something cool with automatic licence plate covers, or at least what we see in the movies. Not only do you get away with a little trick from law enforcement officers, but the possibilities of what you can do with automatic licence plate covers draw horns on your head.
But while it is legal to buy and own this kind of equipment, it is illegal to use it on the road for the simple reason that it is used to prevent law enforcement officers from covering your plate in the flick of a switch.
No one is going to use automatic licence plate covers for smiles; People who have some dreadful plan often use it, and they adopt a licence plate cover on their cars, as a precaution when it gets in trouble. Maintain your licence plates visible clearly at all times. If you are stuck with an automatic licence plate cover on your car, you may run into big trouble.
If you have ever seen a truck on the road that emits black smoke from its exhaust, there is a good chance that you are looking at a rolling coal truck.
Rolling coal, for those unfamiliar, is the practice of modifying a diesel engine for the sole purpose of emitting black or grey ink exhaust fumes into the air.
Those who turn their trucks into rolling coals go on to modify their vehicles using smoke switches and smokestacks. Although it is a manual in itself, the practice violates the Clean Air Act, which prohibits “the manufacture, sale and installation of any emission control device that bypasses, defeats, or deactivates a portion of a motor vehicle. It prohibits anyone from disabling it before or after.
Most states prohibit rolling coal trucks, and in Illinois, anyone who removes or replaces their vehicle’s EPA emission equipment is fined $ 5,000 on any penalties enforced by federal laws. In other words, don’t think about rolling the town on a rolling coal truck.
Car window tints are not technically illegal. There are many manufacturers that can design high-quality window tints and you can buy them without difficulty.
Window tints are one of the car accessories that are treated differently depending on what state or county you live in. Some states have laws that allow car window tints to reach a certain light limit.
This means that darker window tints allow less light to enter the car. While it may be best to prevent the inside of your car from turning into an oven, the dark tint can prevent people from seeing who or what is inside the car. If you have a car with a dark window tint, there is a good chance someone from law enforcement will talk to you, depending on what kind of laws are in force. Is it worth the hassle? I don’t think it is.
The licence plate frame is another example of car accessories crossing the line between legal and illegal. Technically speaking, licence plate frames in your car are not illegal.
According to the 2018 State License Plate Laws, Oklahoma U.S. Is the only state to explicitly prohibit the use of licence plate frames.
On the other hand, innovative plate shields are illegal in most states, including the District of Columbia, Illinois, Kansas, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, Oklahoma, Oregon, Tennessee and Vermont.
It is important to understand the laws of your state regarding licence plate frames and clear plastic covers. In some states, these tools become illegal when the vehicle is undermined by the state’s registered name or the licence plate’s letters or numbers. So, if you have a licence plate frame that contains any of the details mentioned above, it can get you in trouble.
Lighting modifications are probably the most popular modifications made to a car. We have already mentioned that lightbars are illegal on densely populated roads and highways, but at least lightbars can be used in less populated areas and in the off-roading world.
Unfortunately, red, white and blue lights – or police lights, as they are commonly known – are illegal. Expect heavy fines if your unmarked car is caught using police lights. Heck, expect to spend some time in jail, because if you use these lights you’ll get there.
U.S. It is technically legal to buy laser jammers, but there are states that prohibit their use on the road, especially when law enforcement officers refrain from using their laser guns to check the speed of a particular vehicle. The laser jammer is a piece of nifty equipment that should be in your car. It has the ability to override the laser beam from the laser guns so that the latter can record faulty velocity or in some cases no measure.
In this case the purpose of laser jammers is clear. Officers do not want to get caught in their cars, especially when they break speed limits on public roads. Laser jammers have been successful in that regard, and many states in the U.S. have responded by outlawing its use on the road. You can still buy laser jammers; Don’t buy one and use it to try to escape from law enforcement officers. If caught, trouble is waiting.
It is a common occurrence in car fans to have a loud exhaust system. Isn’t there louder pride? This is especially true when we talk about high-powered sports cars with useless V-8 engines, sitting idle, ready to wake up and tell the whole neighbourhood about it.
Here’s the thing: Installing the aftermarket exhaust system is not illegal in the US, and many aftermarket tuners have done great business.
But just because it’s legal, doesn’t mean there shouldn’t be limits. Most states in the U.S. have banned or established regulations to reduce the use of obscene dense exhaust systems.
In New York, for example, motor vehicles must have a maximum sound level of 76 decibels at speeds of 35 mph or less. Go over 35 mph and the legal limit goes up to 82 dB.
Other states have stricter laws against loud emission systems. Take Colorado for example. According to national laws, “no character shall alter the auto exhaust device through a muffler at the beginning hooked up in an automobile and such an unique muffler to beautify or beautify the motor’s emission noise. All necessities of this segment will be complied with.”
Cold Air Intake Systems is one of the major aftermarket upgrades you can give your car. Installing one on your ride usually gives you more horsepower out of the engine, and more power means more fun, right? Well, tell state regulatory authorities that a lot of them have outlawed cold air intake systems in their jurisdiction.
Aside from the possibility that cold air intake systems may contribute to high speed cases, the basis of its illegal status in Arizona, California, Maine, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and other states rests on its violation. California Emissions Standards beneath the Section 177 of the Federal Clean Air Act of 1970.
On the bright side, there are ways to legalise the old air intake system in all 50 states. The particular unit must obtain the CARB Executive Order (EO) number, provided by the manufacturer of this aftermarket equipment for each unit they sell.
Studded tires are another confusing tool that jumps the legal and illegal fence depending on the location and the situation. In the case of these tires, they are legal in many places, especially in the winter season when they can be turned into frozen wonderland. See, studded tires are unique in their ability to dig into the ice, helping cats gain more traction compared to regular tires.
U.S. Most states require car owners to use studded tires in harsh conditions, especially in areas where winter snow is out of hand. Knowing all this makes you wonder why studded tires can get you in trouble with law enforcement officers.
The problem in this respect is simple: If you are using studded tires at any time other than the winter season, you are in trouble with the authorities.
Studded tires are great for winter, but when there is no snow and the roads are clear, studded tires can destroy the tarmac and road surfaces. So while you can buy and use studded tires during the winter, it’s best to take those tires from spring to autumn unless you want to get them on the wrong side of the law.
Is it legal to modify your vehicle?
Modifying your vehicle is illegal, although there are elements of illegal car modifications depending on which state you live in. For example, cold air intake is illegal in Arizona, California, New York, Pennsylvania and several other states. The CARB does not contain an Executive Order (EO) number.
Is it legal to have a custom exhaust?
Depending on the state you live in, it is legal or illegal. Most states have regulations that allow custom exhaust systems that do not reach a certain noise level at a certain speed. New York, for example, allows a maximum sound level of 76 decibels at 35 mph or less and up to 82 dB at speeds above 35 mph.
What vehicle mods are illegal?
There are many illegal vehicle mods in the US. Super Loud Exhausts, Bro Trucks, Rolling Coals, Lowrider, Underbody Neon Lights and Super Dark Car Tint are all in the U.S. Illegal is illegal.
Is NOS legal?
It is legal to buy NOS, but illegal to use on public roads – and very dangerous. Vehicles carrying NOS usually participate in races, both sanctioned and non-approved.
.What vehicle mods are illegal in California?
California has the strictest vehicle modification laws in the United States, and state-of-the-art modes include underbody neon lights licence, additional loudspeakers, radar detectors / laser jammers, licence plate covers, and frames that obstruct any part of the plate. Numbers, letters or state names.