The Guide to Legal Car Modifications for All States

The Guide to Legal Car Modifications for All States

Vehicle modifications can take many forms, from simple modifications such as light window tinting to under-vehicle LED lighting to the more complex frame and suspension modifications. Laws and regulations for vehicle modifications have been set in place for many reasons, including being an effort to reduce harmful vehicle emissions and ensure drivers stay safe through the reduction of possible vehicle-related distractions.

Some of the items that can be considered a vehicle modification by different states include:

  • Mufflers, including whether use is required, decibel limits, and baffle requirements
  • Sound systems, including decibel limits related to time and location
  • Frame and suspension modifications (“lifting” or “low-riding”)
  • Lighting, such as the required amount of working vehicle lights, locations, such as under-vehicle LED lighting, and overall limits to brightness and possible color
  • Windows, including tinting limits and allowed tint types (e.g., reflective tint)

Violating the laws related to vehicle modifications can result in fines and penalties, so when driving around your hometown, or planning a trip out of state, be sure to check that any modifications to your vehicle comply with state laws and regulations.

In addition, many states have laws and regulations regarding what is considered an “antique vehicle.” Since this can impact items such as seat belt requirements, emissions, and more, be sure to check that your older vehicle falls within legal guidelines for an antique before heading out on that cross country roadtrip.

Also, vehicle modifications may impact the ability to get car insurance as well as the overall cost. YourMechanic has information on how to insure a car with modifications to help drivers stay informed and educated.

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

Ask a Mechanic
(100% Free)

Have a car question? Get free advice from our top-rated mechanics.

Ask A Mechanic
Over 10,000 questions answered!

More related articles

How to Find the Keyless Code on a Ford Explorer or Mercury Mountaineer
Many Ford Explorers and Mercury Mountaineers were manufactured with an option known as the Ford keyless entry keypad. Some models refer to it as SecuriCode as well. It...
P0222 OBD-II Trouble Code: Throttle/Pedal Position Switch/Sensor B Circuit Low Input
P0222 code definition Throttle/Pedal Position Switch/Sensor B Circuit Low Input What the P0222 code means The manufacturer specifies a range of acceptable voltage to be produced from the throttle position...
Insurance Requirements for Car Registration in Kentucky
The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet requires that all drivers in Kentucky carry liability automotive insurance, or “financial responsibility” in order to operate a vehicle legally and maintain vehicle...

Related questions

Q: How do I unbuckle the seat belt?

Unbuckling your seat belt is easy. Grab the belt buckle, and press the button on top of the buckle until the latch releases. Remove the latch, and return the seat belt to its original position. Tip You should never unbuckle...

Q: After tinting windows, they are hard to roll up

Hi. Window tint can affect the operation of the windows. Spray the inside of the glass with soapy water. If the window now works properly, the tint is to blame. The noise sounds like a wheel bearing going bad. They...

Q: Will a after market performance chip increase my horse power? Will it pass smog?

If you live in California or any jurisdiction that regulates these aftermarket products, the first thing to check is whether the California Air Resources Board (CARB) has "registered" or "approved" the product. If no approval exists, particularly in California, that...