The Guide to Legal Car Modifications in New York

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If you live in New York or are moving to the area, if you have a modified vehicle you need to know what is permissible on the roadways throughout the state. The following guidelines will help ensure that your vehicle is considered street legal in New York.

Sounds and noise

New York has regulations in place to control the amount of noise or sound that your vehicle is allowed to create or emit.

Sound systems

In New York, sound that is 15 or more decibels above the ambient sound in a given area when measured 15 or more feet from the source is not permitted.

Mufflers

  • Mufflers are required on all vehicles and cannot allow sound levels higher than 15 decibels more than the ambient sound in which the vehicle is being driven.

  • Muffler cutouts are not permitted.

Tip: Always check with local county laws in New York to make sure you are following any municipal noise ordinances that may be more stringent than state-level laws.

Frame and suspension

New York does not have regulations on suspension and frame lift heights. However, cars, and SUVs must have bumpers mounted between 16 and 20 inches, while trucks have a maximum bumper height of 20 inches. Additionally, vehicles are only permitted to be 12 feet 6 inches in height.

Engine

Vehicles in New York must undergo emissions testing and safety inspections each year. However, there are no additional regulations on engine swaps or modifications.

Lighting and windows

Lights

  • Red and blue flashing lights are only permitted on emergency vehicles.
  • No auxiliary or additional lamps beyond those installed at the factory are permitted.

Window tinting

  • Non-reflective tint is permitted on the top six inches of the windshield.

  • Front side, back, and side windows must allow over 70% of light through.

  • Rear window can have any tint darkness.

  • Side mirrors are required if back window is tinted.

  • Sticker signifying legal tint levels is required between the glass and film on window that is tinted.

Antique/classic car modifications

New York offers historical plates for vehicles that are over 25 years old and that are not used for daily driving or transportation. Vintage plates are also allowed for the year in which the vehicle was manufactured if it is not used for daily driving or transportation.

If you want to make sure your vehicle modifications comply with New York law, YourMechanic can provide the mobile mechanics to help you install the new parts. You can also ask our mechanics what modifications may be best suited to your car using our free online Q&A system, Ask a Mechanic.


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Rigoberto

9 years of experience
706 reviews
Rigoberto
9 years of experience
Chevrolet Equinox - Brake Pads Replacement (Rear) - Niles, Illinois
Rigo was great! He got there early, finished the job early, left everything clean. He changed my rear pads and rotors. The original quoted time was 90 minutes, he was done in about 60. He knows what he is doing and I am recommending him to all my friends and coworkers.
Mercedes-Benz C250 - Brake Pads Replacement (Front, Rear) - Chicago, Illinois
Rigo is a maverick hands down. Don’t take your car for work elsewhere. Especially great at Mercedes—this guy knows his profession! I will be using him for everything related to my car going forward.

Arturo

25 years of experience
35 reviews
Arturo
25 years of experience
Kia Forte - Brake Pads Replacement (Front) - San Diego, California
ARTURO is great! very professional , fast, replaced my front brake pads and oil an filter change. everything now works and works well. Brakes have much improved stopping power and engine is smooth and quiet.Arturo is also kind and thoughtful. "Your mechanic" is very fortunate to have Arturo Lopez represent your company. I enthusiastically recommend him and "Your mechanic> as a fine operation Best regards to the Team Peter Marto
Nissan Maxima - Brake Pads Replacement (Front, Rear) - San Diego, California
Arturo was prompt and completed my brake repair, including new rotors in a very efficient manner. I am very pleased with the quality of the work and the parts and will definitely look to have him service our other car in the near future.

Scott

32 years of experience
345 reviews
Scott
32 years of experience
Lexus IS250 - Brake Pads Replacement (Rear) - Denver, Colorado
Always on time, speedy, professional, and pleasant to interact with. The work is always consistent and we'll done. I can't reccomend Scott highly enough!

Michael

10 years of experience
15 reviews
Michael
10 years of experience
Nissan Sentra - Brake Pads Replacement (Front) - Conyers, Georgia
He was promptly on time and got the job done efficiently in a timely manner. I really appreciate the rapid respone on getting the job done! I would most definitely use this service again.

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