The Guide to Legal Car Modifications in North Carolina

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North Carolina has a variety of laws in place that govern modified vehicles. If you live in the state or are planning on moving to it, you need to make sure your modified car or truck follows these regulations so that your vehicle is considered street legal when driving throughout the state.

Sounds and noise

North Carolina has regulations in place concerning sound systems and mufflers on vehicles.

Sound systems

Drivers are not permitted to disturb the peace with unusually loud or riotous sound. If others are disturbed by the loudness of your car’s radio, they can file a complaint. It is up to the officer’s and court’s discretion as to whether your sound system is too loud.

Mufflers

  • Mufflers are required on all vehicles and must dampen the engine noise in a reasonable manner. There are no stipulations as to how “reasonable manner” is defined by the law.

  • Muffler cutouts are not permitted

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

Frame and suspension

North Carolina has no regulations on vehicle lift, frame, and bumper heights. Vehicles must not be more than 12 feet 6 inches in height.

Engine

North Carolina requires emissions testing on vehicles manufactured in 1996 and after. Safety inspections are also required each year.

Lighting and windows

Lights

  • Red and blue lights, flashing or stationary, are only permitted on emergency vehicles or responders.

  • Two additional lights, such as spotlights or auxiliary lamps are permitted.

Window tinting

  • Non-reflective tint is permitted on the windshield above the AS-1 line provided by the manufacturer.

  • Front side, back side, and rear windows must allow over 25% of light through.

  • Side mirrors are required if back window is tinted.

  • Reflective tint on front side and back side windows cannot reflect more than 20%.

  • Red tint is not permitted.

Antique/classic car modifications

North Carolina requires custom-built, replica, and antique vehicles to be registered.

  • Custom-built and antique vehicles must have an inspection to certify they meet DOT safety standards and are equipped for road use.

  • Antique vehicles are those are a minimum of 25 years old.

  • Custom-built vehicles are those that have been completely assembled from used or new parts (year is listed as the year in which it was assembled).

  • Replica vehicles are those that are constructed from a kit.

If you want to make sure your vehicle modifications are legal in North Carolina, 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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