The Guide to Legal Car Modifications in Ohio

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Whether you live in Ohio or plan to move to the state, you need to know the laws concerning vehicle modification. The following information will help you keep your car street legal when driving on Ohio roads.

Sounds and noise

Ohio has laws and ordinances in place to control the sound levels that are permissible for vehicles.

Sound systems

The regulations for sound systems in vehicles is only that the sound emitting from them cannot be sustained at a volume that causes noise levels that are annoying to others or make conversation or sleep difficult.

Mufflers

  • Mufflers are required on all vehicles and must prevent unusual or excessive noise.
  • Muffler bypasses, cutouts and amplifying devices are not permitted on highways.
  • Passenger cars cannot exceed 70 decibels when traveling at 35 MPH or less.
  • Passenger cars cannot exceed 79 decibels when traveling more than 35 MPH.

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

Frame and suspension

  • Vehicle must be no more than 13 feet 6 inches in height.

  • There are no suspension lift or frame lift laws. However, vehicles do have bumper height limits based on Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR).

  • Cars and SUVs – Maximum front and rear bumper height is 22 inches.

  • 4,500 GVWR and under – Maximum front bumper height is 24 inches, rear is 26 inches.

  • 4,501-7,500 GVWR – Maximum front bumper height is 27 inches, rear is 29 inches.

  • 7,501-10,000 GVWR – Maximum front bumper height is 28 inches, rear is 31 inches.

Engine

Ohio does not have engine modification or swap regulations. However, the following counties require emissions testing:

  • Cuyahoga
  • Geauga
  • Lake
  • Lorain
  • Medina
  • Portage
  • Summit

Lighting and windows

Lights

  • Headlamps must emit white light.
  • Spot lamp is permitted when emitting white light.
  • Fog lamp must emit yellow, light amber or white light.

Window tinting

  • Windshield tint must allow 70% of light through.
  • Front side windows must allow over 50% of light through.
  • Back side and rear window can have any tint darkness.
  • Reflective tint cannot reflect more than a regular, untinted window.
  • Sticker signifying legal tint limits must be between glass and film on all tinted windows.

Antique/classic car modifications

Ohio offers historic plates for vehicles 25 or more years old. The plates allow driving to exhibitions, parades, club activities, and for repairs only – daily general driving is not permitted.

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