The Guide to Legal Car Modifications in Tennessee

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Tennessee has a variety of laws and regulations in place that cover modified vehicles. If you live in the state or will soon move there, you need to be sure that your modified car or truck is considered street legal when driving on the roadways throughout the state.

Sounds and noise

Tennessee has laws in place that limit the noise levels that you your vehicle can make. Failing to follow these rules can result in a misdemeanor charge and a $50 fine for each offense.

Sound systems

  • Listening to your sound systems at high enough volumes to disturb the peace or cause irritation or affect the comfort and repose of reasonable people in the area is considered unlawful.

  • Sound systems cannot be audible from 50 feet away when on public streets or 50 feet beyond the property line on private property.

  • It is unlawful to produce sound that is audible at 100 feet between 10 PM and 7 AM Sunday through Thursday and 11 PM and 7 AM on Fridays and Saturdays. In residential areas, the distance is lessened to the adjacent property line.

Mufflers

  • Mufflers are required on all vehicles and have to prevent unusual or excessive noise.
  • Mufflers cannot be modified to produce loud or explosive noises.

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

Frame and suspension

Tennessee also has limits in place regarding the suspension and height of modified vehicles.

  • Vehicles can be no taller than 13 feet 6 inches.

  • Front lift blocks are not permitted.

  • 4x4 vehicle bumpers have a maximum height of 31 inches and a minimum height of 14 inches.

  • Passenger vehicles have a maximum bumper height of 22 inches (no minimum is defined).

Tennessee also limits vehicle frame height based on Gross Vehicle Weight Ratings (GVWR).

  • Cars and SUVs – 22 inch maximum frame height
  • Less than 4,501 GVWR – 24 inch maximum frame height
  • 4,501-7,500 GVWR – 26 inch maximum frame height
  • 7,501-10,000 GVWR – 28 inch maximum frame height

Engine

Tennessee does not have regulations on engine swaps and modifications. Emissions testing is required in several counties. Visit the Department of Environment & Conservation website for information on station locations and schedules.

Lighting and windows

Lights

  • Passenger vehicles cannot display a combination of red, blue, and white lights.

  • Red or blue lights, including those that are “tinted” are not permitted on vehicles other than those used by law enforcement.

  • Two auxiliary lamps are permitted.

  • Non-emergency vehicles are not permitted to have flashing lights other than those installed at the factory.

Window tinting

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

  • Mirrored and metallic/reflective tints are not permitted.

  • Front side, back side, and rear windows must allow over 35% of light to pass through.

  • Sticker identifying legal tint levels is required on the driver side window between the glass and film.

Antique/classic car modifications

Tennessee offers antique vehicle plates that have the following requirements:

  • Vehicle must be over 25 years old.

  • Vehicle can only be used for daily or general driving on Saturday and Sunday.

  • Driving to exhibition, club activities, tours, parades, displays, and travel for repairs or refueling are permitted.

If you want to make sure your vehicle complies with Tennessee 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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Jose

8 years of experience
33 reviews
Jose
8 years of experience
BMW 325i - Brake Pads Replacement (Front) - Redwood City, California
I had a few mechanics from YM and _all_ of them arrived late (some even 2 hours late) , but not Jose! He arrived right on time! I gave him the keys and let him do his job. I am a curious person so I asked him a few questions about his techniques and he had no problem answering them all with detailed explanations! He did run into a problem on my car because of stripped bolts, but he literally went above and beyond and found a way to remove it. Best mechanic ever.
Lexus CT200h - Brake Pads Replacement (Front) - South San Francisco, California
Jose was on time and did a great job on my brakes. He was friendly and explained the entire process. Would highly recommend.

Augustine

11 years of experience
35 reviews
Augustine
11 years of experience
Chevrolet Equinox - Brake Pads Replacement (Front) - Rio Rancho, New Mexico
Augustine was amazing. He was the perfect example of customer service all around. While he was working, I was recommending him to my neighbors. Next time I need work, I will be requesting Augustine specifically!!!!! Please give him a raise or bonus!!!
Toyota Corolla - Brake Pads Replacement (Front) - Albuquerque, New Mexico
Mr. Sanchez showed up on time and finished replacing my rotors and break pads. He was very informative and treats your car like his own. He was very time efficient and communicated very well. I highly recommend Mr. Sanchez’s services!!!!

John

26 years of experience
552 reviews
John
26 years of experience
GMC Yukon XL 1500 - Brake Pads Replacement (Rear) - League City, Texas
I am so happy John is back. I trust him very much. He is efficient and has a tremendous amount of mechanical knowledge. He is a true asset to Your Mechanic.
Ford F-150 - Brake Pads Replacement (Front, Rear) - Alvin, Texas
I like John because he is very knowledgeable about all my vehicles. In addition he is very organized regarding how he performs his work.

Wesley

8 years of experience
45 reviews
Wesley
8 years of experience
Dodge Nitro - Brake Pads Replacement (Front) - Peoria, Arizona
Great experience. Very professional, friendly, and knowledgeable. Highly recommended and will continue to use for future work.

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