Driving a modified car increases your risk for collision accidents by 27%. Installing aftermarket parts may affect the safety of your passengers and everyone you share the road with.
It’s the reason laws exist to address car modifications. After all, some might be harmless but others can be especially dangerous.
Learn what you can or can’t do by knowing illegal car modifications in your area. Continue reading for a handy list of illegal car modifications to look out for.
1. Loud Exhaust
Your exhaust system’s noises don’t correlate with its efficiency. It can be in its top performance without creating a ton of noise. As such, you have no real reason to make it obscenely loud.
A loud exhaust only annoys your neighbors and attracts cops. The louder it is, the more likely you’ll get a fine.
Check your local regulations for the acceptable noise levels for exhaust systems. In general, they can produce up to 99 decibels. Going beyond that is illegal.
The actual maximum limit might be lower, making it important to check your local car modification laws first. For example, a light vehicle in California can only go as high as 95 decibels.
2. Light Bars
Lightbars have extreme brightness, making them useful in some cases and dangerous in others. They’re helpful when driving on off-road trails, where the only usual source of light is the moon. It ensures you won’t accidentally bump into wildlife like deers or stray dogs.
They’re more powerful than OEM lighting systems. They can illuminate obstacles earlier than your car’s built-in driving lights.
It’s the reason they’re illegal on public roads. They can blind oncoming drivers, creating dangerous situations. A lot of head-on collisions happen because strong lights momentarily blind drivers.
You can still install them, but you must put a cover whenever they aren’t in use. It prevents cops from flagging you down even if you accidentally turn them on.
3. Automatic License Plate Cover
An automatic license plate cover hides your license plate at the flick of a switch. It’s also called a stealth plate, which works like a curtain.
It’s a popular car modification, but for obvious reasons, it’s illegal. Many drivers use it to beat speed cameras and other surveillance systems.
Many cities in the United States use cameras to catch drivers violating traffic laws. With stealth plates, drivers can avoid identification. It also means avoiding fines and jail time.
Unlike some modifications, a plate cover serves no useful purpose other than to evade the law. For reference, even cosmetic changes like putting a non-obstructing frame around your license plate are usually illegal. Avoid it since you have no defense when you get caught.
4. Studded Tires
Studded tires are not always illegal. Certain times of the year allow you to use them. However, it’s only applicable in about 33 states.
Why is the restriction seasonal? Because its usefulness is seasonal as well.
Studs give the tires a better grip on the road when it’s snowing or raining. States only allow them during winter or when it’s raining. Studded tires can damage the road, making them illegal at other times.
In general, states allow studded tires from October or November until March or April. In some states, you can use them when there’s snow or ice regardless of the time of the year. Other states prohibit it outright, so check your local regulations.
5. Slick Tires
Speaking of friction, some people go the other way and install slick tires. These are tires with no grooves or threads, resulting in a smooth surface.
They’re also called track or race tires because they’re for competitive surfaces. They offer a high amount of grip on dry asphalt, making them important for racing.
However, they’re not legal on public roads. They’re useless in wet situations, which can cause accidents. If you want legal mods for your car wheels, check out this list from Savini Wheels.
6. Colored LED Headlights
Colored LED bulbs are plenty on the market, but are they legal? The answer is more complex than a simple yes or no.
You can install them on your car and use them in private properties or off the road. However, you can’t use them on public roads. The same goes for brake lights, turn signals, and tail lights.
The biggest issue is visibility. Colors other than white or yellow are less visible in the dark and in foggy conditions. You can’t see well on a dark road while other drivers can’t as well.
Colorful LED headlights can also be distracting to others. When driving on public roads, switch to white or yellow lights to avoid getting a ticket. Blue light is okay in many cases since it’s white light with a bluer appearance to the human eyes.
7. Dark Tint
Window tints help avoid the paparazzi and the extreme heat of the sun. However, they may not be legal where you drive. It’s especially when the tint is too dark.
Dark tints can be a safety hazard as they lessen the driver’s visibility. It’s dangerous when it’s raining or in other conditions where visibility is already low.
Some states have strict laws against it, often having a limit on how much tinting you can apply. In others, you can get away with a warning. Check the laws of your state and where you’re traveling to if you plan to install tints on your car.
Learn Other Illegal Car Modifications Now
The biggest problem with illegal car engine modifications is the way they affect safety. Regardless, more illegal car modifications exist beyond the ones mentioned above.
A good rule of thumb is to check with the state laws to determine legal car modifications. It saves money since you won’t have to pay fines and remove them afterward.
Are you looking for more helpful guides? Read our other posts and expand your knowledge today.