Mods & Laws

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I have a naive question: what does the law says about car mods? What is legal and what's not?

posted by  The Frenchman

That would vary from State to State (or even country to country) but in general the law specifies what is street legal and what isn't and doesn't approach it from the perspective of whether it's a mod or not. So your question would need to be more specificl. Like "If I do mod 'X' would this be illegal?".

posted by  HighWayMan

Actually, I was just wondering what is legal or not. And where can I find these informations? I had a look in the road code of California, and found nothing really relevant. Is there any publication that list all this?

posted by  The Frenchman

Drivers Ed books offer some information, but not a whole lot. Its pretty much just what would pass inspection. Try searching google for a list of requirements to pass state inspection laws.

posted by  GhettoTaurus

Well pick an area, there are some things you can do that would be just plain stupid if you read the local bylaws. For example over here in the uk any council can put a sleeping policeman in upto 150mm high. so yeah you can have a long wheel base car which is lowered to 80mm but you wont be able to drive alot of places.

I think you need to give us an area of what you want to do, for example

window tinting
tunning and emisions
body kits




posted by  cinqyg

I was thinking about tuning a car for autocrossing, so, it involves a bit of everything (engine, exhaust, transmission, suspension, brakes...), but not the visual aspect of the car.

posted by  The Frenchman

Well, the laws change from state to state (i live in Texas, and i think its one of the more stringent states), but if i remember correctly, the engine: as long as it passes emissions, and has no visible liquid leaks, your probably fine. Exhaust, once again, as long as it passes Emissions, and you actually have a muffler, then it will probably be fine. I don't know of any laws regarding the transmission, as long as it works lol. The suspension and brakes have to be able to stop the car reasonably (but I assume your upgrading them, so that shouldn't be a problem) and there is a limit to how low your car can ride, but I can't remember exactly what it is.... I think 2 inches maybe? That one probably changes state to state. And, if your not doing much to affect the visual appearance, chances are no cops are going to pull you over anyways. The biggest deal would be passing state inspection, in which case you may have to un-modify some of the mods if needed. Sounds pretty good to me. Mostly Legit stuff.

Good Luck!

posted by  GhettoTaurus

In terms of exhaust there probily a dB restriction but its probibly in the planning rules rather than the vehicle ones.

posted by  cinqyg

Yeah er umm.. Passing Emmisions for exhaust will probably be the only thing you'd have to deal with. Cat convertor and a Muffler for noise pollution. I have no idea about a state inspection I've never had one of those, only emissions. If you want to autocross you can always get a down straight pipe and bolt the cat back up when you got emissions.

So long as some cops are'nt being really bitchy to you and pull you over and notice you have a modified car and wanna pull out the ruler and guidebook. They do that to us over here in Chicago. The cops will pull over a group of import guyz gathering in a parkinglot(negotiating for races). They'll pull you to the side have you line up pop your hoods and turn your car off and wait inside while they slap numerous ammounts of tickets on you for the dumbest things. Low bumper,cold air intake without a sticker that says its street legal, tall spoilers, neon lights, indash dvd screens, no fog lights, almost ALWAYS they will get you for your tints, license plates. Some guys have told me they even got tickets for Nitrous systems and a modified fuel rail. I'm not sure they will sometimes give us bogus tickets or impound our cars for playing "loud" music at bonds of like $600+.

If you're gonna mod your car I suggest you keep it as visualy stock as possible because cops(especially in areas with alot of street racing) like to target guys with modified cars and harass them. Then they will find enough stuff on you to give you a $300 ticket, and you gotta go to court for that crap..

posted by  DSMer

Yeah exactly, i know for sure there is a law on cars off the production line. In '98 the government made Chevy shrink the pipes in the Camaro SS because they were too loud. But then the owners just bought bigger pipes after they bought the car.... lol.

Around where i live theres a hell of a lot of loud rice-burner cars that im sure technically exceed dB limitations for exhaust, but none of the cops around here pull them over.

posted by  GhettoTaurus

No, those "rice-burners" you speak of are under noise pollution levels... they just make a loud pitched buzzing, but a majority of them are under the limit. What is'nt are those loud Domestics and Trucks..

posted by  DSMer

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