Don’t Get Pulled Over: 21 Car Mods That Are Totally Illegal

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Car modifications can enhance style and performance, but not all modifications are legal. Here are 21 illegal car modifications that can get you in trouble with the law across various states.

1. Dark Window Tinting

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Image Credit: Shutterstock / Parilov

Excessively dark window tints that restrict visibility are illegal in many states due to safety concerns.

2. Loud Exhaust Systems

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Image Credit: Shutterstock / macondo

Modifications that significantly increase noise, like certain aftermarket exhaust systems, can violate noise ordinance laws.

3. Emission System Removal

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Image Credit: Shutterstock / NDAB Creativity

Removing or tampering with the emissions control system of a car is illegal under federal law, including the catalytic converter.

4. Neon Underglow Lights

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Image Credit: Shutterstock / OATZ To Go FACTORY

While not universally illegal, many states have restrictions on the type and color of underglow lighting due to distraction and impersonation of law enforcement vehicles.

5. Radar Detectors (in certain states)

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Image Credit: Shutterstock / Vilgun

In some states, including Virginia and Washington D.C., using radar detectors is illegal.

6. License Plate Covers

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Image Credit: Shutterstock / Cory Woodruff

Smoked or tinted license plate covers that obscure the visibility of the plate numbers are illegal in many states.

7. Off-road LED Light Bars

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Image Credit: Shutterstock / Rose Marinelli

Using off-road LED light bars on public roads can be illegal as they can blind other drivers due to their brightness and angle.

8. Super Dark Window Tinting on Windshield

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Image Credit: Shutterstock / Africa Studio

Most states have specific regulations on how much of the windshield can be tinted and how dark the tint can be.

9. Nitrous Oxide

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Image Credit: Shutterstock / socrates471

While having a nitrous oxide system isn’t necessarily illegal, using it on public roads is against the law in many places.

10. Certain Spoilers and Body Kits

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Image Credit: Shutterstock / Nejron Photo

Spoilers and body kits that could be deemed unsafe—either due to their dimensions or material quality—might not be street legal.

11. Raised or Lowered Suspensions

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Image Credit: Shutterstock / alexfan32

Extremely altered vehicle heights, either too low or too high, can be illegal due to safety concerns with visibility and stability.

12. Loud Stereo Systems

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Image Credit: Shutterstock / photostar72

Sound systems that can be heard from a certain distance may violate local noise ordinances, making them illegal.

13. Dangling Ornaments

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Image Credit: Shutterstock / Josu Ozkaritz

Objects hanging from the rear-view mirror that obstruct the driver’s view can be considered illegal in some states.

14. Unauthorized Police Lights

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Image Credit: Shutterstock / Daniel Tadevosyan

The use of police-style strobe lights is illegal for non-law enforcement personnel in almost every state.

15. Fake Airbag Covers

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Image Credit: Shutterstock / Pakphoto

Replacing functional airbag panels with fake covers is illegal and extremely dangerous.

16. Wheel Spacers

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Image Credit: Shutterstock / Vladimir Razgulyaev

Using wheel spacers to push the wheels out further from the car can be illegal if they compromise the vehicle’s safety.

17. Illegal Tire Modifications

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Image Credit: Shutterstock / Engin Sezer

Certain modifications that affect tire tread depth and pattern can render tires illegal on public roadways.

18. Non-Compliant Bumpers

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Image Credit: Shutterstock / Dhammarat Nunart

Bumpers that do not meet federal safety standards can be illegal, particularly if they are too high or too low.

19. Blue Headlights

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Image Credit: Shutterstock / Oleksiy Mark

Headlights that emit a blue light similar to emergency vehicles are typically illegal due to the potential confusion they cause.

20. Racing Harnesses

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Image Credit: Shutterstock / DimaCool

Replacing standard seatbelts with racing harnesses in a daily driver can be illegal if they don’t meet safety standards for on-road use.

21. Cut Springs

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Image Credit: Shutterstock / cottonbro studio

Cutting springs to lower a vehicle is not only unsafe but also illegal, as it can affect the vehicle’s handling and stability.

Double Check 

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Image Credit: Shutterstock / Nomad_Soul

Before you make modifications to your vehicle, it’s crucial to check the specific laws in your state or municipality to ensure that you are in compliance. Illegal modifications can lead to fines, vehicle impoundment, and even legal trouble, not to mention potential safety hazards.

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The post Don’t Get Pulled Over: 21 Car Mods That Are Totally Illegal republished on Passing Thru with permission from The Green Voyage.

Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock /  Gorodenkoff.

For transparency, this content was partly developed with AI assistance and carefully curated by an experienced editor to be informative and ensure accuracy.

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