neon underglow

Check out 10 Illegal Car Modifications Banned In Some States

Read the Law Before Modifying Your Car

Updated May 28, 2018

Think before you modify. Not only about what you want to do with your car, but what you are allowed to do. Car modification can be a whole lot of fun, but a whole lot of illegal as well. Depending in which state you tend to drive of course.

I compiled a list of illegal car modifications banned in some states. With ten entries you may find that making a modded car does not have to be all cool and dandy, but dangerous and illegal as well.

Some states do not allow dark window tints, others high-lifts and neon lights, while some does not even allow exhaust mods. Read the list before you start fiddling with your car.

off-road lights



Toyota Tundra

Law on high-lifts is different from state to state. However, one thing is for sure, they exist and they precisely shape the aftermarket industry. For example, state of Florida and Ohio wouldn’t allow anything more than 22-inch lift for sedans or 26-inch lift for trucks. On the other hand, some states do not allow you to raise the bumper by more than a few inches. All this for safety reasons, of course.


Dark window tints

dark window tint

Tinted windows are cool. That is a fact. But they are usually illegal as well. What is more, police officers in some states carry a special tool for measuring how much light passes through the windows to see whether owners are breaking the law. It is that serious. Every state has some law about dark window tint. For example, Illinois prohibits side and front window tint except when the driver has some kind of medical condition which requires tinted windows.


Automatic license plate covers

automatic licence plate cover

You want to be a secret agent and install an automatic license plate cover? You know, to place it over plates when doing something illegal – like driving really fast. Installing automatic license plate covers can actually get you arrested. Despite all the risk, some companies sell the kits online making it rather easy to install and use the system. Don’t do it though. Do not even partially cover the license plates or a ticket will be coming your way.


Extremely loud car stereo system

car audio system

Don’t be this guy. Just don’t. Obviously, even the law prohibits it. While extremely loud car stereo systems just aren’t as popular as they once were, some states had to pass a law limiting the maximum decibel levels car stereo systems can produce. Cops are known to ticket drivers who overdo it. Most problems originated in local municipalities whose residents couldn’t stand booming systems. Fair enough.


Car lowering

low riding cars

Stanced cars are all the rage right now, we give you that. With airlift suspension systems, drivers can easily lower or raise their cars at a touch of a button. However, some states do have rigorous laws on car lowering. One cannot lower a vehicle more than 2 inches compared with the stock setting in Georgia. On the other hand, California and Arizona actually do not have any regulation regarding the issue. Lowered cars are a common sight there.


Radar detectors illegal for commercial vehicles

radar detector

While radar detectors are common in passenger cars in every state (except Virginia where they are illegal to have), installing one in a commercial vehicle is a felony. Everywhere.

However, before installing a radar detector in your passenger car, first learn about local laws so you don’t place the detector where it obstructs vision.


Laser Jammers

laser jammer

California, Texas, and Minnesota outlawed the use of laser jammers. These $600-ish devices can apparently mess up laser guns used for measuring speeds of highway vehicles. Obviously, laser jammers are used by individuals who really do drive a lot and need to get there fast. Some of them are actually quite successful in laser gun jamming business.


Exhaust mods

exhaust mod

It is OK to have an exhaust mod which improves the exhaust sound or even ups the power a tad. However, many of the exhaust mods alter emission levels. Of course, in the world of today, where “green” is the way to go, higher emissions will make it impossible for a car to pass the inspection. On the other hand, if you go for an overkill in the exhaust sound department you should prepare to pay some fines too.


Neon Lights

neon underglow

Neon lights popularized in the Nineties and by early Fast and Furious movies most certainly fall under the kitsch category. However, some people like neon lights to this day. Some states, local municipalities, and cities did, in fact, outlaw neon lights – especially blue and red ones. The reason is a simple one – governing bodies do not want people to mix up police car lights with lights on cars with neon lights.


Off-Road Lights

off-road lights

While you can have off-road roof lights installed on a car you drive on the streets or on the highway, you have to have them covered. See, they can reflect lights from oncoming vehicles thus blinding the drivers. If turned off off-road lights can cause problems, actually using off-road lights on the highway is definitely something you do not want to do. Cover your row of lights.




Safet Satara
About Safet Satara

I do not have spare time. All there is is car time. 12 years and counting. I am a Central European gearhead, but you are probably thinking - aaa a disposable Borg drone! Well, actually, I like to dress up like James Bond too. The only thing I need to be him is an Aston Martin (and I love DBS more than DB5 because, reasons). That's something I guess.

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