Most people don’t fancy having things that look exactly like everyone else’s. And celebrities take this concept to the extreme with their customized vehicles, homes, and parties. For most car enthusiasts, the idea of owning, and keep a car stock from the manufacturer also doesn’t fly. For starters, it gives them a hard time trying to locate their vehicle in a parking lot, its also no fun, and boring.
Fortunately, there’s a booming world of car customization and modification —thanks to MTV’s Pimp my Ride. Car owners can customize their vehicle's color, height, sound, and even performance. There’s, however, a thin line between customization and breaking the law. Here are ten aftermarket mods that you dint know was illegal.
10 High Lifts
Let’s face it, lifting your pickup looks cool. However, before you lift your vehicle, make sure you have checked with your local authorities and state lift laws. In most states like Florida or Ohio, having your vehicle raised more than 22inches is a violation, and could get you a ticket.
In other states, the legal requirement is determined by what’s added to the factory height. For instance, in the state of Indiana, vehicle owners are not allowed to raise their bumpers more than three inches. If you need a step ladder to hop into your pickup truck, you are in violation since your vehicle has exceeded the legal requirement.
9 Window Tint
If you are a new car owner, some of the first upgrades you’d want would be a window tint. However, you need to be careful about upgrading your tint. There are laws limiting or banning tint jobs in almost all states in the U.S. For instance, in the State of Illinois, the law prohibits drivers from installing any side or front tint unless you have a documented health condition or vision impairment.
Other states only allow a section of your windshield or permit a certain degree of tint to protect drivers from sun glare. You’ll need to be pretty accurate installing your tint since local cops in such states have gadgets to measure how much penetrates your vehicle.
8 Automatic License Plate Covers
It goes without saying that these are illegal. It is against the law to cover your vehicle registration details or license plate in whatever way. You’ll receive a ticket from your local cops, even if one digit or letter gets covered by your custom plate frame.
If you are arrogant enough to install an electrical device that covers your plates with a flick of a switch, you could probably get a visit to the Sherriff’s department to have your record checked. It doesn’t matter if your plates look fancier and more appealing, if it makes it hard to read your vehicle’s registration, it’s an offense. Don’t get caught!
7 Upgraded Sound System
At one point, having your speakers thump heavy bass in your trunk was a thing – Thanks to MTV’s Pimp my Ride. However, more and more states have passed laws that limit how much vehicle owners can wreck other’s eardrums flaunting their expensive taste in in-car audio systems. Your local police could ticket you based on how high your music is preset or how far you bass thunders.
In 2012, the Supreme Court of Florida struck down the famous stereo law. However, local cops could still give you a ticket in case the county laws permit them. If you enjoy blasting music in your ride, invest in soundproofing too.
6 Low riders
If you were old enough to enjoy music in the 90s, you must have caught the low rider craze, its very retro nowadays, and people could make fun of you. Just like high vehicle lifts, there are laws against lowering your vehicle’s bumper or suspension more than two inches below the factory designated point.
If you follower of "stance mods," you probably fancy having your vehicle lowered to the ground, in Maryland, that could get you in trouble with the local authorities. If you live in Arizona or California, on the other hand, you could have your vehicle scratching the pavement, and the only thing you’ll get from your local cops in a blank stare.
5 Radar Detectors
You probably don’t know this, but Virginia is the only state in America that prohibits the use of radar detectors in passenger vehicles. Unfortunately, you can’t use them in DC either. It's certainly illegal if you install this device in a commercial vehicle such as trucks.
If you have it mounted on top of the dash, your local cops could give you a ticket citing obstruction of the driver. To be on the safe side, check with your local laws on where to place your radar detectors in case you are looking to have one installed in your vehicle.
4 Laser Jammers
Having fun on the highways is exhilarating, pushing your vehicle to its limits is even more fun, especially if you live in the city and are used to stop and go traffic. On the highways, traffic cops use laser guns when tracking speeds of highway users. In most states, half the tickets issued are from drivers overspeeding. If you’ve been ticketed more than a dozen times for speeding, you might be tempted to get a laser jammer.
These devices go for about $600 on eBay and work by deflecting signals sent from police laser guns. If you are in Minnesota, Texas, or California, you could get into a lot of trouble with your local cops since they are illegal.
3 Loud Exhaust Mods
If you love sports cars, you might be tempted to get an exhaust mod on your base model vehicle. Let’s face it, it sounds pretty cool when your vehicle rumbles, and for some, it feels like your car is rolling faster. Well, whether you are looking to add a bit of horsepower or you are just looking to make your vehicle cooler, make sure you don’t disable or alter your emission levels, or you could be breaking the law.
Its highly unlikely your vehicle will pass inspection with such tweaks. Any upgrades on your radio or engine could potentially draw the attention of your local cops —you don't want that.
2 Neon Lights
The good old nineties, with all its obscenities and absurdity, trying to relive those years could get you in trouble, a good example is with neon lights. Lighting your undercarriage might be illegal in your state; if you plan on having the “Fast and Furious” type of mods on your new car, make sure you check-up with your local authorities first.
Also, most states detest having normal vehicles fitted with lights that would confuse a normal car with a cop car. Setting up blue and red lights is a definite no-no. Several states also barn the use of hazard lights, and installing underbody light could fall under that category.
1 LED Light Bars and Spot Lights
Having LED bars and spotlights could come pretty handy when driving off-road, but in the city, it’s a nuisance, and illegal unless, of course, you have them covered. Having these lights on in city streets or highways could reflect off oncoming headlights impairing the vision of other drivers.
There’s a possibility of using them accidentally when you forget to cover them, and that could still get you into problems with the Sheriff’s department. Other road users will have a difficult time looking ahead with your LED bars glaring at them. Having these installed in your vehicle will have your local cops pulling you over for a ticket.