Since the early 20th century, when the mass production of cars started, the aftermarket industry has flourished. These days, car enthusiasts are found doing one modification after another to improve the looks or performance of their cars. Thus, more aftermarket companies have risen today to create many of these aftermarket parts in the market. As a matter of fact, the aftermarket has taken a large piece of the pie in the car industry, having been estimated to be worth about $136 billion as of 2017.
When a person buys a gadget or device – something like a smartphone, one of the first things he or she does is personalize it. Thus, they get things like a smartphone case, stickers, or even theme apps – something that reflects their style, or better still, reflects their personality.
All these modifications give a feeling of ownership – maybe because some people just want to feel like a manufacturer sometimes.
It’s the same thing when we get a new car. We tend to make the car more personalized. Thus, we find ourselves adding new aftermarket parts to change the car looks to our taste, improve the car’s engine system, change the car’s exhaust system or better still improve the car’s infotainment system.
However, one thing is for sure, not all car mods are legal. Some have been banned by the state’s law where we reside, while some are allowed even though they seem to be illegal. Thus, we decided to list out 20 car mods that seem illegal but are actually legal. Hang in here, and you’ll be surprised with what you’ll see.
20 Installing A Roll Cage in A Regular Car
No doubt, it’s absolutely weird to see a roll cage installed in a regular everyday car. Basically, you find a roll cage in racing vehicles – for obvious safety reasons. A roll cage is basically a physical fortification of a car’s cabin that secures the driver from any sort of crash. It also keeps the car body from crumbling in cases of crashes or roll-overs.
It’s absolutely meaningless to have it installed in an everyday regular car.
Even though you want to have the feeling of a street racer probably because your car is super-fast, it won’t matter at all. You’d never be able to drive as fast as you want, like the guys on a race track – unless you want to grab a speeding ticket from the cops.
Thus, it’s wise to avoid this mod even if it’s legal, as it will totally erase your comfort and make driving difficult for you.
19 Engine Sound Simulators
From the sound of this mod, you can tell that it’s ridiculous. The engine sound simulator is a device you place on your car’s stereo. This device plays engine sounds through your speakers. Regardless of the kind of engine your car uses, all you’d hear would be a loud performance machine.
The annoying part of this legal mod is the fact that all this noise happens inside your car even though it can imitate the sound of a V12 or V8 engine. You can choose to use this mod for giggles, but your chuckling may be short-lived since the device has sound lags.
18 Ripping Off The Roof
Why would anyone buy a sedan, only to turn it into a convertible? It’s like going to a clothing boutique to buy a set of pants, and then you get a pair of scissors to cut the pants into shorts. That sounds ridiculous, right?
Well, it's the same thing with this mod.
Turning your closed-roof car to an open roof is certainly a cheap and ridiculous way to get a convertible car. Apparently, this mod will ruin your car’s structural rigidity. It may not be illegal to destroy your car, but, it’s surely taking the whole car mod excitement too far.
17 Installing Lamborghini Doors
In the early 2000s during the whole Lamborghini craze, the Lamborghini-style scissor doors became popular, as some aftermarket companies decided to sell the doors for people that wanted to have a Lamborghini door mimic. When the demand for these doors increased, aftermarket companies decided to sell the complete DIY kits to people who wanted to modify their ordinary car doors to Lamborghini looking doors.
The Lamborghini-style doors craze increased, to the extent that JDM fans and car racers installed the DIY kit to replace the ordinary doors of their Mazdas and 4-cylinder Hondas. Soon after, Lamborghini stopped the Lambo style door concepts and began to use regular doors.
16 Tinting Your Rear Lights
Certainly, giving your car rear lights a “blackout” feel could be cool sometimes. In fact, it gives your car a sporty GTA look that will definitely cause many eyes on the street to stare during the day – especially when the sun is out.
However, all that attractiveness and “sporty feel” works better during the day.
At night, the mod goes from being “beautiful to deceitful,” as your car brake lights would be hardly seen by the car coming behind you. Surprisingly, this mod is not illegal in many states even though it could cause another car behind your car to crash into you – if done badly. It may be legal, but it’s definitely a risky mod.
15 Oversized Mufflers And Tailpipes
Some car freaks install extra-large mufflers and tailpipes in order to accentuate the performance aspect of their cars. This car mod is done by car owners who have little or no confidence in their cars. Thus, they try to put up with the whole oversized muffler and tailpipe appearance to make people believe they have a high-performance car.
However, the bad news is that this car mod has nothing to do with improving your car’s performance – even though it’s legal. Rather, it only makes your car produce loud and empty noises. As they say “an empty barrel makes the showiest noise.” That’s what this car mod is – an “empty barrel.”
14 Vinyl Wraps
A lot of people use vinyl wraps on their cars as the perfect mimic to real paint jobs. Thus, it has grown to be quite popular in the last 20 years. Also, they have unlimited colors and designs to pick from. In addition, they are quite sturdy.
In fact, you’d find some car enthusiasts wrap their car with vinyl wraps that represent famous fashion design brands, like Louis Vuitton, for example.
The best part of it is, you can use a vinyl wrap without getting scared of the cops pulling you over. All you need to do is take the necessary approvals needed in your state. However, you can ruin your car’s original paint job if the vinyl wrap is not installed properly.
13 Replacing Your Normal Tires With Oversized Tires
When you choose to add a bit of spice to your car, one of the mods that could do the trick is the tires. The reason for this is that the tires are the most changeable areas of your vehicle. For most people, performing a tire mod involves choosing the wheel’s style and hubcap that they would want.
Even though this mod is legal, there are consequences attached to it if you end up replacing your tires with oversized wheels. One of the consequences includes damaging your chassis. If this occurs, it becomes an expensive problem to fix.
12 Using Fake Carbon Fiber
No doubt, using carbon fiber on your car could be cool, plus, it’s most certainly a car mod of the future. However, it’s quite expensive, though sturdy and light. Thus, many sports and high-end cars make use of it.
For those two reasons, you hardly find regular everyday cars in the market using carbon fiber. That doesn’t mean that the carbon fiber doesn’t have a positive effect on regular cars.
As a matter of fact, it adds to its beauty, especially, when it’s used on a car’s bodywork panel.
So, in a quest to fulfill their average fantasies, some people go as far as installing fake carbon fiber to make their car looks expensive. It may be legal, but it looks tacky – thus fit to be banned altogether.
11 Car Bras
Unlike the female undergarment counterpart, car bras are car mods installed on the car’s exterior – especially, on the car’s bonnet. This car mod was first invented far back in the days when the paint jobs done on cars were much more delicate.
In those days, there were no paint coating chemicals that could protect your paint or even make it sturdier. Many car owners thus used car bras for protecting their paint – even though the whole mod looked quite ugly.
Thus, it’s funny to see some car owners still use it on their car’s bonnet, and considering the fact that modern-day paint jobs are coated, it only makes a car look ugly.
10 Fake Chrome Spinning Wheel
Between the late 90s and the early 2000s, shiny chrome spinning wheels were the general trend among many people. As a matter of fact, you’d hardly see a rap video then, without a big SUV displaying tires with huge, chrome, spinning wheels. Sooner or later, many people wanted to have them installed on their cars. Thus, the aftermarket industry took advantage of this opportunity and churned out various styles of these chrome spinning wheels.
Those who weren’t able to get the original chrome spinning wheels decided to settle for the cheap and fake ones-in form of plastic, which turned out to look quite messy.
However, times have changed and chrome wheels altogether do not pack an automotive "oomph" anymore. Thus, it fits that it should be banned for all goodness' sake.
9 Fake Bullet Hole Decals
No doubt, this accessory is one car mod that will definitely catch the attention of many eyes on the street and probably impress some of your friends that appreciate unique things. However, for the fact that this decal makes your car look like it was hit by a dozen bullets, why anyone would do such a thing is enough reason to puzzle anyone.
Surprisingly, this car mod will probably not land in the black books of the law. Rather, it will make people think that you’re one lucky chap who has just been lucky to escape fate– without the time to repair your car.
8 Hood Scoops And Bogus Vents In Regular Cars
When you talk about an engine cooling system, it’s almost impossible not to mention hood scoops and bogus vents. This is because they play a vital role in delivering fresh air to the intake manifold.
To avoid overheating in performance cars, the hood and vents help to release the excessive heat that’s generated.
The reason why some people feel that this mod is a great idea in their regular cars is that there are numerous hood scoops and vents in the market that are cheap and functionless but nonetheless look goofy. For you to install this mod, all you need to do is choose between your roof, fenders, or hood and glue them.
However, it’s important you know that it’s quite easy to recognize a fake scoop from a distance.
7 Neon Lights
One thing most aftermarket fans would admit is that the craze for some mods was ignited by the Fast and Furious movies in the early 2000s.
One of these mods is neon lights underneath cars. Just because it was new at that time, it seemed cool for some time, considering the fact that a green glow underneath a car running through the night was something that caught the attention of so many.
If you look at this mod carefully, you’d observe that it isn’t special in any way. It doesn’t even contribute to the stability or speed of a car. Instead, it resembles a glowing bulb on four wheels, which isn’t the goal in the first place.
6 Oversized Spoilers
Some cars come with spoilers because it helps to compress the car a bit to the ground by creating the necessary downforce.
The spoilers also contribute to the stability of cars at high speeds. However, it’s believed that for you to be more effective at producing downforce, you have to increase the surface of the spoiler.
This may be the reason why some people have oversized spoilers on their cars. The sad reality is that they don’t improve the handling or speed of their cars, especially when used on regular street cars that aren’t fast enough. Thus, using this mod would only do a good job of affecting your rear visibility, and creating too much drag that will exhaust your engine more than it needs to be.
5 HID Headlamps
If you drive at night often, then it’s possible you’ve come across cars that have bright blinding lights, which can be quite annoying. Well, most of that annoying light is the product of HID lights. Some people feel that this mod meets their needs when it comes to night driving because of their increased brightness compared to the softer headlights their cars came with.
The problem here is that this mod is open to the public, meaning anyone can choose to use this mod regardless of the kind of car they use. However, it’s totally not advisable for anyone to use this mod because aftermarket HID headlamps have a way of obstructing vision rather than improving it.
4 Suspension Height Adjustments
If you look at the suspension height adjustment mod from a legal view, there’s no penalty for using it. However, there’s caution attached to it, which is the fact that the tuners responsible for adjusting the suspension shouldn’t be too high off the ground.
The interesting thing about this mod is that it improves your car performance – especially when it comes to the handling.
For you to pull off this mod successfully, there are certain factors you have to take into consideration, like the weight of your vehicle and the part of the car that you want to modify – whether it’s the rear or front.
The height that is appropriate for this mod lies between 22 to 30 inches. If you go farther than this range, the law that ignored you initially may just come after you.
3 Nitrous Oxide
NOS or Nitrous Oxide as it’s called has numerous legitimate uses attached to it. This gas is popularly known as “laughing gas” because when inhaled, it has the ability to make people feel relaxed or euphoric. However, inhaling this gas excessively puts an individual at risk due to lack of oxygen that may occur in the process.
With that said, it’s obvious that you have to be cautious when using this mod. The best way to use this mod without any issues is to ensure that you drive around with the NOS tank hooked to your car – otherwise it must be unplugged and inoperative.
2 Digital Message Bars
Sometimes, people use mods like decals on their cars or bumper stickers just to extend their expressions to other drivers that care to pay attention. The digital message bars are not an exception because they are LED screens that have text crawling across it.
You can’t deny that some car owners are far more expressive than some. That’s why they choose to go for this mod that would give any kind of information that the driver feels like giving out at any point in time.
It’s quite easy to put out messages on the digital message bars as long as you have a mobile phone and you can choose to change the message as well through the same process.
1 Removing Your Front License Plate
Removing your front license place seems like an awkward mod to pull because you’re not sure it’s legal, right? Well, the truth is, this mod is not illegal. If you’ve been keen enough, you’d notice that some cars drive along the road without the front license plate.
An example of this kind of case is a new car owner who has decided to get a license plate, but he is delayed, so he goes on to drive without a front license plate. This doesn’t seem like a mod, right?
True, but the reason why it’s on this list is that taking your front license plate off seems like a very easy way to get the cops chasing on your tail.
Sources: trucktrend.com, hemmings.com, fullthrottle.com