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Car Modifications That Will Get You Pulled Over

By George Khoury, Esq. | Last updated on

If you're willing to violate your warranty and the law in order to install that aftermarket mod to make your cars go faster and look furious-er, just be ready to get pulled over for those awesome mods.

Certain performance modifications are completely legal, such as adding a spoiler, high performance suspension, ultra-light wheels, and even some performance engine components. However, sometimes seemingly minor car modifications are not only illegal, but will get you pulled over by the police.

Full Tint: 100 Percent Suspicious

Window tint laws vary from state to state. In most states, fully tinted windows are only allowed for the rear seats and rear window. The front side windows are allowed a percentage of tint (usually between 40-70 percent), while the windshield must remain tint-free except for the top 4 to 6 inches.

Having fully tinted windows can get you pulled over as officers can easily spot violations and will want to see what's behind the tint.

High Intensity Discharge (HID) Headlights and Aftermarket Lightning

While HIDs may seem safer, HIDs are actually illegal. The light emitted from HIDs frequently causes other motorist to experience glare, which can be very dangerous for nighttime driving.

Other aftermarket lighting, like neon ground effects, clear tail lenses, and decorative LEDs, can be illegal depending on your state. Before changing a vehicle's standard lighting, confirm the new lights are legal.

At nighttime, non-standard lighting is easy to spot for officers and can lead to getting pulled over.

License Plate Accessories

Another excuse an officer can use to pull someone over is an obstructed license plate. When a license plate cover, or frame, obstructs the plate's number, an officer can pull you over even if your "other car is a horse." If you are pulled over, it is unlikely to result, in California at least, in anything more than a fix-it ticket.

Power for the People

Engine modifications can be illegal depending on your state. California, for instance, has strict regulations due to strict emissions standards. As a result, manufacturers of power modifications specifically state whether modifications are "CARB legal" (California Air Resources Board).

While an officer can cite you for an illegal engine modification, getting pulled over for one is unlikely. Officers cannot tell if vehicles have illegally modified engines based on the exterior. Unless flames are shooting out of your tailpipe, finding a reason to search under the hood is difficult.

Thankfully, most jurisdictions allow illegal modifications to be cured without fines via 'fix-it' tickets. A fix-it ticket provides a vehicle owner an opportunity to bring their vehicle into compliance in exchange for a dismissal of the ticket and waiver of the fine.

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