Do you know about most illegal car accessories? The regulations that govern what you can do to your car’s exhaust, engine, ride height, and even the darkness of its window tint varies from state to state and from country to country.
This is why the topic of cars vs. the law is one that frequently arises in the realm of modification and customization. However, some automotive modifications are downright unlawful no matter where you live on Earth, which begs the issue of why they are so easily accessible online.
Some of these (arguably) awful mods include stuff like tilted wheels on cars, or even the dreaded Carolina squat. Despite the fact that extensive modification is discouraged by this point, some modifications can get drivers into legal difficulties. Are you aware of which ones? Find out by reading what are the most illegal car accessories.
- What Is Modifying Car?
- Best Cars To Modify
- Interior Car Mods
- Illegal Car Mods
- Worst Car Mods
- Final Verdict
What Does Modifying A Car Mean
Before we go into unlawful modifications, it’s important to define what a vehicle modification is.
Simply put, a car modification is any alteration performed to a vehicle that does not conform to the original manufacturer’s specifications. Changes are commonly classified as either “cosmetic” or “performance-based,” with the former changing the vehicle’s look and its driving characteristics.
The exhaust, windows, lights, and sound systems of an automobile (be sure to check out our guide on cars with the best sound system as an inspiration for which brands to pick) are the most frequently modified since they are the most observable and on-display components of the vehicle.
Bodywork customization and window tinting are common aesthetic changes (to find out more, check out our explainer on how long does it take to tint windows), whereas increasing horsepower is a more performance-oriented change.
Best Cars To Modify
Some people view a car as nothing more than a tool, a way to get around without having to wait in line at the bus stop. Others see their car as an extension of who they are, a piece of metal that can be customized to become something much more unique. Here comes the role of auto modification.
Automobile manufacturers strive to produce a car that will appeal to a wide range of customers by investing millions of dollars and countless hours into perfecting their goods.
The best cars to modify, in our opinion, include:
- Toyota GT86/Subaru BRZ
- Nissan GT-R
- Toyota Supra
- Subaru WRX
- Honda S2000
- Mazda MX-5
- VW Golf GTI
- Audi TT
- BMW 3 Series
- Ford Fiesta ST
Interior Car Mods
Cool mods for cars let you express yourself while enhancing your vehicle’s interior design and functionality. Here are some awesome, simple, and cool mods for cars you can make on your own.
1. Shifter With A Short Throw
A short throw shifter kit reduces the distance between the shifter’s end and the fulcrum point, allowing it to react to your actions more quickly. Short-throw shifters are a terrific method to make shifting simple, but they can take a little longer to install in older automobiles.
Some of them are definitely among the coolest shift knobs that you can buy in the aftermarket.
2. Change Your Floor Mats
A quick interior modification for your car is to replace the floor mats. One of the best interior automobile modifications is changing your car’s floor mats, even if it might not seem like a top priority. It is an easy and cost-effective way to freshen up your car’s interior.
3. Vinyl Interior
One of the best things about vinyl is that it is simple to remove, making it an inexpensive and stylish method to upgrade your automobile’s interior. Your dashboard and steering wheel can both be given some lovely colors. It’s a wonderful method to experiment with different looks and patterns.
4. Steering Wheel Coverings
A steering wheel cover can add more color to your interior. One of the cheapest automotive modifications that you can perform yourself is this one; prices start at around $5. Finding a unique steering cover for your car to display your personality and sprightliness is entertaining.
5. Racing Pedals
Put some racing pedals in place of your stock ones! It’s an enjoyable and simple adjustment that significantly improves the driving experience in your car.
6. Dome Lighting In The Interior
LED lighting is simple to install and reasonably priced to replace your interior lights. Using interior dome lighting is a fantastic approach to modernizing your interior without spending a lot of money.
7. Hide The Center Console
This is one of the interior modifications for cars that improve the comfort and aesthetics of the inside. Why not give the console between the driver’s and passenger’s seats a cover with additional padding, as you already rested your arm on it? You can really jazz up your cabin by selecting from a wide variety of styles and colors.
8. Trunk Liner
Trunk liners give your trunk some color and ensure that you are making the most of the space in your trunk. This is a terrific method to stay organized in addition to being a statement piece.
9. Seat Cushions
Seat covers let you customize your vehicle. Car seats (especially once you learn how to clean your car seats) are a terrific way to express who you are and to hide some worn-out upholstery in your vehicle. They are unquestionably one of the list’s inexpensive modifications.
Car seat coverings come in a range of styles. You may get a seat cover with anything from unique designs to superheroes to sports teams, so you’re sure to find something that will stand out. Yet, some of them also have benefits when it comes to comfort, as our guide on the best car seat cushion for long distance driving shows.
10. Cellphone Holder
Every automobile should have this simple modification. It’s essential! This enhances the interior of your automobile and is also very practical. A phone mount is a necessary automotive modification that makes utilizing your phone’s navigation easy and secure.
11. Door Lock Decorations
With door lock decorations, blinging up your car’s interior is incredibly simple. These modest interior modifications will only serve to enhance your cabin. Why not? They are affordable and relatively simple to install on your own.
12. Change The Shift Knob
A great method to update the inside of your car is to replace the shift knob. In addition to being an inexpensive automobile modification, car owners are beginning to employ 3D printers to make custom shift knobs for their vehicles. A new shift knob is a simple component to replace and adds a lot of personality to your car.
13. Make Rear View Mirror Modifications
You might as well make changes to the mirror that your fuzzy dice are hanging from while you’re hanging it. There are many ways to improve and customize your mirror. For greater visibility, you can either purchase a longer mirror or search for a chic cover with a touch of glitz.
You can also add additional technology and gadgets to your mirror.
14. Video Monitors
If you frequently transport kids in your vehicle, this modification is wonderful, and outfitting your vehicle with video screens is a fun addition. Watching a movie is a fantastic method to entertain the troops on a lengthy car trip.
Illegal Mods For Cars
The primary guideline for modification is that it must not jeopardize the safety of any other road user, the car’s driver, or its passengers. For example, electric cutouts are welded into place once a piece of your exhaust system is removed. The cutouts can be opened or closed using a wireless remote or a switch that is either built within the car.
The horsepower and torque of a ’67 GTO increased by less than 10 a piece when cutouts were tested on a dyno, while Hot Rod claims that cutouts are more of a fun noise producer. Nevertheless, they are illegal because of the increased noise your exhaust system will produce.
Most Illegal Car Accessories #1: Straight Pipes
There are a few justifications for why something is prohibited. The first is the most evident in terms of the noise ordinance. So, that’s something to be aware of if you’re thinking about how to make your car louder, or are keen on installing an overly loud exhaust system.
The second is emissions, which can be more difficult to avoid in some jurisdictions because they must be examined yearly to pass inspection. And, to allow you to register or insure your car. Any straight pipes are prohibited under New York Car Laws because a car needs to have a functional exhaust system and muffler.
Thus, it’s a good idea to look into is straight piping legal (or not) wherever you live, before you think about how much for a straight pipe. It’s worth understanding the necessary laws and local regulations before you consider installing a straight pipe exhaust kit and want to straight pipe your car’s exhaust system.
Most Illegal Car Accessories #2: Tinted Windows
Tinted windows used to be the exclusive domain of celebrities attempting to shield themselves from paparazzi glare. Still, it seems that these days even regular people need the protection of tinted windows on our vehicles.
While tinted windows are beneficial in hot weather, tinting on the back and side windows are frequently so dark that it poses a safety danger, especially when driving in inclement weather when visibility is already compromised.
Each state has various restrictions regarding how much tinting can be used on the side and rear windows. The local police can stop you if they think yours are too dark. For instance, in Alaska, tinting on side windows in the front must permit 70% light transmission and 40% in the back.
And while you’re discussing the legalities of this, make sure you also understand whether can you tint a lease car. On top of that, if you are tinting your windows, we have a couple of guides on how to remove the window tint, and do window tints go on the outside or inside, as well as how much does ceramic tint cost, just to help you out.
Most Illegal Car Accessories #3: Special License Plate Covers
While drivers who are penalized for using ornamental license plate frames may legitimately feel resentful over the simple cosmetic modification, the same cannot be said for individuals who purposefully utilize special license plate coverings to evade speed cameras and toll booths at bridges and tunnels.
Although it is against the law in the state, and there are thousands of cameras in New York City, the practice of employing plastic coverings to block light and prevent cameras from reading license plates is also common. Most states have rules stating that license plates must be clearly visible at all times, and any violations are subject to fines.
Most Illegal Car Accessories #4: Added Lighting
The replacement of the stock headlight bulbs (wink, wink, we also have a guide on how much is a headlight bulb and how to replace headlight bulb, as well as how to change headlight bulb, if yours is starting to dim) with brighter ones by car owners have essentially become a hobby in most major cities. Then others will alter the color of indicator bulbs and even the basic fog lamps.
Even though these may make their cars look great, police do not like the same. The CMVR statute requires every exterior light on a car to follow a specific color scheme. Prepare yourself to pay substantial fees if you tamper with it. Additionally, if not used appropriately, brighter lights might blind oncoming motorists.
Additionally, since roof-mounted fog lamps are higher than the legal limit of 1.5 meters (or around 4.92 feet) off the ground, doing so is unlawful. Make sure they are always covered if you have these.
Most Illegal Car Accessories #5: Lifted Vehicles
In several jurisdictions, it is forbidden to raise your vehicle or lower your automobile or to create a “Bro Truck.” There are restrictions on lifting your vehicle in several states, but only a handful on reducing it.
You pose a risk when you lift your car, not only to other road drivers but also to yourself. Your center of gravity will rise dramatically; as a result, increasing your truck’s risk of rolling over. With all the flex that the suspension and structural modifications add, this also affects how your truck handles.
But if you want to replicate that cool lifted Ridgeline truck that you saw the other day, and if you’re willing to be modest, there are plenty of the best lift kit brands for your truck or SUV. Just make sure you’re wary of how much is a leveling kit, and how much to lift a truck in general before you’re investing in it.
Most Illegal Car Accessories #6: LED Bars (Roof-Mounted)
You endanger people by mounting bright lights on the top of your car. Mirrors are placed below headlights for a very good purpose. Any higher mounting poses a problem with mirrors reflecting light into the driver’s eyes, temporarily impairing their vision. As you are aware, driving is dangerous when one cannot see.
Most Illegal Car Accessories #7: Neons In The Underbody
Laws that forbid adding more illumination to your vehicle are designed to deter losers who would pose as police. Flashing or rotating blue and red lighting and spotlights are typically prohibited, according to the specific legislation. The local city revenue-generating squads try their utmost to discover something to cite when there are ambiguous regulations in place.
Around the start of the century, underbody neon kits were common, but lately, the style has become less fashionable. Even though driving while wearing them can look really amazing if done correctly, it is a surefire way to receive a costly penalty.
Worst Car Mod
We compiled a list of the worst car mod you could ever install in your automobile.
(Not Illegal, But) Worst Car Accessories #1: The Turbonator
Why would you spend $25 on an air intake fan when you could use that same money to buy a tiny 12-volt fan that exponentially boosts horsepower and fuel efficiency? When asked if they would install a “Turbonator” in the intake tube leading to their engine, a startlingly large proportion of people said yes.
These driven and passive devices impede the engine’s airflow, which decreases performance and raises gas consumption rather than enhancing combustion by “disrupting” the air molecules. The metal fan blades could also separate and fly into the engine, costing thousands of dollars in damage.
(Not Illegal, But) Worst Car Accessories #2: Lambo Doors
Lamborghini raised the doors using a scissor hinge to solve a problem brought on by Countach’s body design. This made it simpler for owners to open the door (once you learn how to open Tesla door) and look behind them when reversing, which was impossible with the Countach’s original vision from inside the cabin.
Scissor doors have been installed in locations where they were never meant to be by hundreds of people looking for attention. Since the introduction of Lamborghini, a hinge that requires the driver and passenger to raise a much heavier door rather than having it swing out like in the Countach just creates a hassle for everyone inside the vehicle.
(Not Illegal, But) Worst Car Accessories #3: Using An Exhaust Whistle
Dogs may hear the unpleasant high-pitched frequency emitted by whistle tips attached to an exhaust system, but anyone within a half-mile radius may also hear it. If you thought a cackling exhaust was great for mingling with your neighbors, just wait till the early commute when the whistle tip awakens them.
And no, this isn’t the same as deer whistles for cars. Installation of whistle-tips by law enforcement organizations of all shades is equivalent to ringing the dinner bell to enhance their monthly quota of moving violations.
(Not Illegal, But) Worst Car Accessories #4: Swivel Hubcaps
Another item that is popular among modders is the extremely annoying and obsolete rotating hubcap. The only purpose of spinner hubcaps, which move independently of the wheel, is to annoy every motorist you pass on the road.
In fact, spinner hubcaps are so inconvenient that many American states have passed laws outlawing them on the grounds that they might be dangerously distracting to other drivers.
Despite this, consumers continue to buy spinner hubcaps from outside of their state and put them on their cars even in places where they are illegal, making them one of the most popular items at specialty auto modification shops.
(Not Illegal, But) Worst Car Accessories #5: Artificial Engine Sounds
Some engines aren’t known for their ability to growl or even purr. Instead of replacing the engine, some people choose to put fake engine noises in their vehicles. For a fair fee, anybody can install a set of speakers under the hood to simulate a revved-up, roaring engine.
The automobile will sound amazing, and nobody will know you’re full of it until you join in a street race and your vehicle’s power is exposed. However, false engine noises make your automobile sound like a powerhouse, which annoys the people waiting behind you at red lights. This car alteration is completely unnecessary, absurd, and pointless.
FAQs On The Most Illegal Car Accessories
Why You Should Not Let Cops Touch Your Tail Lights
They may get a gun out and shoot from inside their car or hurt the cop with the car itself. Touching the tail light might divert the officer’s attention, leaving them open to these kinds of assaults.
Is Underglow Illegal In California
The usage of red lights at the front of a car is not permitted in California; however, drivers are allowed to install neon underglow lights of any hue.
What Cars Are Illegal In The US
Here is a list of vehicles Americans will never be allowed to drive due to safety or emission regulations. TVR Tuscan, Aston Martin Virage, Wiesmann GT MF5, Noble M600, Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution Tommi Makinen Models, Land Rover Defender, Volkswagen Polo BlueMotion, and Toyota Sera are among the vehicles on display.
Is NOS Illegal In Cars
In the United States, using nitrous in automobiles is not forbidden at the federal level. Though NOS regulations differ from state to state. Additionally, it is permissible to transport and store the gas, but it is forbidden to inhale it. Nitrous oxide is entirely lawful to use when driving on a track or private land.
Are Radar Detectors Legal In Illinois
In Illinois, radar detectors are permitted. However, laser jammers are not allowed. Radar detectors are also not permitted in any business vehicle, even one that weighs less than 10,000 lbs.
Is The Government Banning V8s
It comes as no surprise to learn that in 2021, gasoline engines will start to disappear from the landscape. It also shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that V8s will be the first to disappear. However, you sit up and notice that the CEO of an automaker still heavily relies on those huge guns says it.
Are Turbos Illegal
Because many turbos are prohibited under California’s Vehicle Code Section 27156 and are one of the unlawful auto modifications in Los Angeles, California, they can get you in problems with the law. Fortunately, the norm has many exceptions.
How To Mod A Car
Your automobile can produce more power with performance enhancements, you can control that extra power with handling modifications, and your car will look good with cosmetic upgrades. For most of these, you can do it yourself. A mechanic’s tool kit and some sturdy jack stands or car ramps are all you’ll need.
Is A Muffler Delete Illegal In California
If the noise produced by an exhaust modification exceeds 95 decibels, it is unlawful. Keep in mind that California smog restrictions or other laws may still prohibit your custom exhaust modifications. Mufflers are a need for all automotive exhaust systems. No bypasses, cuts, or particularly whistle tips are allowed.
Is It Illegal To Modify Your Car
Although some aspects of automotive modifications may be prohibited depending on your state, it is allowed to modify your vehicle. For instance, if a cold air intake doesn’t have a CARB Executive Order (EO) number, it is unlawful in Arizona, California, New York, Pennsylvania, and a number of other states.
Are Cold Air Intakes Illegal In California
There are certain exceptions to the general rule that laws like the Anti-Manipulation Act prohibit cold air intakes. These rules do not apply to you if the California Air Resource Board has granted an exemption for the specific cold air inlet.
Are LED Headlights Legal In Texas
Yes, there are some restrictions on using LED headlights in Texas. White, yellow, or amber headlights are required, and they must not cause a distraction on the road. Headlights must have a current Department of Transportation (DOT) sticker and cannot be covered by a grille or cover.
What Makes A Car Street Legal
States often mandate the following lights: headlights, taillights, brake lights, turn signal lights, hazard lights, reverse/backup lights, and license plate lights. Your engine compartment must also have a closed cover or bonnet over it.
Are Monster Trucks Street Legal
The enormous and wide wheels of monster trucks would obstruct two lanes. Without a doubt, these are not street-legal. The answers from Andy Golden and Lane Stylgar Gray were the closest, although the bulk of monster trucks are not street-legal due to even the most minor limitations.
Is 20 Tint Legal In Ohio
The guidelines for window tinting are straightforward and depend on the kind of window. The minimum VLT required by Ohio’s window tint law is 50% on the driver and passenger side windows and 70% on the windshield, and there is no need for the back window or backseat windows.
Did The EPA Ban Car Mods
The EPA still maintains that it is unlawful to change a vehicle’s emission system with the intention of converting it to racing, despite having given up on efforts to formalize the policy.
Most Illegal Car Accessories: Final Verdict…
Whether the modifications are legal or not, gearheads have always enjoyed modifying their vehicles. Many people may assume that if they can purchase a part from an aftermarket store, installing it on a vehicle for usage on public roads is acceptable.
But more often than not, it turns out that this new device is not truly permitted for usage on public streets. Businesses get away with it by putting “for off-road usage only” in a typically tiny, barely noticeable area on the packaging.
State laws differ greatly, with California and New York being renowned for having strict emission regulations. Here are the most illegal car accessories that are prohibited. We urge everyone to examine their local, state, and federal regulations to ensure compliance rather than advising creating unlawful car modifications to be used on public roadways.