You’re ready to customize your import with some mods that will improve your car’s performance, look better, and give it some personality. Before you start changing up your car and adding aftermarket accessories, it’s important to know the regulations and rules regarding car mods in North Carolina so you don’t waste money or run the risk of your car not being street legal. We’re covering the most common vehicle mods and the rules associated with them to help you plan your customization project.
Sound and Noise Modifications
Whether you’re dreaming of a booming sound system or you want to make your presence known when you’re driving up the street, you may want to keep the sound down. North Carolina does have regulations regarding sound systems and mufflers on cars and other vehicles.
Vehicle sound systems in Raleigh can not be so unusually loud they disturb the peace, and if someone is disturbed by the volume, they can file a complaint against you. The officer called to the scene or the court will the decide if your system is too loud. This basically means there is no set decibel level, it’s a matter of police discretion.
Mufflers must be maintained on the vehicle without cutouts in accordance with N.C.G.S. 20-128, and they are supposed to quiet the engine noise in a “reasonable manner.” However, there are no specific regulations or definitions as to what a “reasonable manner” is, so it’s important to err on the side of caution.
North Carolina Vehicle Height and Clearance
If you want to lower or raise your car, add a suspension lift, body lifts, or install aftermarket wheels or tires, you’re in luck. North Carolina has minimal body modification laws. According to N.C.G.S. 20-135.4, the suspension of a passenger vehicle can not be lifted or lowered more than six inches from the manufacturer’s specifications without written approval of the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles. Otherwise, you have a lot of freedom to add aftermarket wheels, suspension lift kits, performance shocks, and raise or lower the bumper height
Headlights and Auxiliary Lighting
Want to add some lighting features to your import? North Carolina car mod laws allow you to add two extra lights, in addition to head and tail lights. These can be spotlights or auxiliary lights, like underside neons. However, lights that are red and blue are only used for emergency vehicles and first responder vehicles, so they are not street legal.
Window and Windshield Tinting in North Carolina
Window tinting can be tricky because it’s based on percentages, which is why it’s important to go to a reputable source to get your window tinting work done. The laws include:
- All windows must allow over 35 percent of light to come through.
- Non-reflective tinting is legal above the AS-1 line or the top five inches on the windshield, whichever one is longer.
- Reflective tint on the front side and back side windows is only legal if it reflects less than 20 percent.
- Red tint is not legal in any form.
- >If the back window is tinted, side mirrors must be installed on the vehicle.
License Plate Covers and Other Vehicle Accessories
Even simple accessories such as NC license plate covers and frames, stickers, and other items can be illegal, depending on their location and other factors.
License Plate Covers
A license plate frame is legal if all identifying information, including tags, numbers, and letters, are clearly visible.
Drivers can’t operate a vehicle while viewing a television, computer, or other screen, with the exception of navigation and information devices.
Stickers and decals are prohibited from being placed on the windshield unless it’s required by law or has DMV approval.
Schedule Your Import Car Modifications in Raleigh
If you want customizations for your import in Raleigh, make sure you go to a trusted source so you know they will be completed legally and made to last. Reach out to us today at (919) 828-7900 or complete our contact form below to schedule car mods with one of our certified technicians.