Car Modifications You Can and Can’t Make in Virginia

Hairstyles, clothing, and tattoos are just a few ways we choose to express ourselves. It’s your body so you should be able to do whatever you want with it. Well, within reason and subject to restrictions. Some laws or regulations exist for safety reasons or to maintain decorum. You cannot wear flip flops or shorts to court and tattoo parlors require safety protocols for protection. The same goes to the vehicles you drive. 

Have you seen a car or truck on the road with neon lights, chrome accents, or body kits? Or loud exhausts or huge tires? These are all ways to improve the usage of the vehicle, but also a way for the vehicle owner to express themselves. While most modifications are harmless and legal, some are not. Here’s a few modifications you can and can’t do in Virginia. FYI, Virginia is one of the most strict states, so don’t be surprised if something you cannot do in Virginia is perfectly legal elsewhere.

This list contains just a few can and can’ts:

  • Bumper Height Limits – Bumpers must remain within the range of 14 to 22 inches above the ground if the driver wishes to lift the vehicle. Additionally, drivers cannot lower the vehicle so that the body or chassis reaches the ground because the fuel tank can explode or the wheels can come into contact with the car body.
  • Window Tint – Front window tint cannot exceed 50% of light coming through and rear window tint cannot exceed 35% of light coming through. FYI, the lower the number, the darker it gets. Reflective tint cannot reflect more than 20%. Currently, it is still illegal if you exceed these percentages, but you cannot be pulled over for tint as the primary offense. You can get a tint ticket if you’re pulled over for speeding or another moving violation first. There are medical exemptions you may obtain from the DMV if you qualify, but you have to apply for it.
  • Mufflers/Exhaust Systems – Vehicles cannot be modified to make it louder. There are sound restrictions depending on which locality you’re driving in.
  • Lights – Fog lamps are required to be clear or amber and rear lights must be red. Any other color or flashing or rotating lights is not allowed.
  • Unapproved Equipment – Devices such as radar detectors, nitrous oxide systems, flamethrowers, and gas/smoke projectors are also illegal.

It’s fun to trick out your ride, but know that if you’re riding dirty, you’re likely to get stopped. If it’s worth it to get pulled over and pay hefty fines because you want to express yourself, then the world is your oyster.