So what defines "Street legal"?
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This is a discussion on So what defines "Street legal"? within the Comparison: WRX vs World forums, part of the Community - Meet other Enthusiasts category; I had been thinking about modding out my Evo like the one in the "tricking out a hot car" or ...

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    So what defines "Street legal"?

    I had been thinking about modding out my Evo like the one in the "tricking out a hot car" or something like that segment on the 2F2F DVD. You know, the one they warn you not to try and duplicate because its not meant for street use. The one that puts out 500 HP, does 0-60 in under 4 seconds and runs the 1/4 mile in the 9's But what makes a car illegal for street use? The HP or what? and does it change from state to state? Just wondering if anyone has a clear definition of what is street legal and what isn't because I have never looked into it, thanks.

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    Moderator MidKnight's Avatar
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    a street legal car cannot have any of the original emmissions equipment removed or tampered with (read, any car with any of the original cats not in place is not street legal!). After that, you have to make sure that all the parts on your car are CARB and US DOT compliant (different headlamps, tail lamps, etc.) Aftermarket HID's are not street legal either!
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    Ah dammit. I wonder what would happen if you got pulled over in a car that wasn't street legal? Do they impound it or just give you a ticket and tell you to remove everything?

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    Moderator MidKnight's Avatar
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    My car isn't street legal. I've never been hassled for it and I've been pulled over my fair share. It really comes down to how much of a problem it is. My exhaust/intake/headlights are not emissions or US DOT approved. But my headlights are aimed properly and don't bother anyone, my exhaust isn't a loud fartcan that makes cops curious why it's so loud. As long as everything is 'moderate' and nothing screams illegal, you should be fine. I had a cop comment to me after giving me a seatbelt ticket (pulled me over for doing 85 in a 55) that he 'loved the smell of a catless exhaust'.
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    Registered User renichms's Avatar
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    Illegal: cats other than factory; no cats; no muffler (most states) or muffler not functioning properly; lowered/lifted beyond legal limit; headlights too high/low; neons (illegal in a lot of states, legal in some - red and blue neons illegal if on while driving in all states); basically ANY equipment not functioning properly.

    Keep everything working right, avoid being too loud or obviously catless/hi-flow cat and it should be okay.

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    i am pretty sure popping any sort of wheelie or flame isn't street legal
    if its not fast it better be a show car

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    Buzzz Wannabe's Avatar
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    Street Legal is very grey. I have never heard of a lowering or raising limit. I know Bob's pick-up was three inches in the nose off of the ground. I know trucks with centerline of crankshafts five feet off of riding surface.
    There is no HP limit. Bob put out 2500+ and cruised it around with no problems.
    The biggies are working headlights, tail lights, brake lights, turn signals, mufflers, DOT approved wheels, tires and other items. Other than that, just maintaining smog and federally regulated items that are required for the vehicle from factory specs. Wheelies are absolutely legal.
    This baby is street lagal.

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    Registered User renichms's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Wannabe
    Street Legal is very grey. I have never heard of a lowering or raising limit. I know Bob's pick-up was three inches in the nose off of the ground. I know trucks with centerline of crankshafts five feet off of riding surface.
    There is no HP limit. Bob put out 2500+ and cruised it around with no problems.
    The biggies are working headlights, tail lights, brake lights, turn signals, mufflers, DOT approved wheels, tires and other items. Other than that, just maintaining smog and federally regulated items that are required for the vehicle from factory specs. Wheelies are absolutely legal.
    This baby is street lagal.
    A lot of states have lifting and lowering laws. For example, in SC, you cannot go more than 6 inches from stock, with pickups being exempt. You also cannot have a difference between front and rear height of more than 6 inches. So, technically, you could lift a pickup 40 feet but if your headlights and license plate are too high, you're not legal. For most cars, that's not a problem since most are no more than 6 inches stock clearance.

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    FWIW, no one who mods their car worries about this. That doesn't mean its a stupid question; in fact, its an important question to consider.

    My philosophy is that "Street Legal" basically boils down to whether it passes inspection in NJ (or your state). If you can keep it on the road without going through any backdoor means of inspection, then in a sense, its street legal.

    Nevertheless, by federal/state law, nearly any mods end up being illegal, unless the maker goes through rigorous federal testing regulations to prove the mods are acceptable for road use. Hence, the beauty of in house performance parts, like Mopar for our SRT-4 friends (among others). The things they can do through Mopar often compare mod for mod to the things we can do w/STi parts, but the difference is that many of the mopar mods are technically street legal, while, as far as I know, few STi mods are legal to a WRX, as far as the government is concerned.

    My jdm motor swap is as illegal as they come. But no one will realistically ever be able to prove its an overseas EJ20, and I don't know why they would bother, as long as it passes inspection. The cops certainly couldn't care less, as long as I obey the laws of the road.

    So you will have to develop your own philosophy of "street legal." Its good to be aware of what the law considers to be legal/illegal. My philosophy is that as long as I have a valid inspection sticker, I'm golden. If the government should ever launch a sting against my cars, I'll have some fines to pay, but they have way better things to do, and I'm not too worried...that's my philosophy.
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    Besides what everyone else said, another aspect of the term is a marketting gimmick, to get impressionable (i.e., naive) 17 yr olds to get their moms to buy them a fart pipe at Pep Boys, because it's labelled as a "Street Legal exhaust", or something similar. I guess it gives them the false sense that whatever they're buying is barely legal, and makes them feel like rebels or something.

    The term is over-used these days.
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    Registered User wv_wagoneer's Avatar
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    Originally posted by annointed


    My jdm motor swap is as illegal as they come. But no one will realistically ever be able to prove its an overseas EJ20, and I don't know why they would bother, as long as it passes inspection. The cops certainly couldn't care less, as long as I obey the laws of the road.
    We all fracture an occasional law. Just don't behave like an a$$hat. I'm aware that I'm illegal, and that I can get my head handed to me, so I learned to say "Yes, officer", alot.

    WV

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    Registered User Snowvert's Avatar
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    is anyone's car on this board actually street legal?
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    Originally posted by zoophagy
    The people that work there are, for the most part, retards. I used to work there.

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    Registered User renichms's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Snowvert
    is anyone's car on this board actually street legal?
    My PT is...for a while longer, at least.

    RN
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    In many states anything older then 30 years old is exempt from emssions. I find that keeping with emissions is probaly the hardest part of being "street legal". That is where most of the "street rods" get away with it because they dont have emsissions so all is fair game.

    Here in MD we have a few tags that help you out also, like street rod tags hot rod tags...and farm eqiupment. If you can prove your car is one of these you dont have emissions and really almost anything can go. I've seen a Pro Street drag car driving down the road in OC MD at there yearly car show...they thing didnt even have headlights...but it was tagg'd and none of the cops stopped him.

    Like many things that define "legal" it comes down to your attitude. If your a prick the cop can take out his handy dandy book and throw it at you. Most of the time unless they are gunning for you they dont care.

    But if your in a "street legal" class it basicaly has to be stock. The OBD-II plug, cats and 02 (only if damagded by a defective cat) are covered under the federal emissions law for 8 years or 80,000 miles. So tampering with these can viod your warrnaty and be expensive...hence not street legal. It's a very fine line.

    In order to go by the book it would be very hard to make something quick and legal unless it's like a z06 or something.


    On a side note my thinking of street legal is anything that can be driven on the street, you can run pump gas in it, it doesnt over heat, you can launch hard on street tires, you would be able to drive it in the rain, and my GF can push the clutch in. Call my crazy but I think those are good guidelines.
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    Registered User wile2k's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Snowvert
    is anyone's car on this board actually street legal?
    <---Raises hand and starts sobbing about it,..... How much longer must my STI languish in stock form.

    At least I can rebel a bit in the T/A
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