Car enthusiasts often look for ways to enhance their driving experience by installing aftermarket modifications. Customizing a car can significantly elevate a vehicle’s performance and aesthetics, but the legality of many of these mods is a gray area at best.
Car modifications cater to a variety of aspects of vehicle dynamics, from safety improvements to performance enhancements, and visual upgrades. Ensuring your modifications remain legal is crucial in the modification process. Thankfully, many upgrades are not only beneficial in these aspects but are often legally permissible.
Table of Contents Overview
Upgrading components of the braking system will greatly improve a vehicle’s handling, especially under enthusiastic driving. Upgrading pads, rotors, brake fluid, and brake lines can prevent brake fade, allowing the vehicle to reliably come to a stop, even under extreme temperatures.
This translates to a higher performing and safer vehicle which can also work to prevent car accidents. Reducing a vehicle’s braking distance can correct accidents caused by driver error, a major cause of collisions as noted by Fresno car accident lawyers Roberts & Spiegel.
Wheels and Tires
Wheels and tires are a cost-effective way of changing the handling characteristics of a vehicle. Investing in lightweight wheels reduces unsprung mass and the overall load of the car’s suspension. Combined with an upgrade in high-performance summer tires, handling can be vastly improved over a vehicle with a stock setup.
Upgrading suspension components presents a host of benefits for drivers seeking improved handling, comfort, and safety. By replacing stock components with high-performance shocks, springs, or sway bars, drivers can experience enhanced stability, reduced body roll, and better control, particularly around corners. These upgrades can also contribute to a smoother ride, minimizing the impact of road imperfections.
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Reducing Ride Height
When upgrading suspension, lowering the car’s ride height is a common modification sought by enthusiasts. An improved aesthetic and lower center of gravity entices many car modifiers to go this route. However, many states have set legal limits on a vehicle’s ground clearance, so check with local laws to keep the vehicle within legal specifications.
In the eyes of the law, modifying the exhaust is a tricky one. Most states allow exhaust modification so long as the factory catalytic converters remain in place. Even so, there are generally limits to how loud an exhaust system can be. It’s best to err on the quieter side and only modify the exhaust behind the catalytic converter to remain compliant with the law. Modifying the exhaust to be compliant with the law will still provide weight savings and a more satisfying exhaust note.
Though window tints don’t offer any performance gains, they do enhance the look of the vehicle and provide some protection from the sun. State laws limit how dark windows can be tinted, so it’s worth checking local ordinances to ensure a vehicle’s compliance. A recent trend has been ceramic window tinting which helps limit the amount of UV light that can pass through the window. This protects both the vehicle’s interior and occupants from sun damage.
Upgrading a vehicle’s aero is a great way to change up a car’s visual appearance and enhance performance. Several types of changes can be made to improve aerodynamics such as the addition of:
- Side skirts
- Full body kits
Aero upgrades work together to reduce turbulent air and increase downforce, improving the vehicle’s handling at higher speeds.
Plenty of Opportunities to Make Your Car Yours
There are plenty of street legal options to enhance the driving experience and achieve a custom look. A combination of these mods will keep you from attracting police attention while maximizing the capabilities of your car.