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Arkansas Street Legal Laws

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California Lift Laws and Vehicle Equipment Laws


As one would expect, California has some of the most restrictive vehicle modification laws in the country. Suspension lifts are limited by California's frame height law and body lifts are limited to 5 inches. Although somewhat restricted, suspension lift kits and body lift kits are allowed, as are aftermarket wheels and tires, performance shocks, aftermarket bumpers, and grille guards.






Governing Laws

Code

California spells out its street legal laws in the California Vehicle Code (VC).

CA VC






Vehicle Dimensions

Dimensions

In California, vehicles must be no larger than 102 inches wide, 14 feet tall, and 40 feet long for a single vehicle.

VC 35100
VC 35250
VC 35400






Tire Restrictions

Tires

All tires on vehicles driven in California must be DOT approved and not have any bulges or exposed cords. There is a minimum tread depth of 2/16 inch for front tires and 1/16 inch for rear tires. It is prohibited to use re-grooved tires on the street.

VC 27450
VC 27465
VC 27461






Wheel Restrictions

Wheels

California's vehicle code does not reference wheels, however, they do need to be safe for highway use.






Braking Requirements

Brakes

Vehicles driven in California are required to have brakes on all 4 wheels. The brakes must be capable of stopping the vehicle from a speed of 20 mph within 30 feet. A secondary, mechanical, parking brake is also required.

VC 26311
VC 27600






Steering Laws

Steering

California does not have any steering related laws.






Suspension Laws

Suspension

There are no significant suspension laws in California.






Frame Requirements

Frame

California has specific frame height limits depending on a vehicle's GVWR. The measurement must be made to the bottom of the vehicle's factory installed frame (sub-frame structures do not count.) The body of the vehicle is limited to being no higher than 5 inches above the top of the frame.


Vehicle GVWR

Max. Frame Height

Under 4,500

27 inches

4,501 to 7,500

30 inches

7,501 to 10,000

31 inches


( Measured to the bottom of the frame. )



VC 24008.5






Bumper Restrictions

Bumpers

There are no bumper height restrictions in California.






Fender Requirements

Fenders

Fenders and mud flaps are both required in California.

VC 27600






Lighting Requirements

Lights

In addition to headlights and tail lights, vehicles in California are allowed to have additional lights installed. When a vehicle is equipped with extra lighting, no more than 4 front lights can be on at one time while driving.


Light

Number

Min. Height

Max. Height

Headlights

2 min.

22 inches

54 inches

Tail lights

Required

n/a

n/a

Spot lights

2 max.

n/a

n/a

Fog lights

2 max.

12 inches

30 inches

Aux. passing lights

2 max.

24 inches

42 inches

Aux. driving lights

2 max.

16 inches

42 inches


( Measured to the center of the light. )



Up to 8 off-road lights are allowed to be installed. They can be mounted no lower than 16 inches above the roadway and no higher than 12 inches above the roof. These lights must be covered when the vehicle is driven on the road.

VC 24400
VC 24402
VC 24403
VC 24404
VC 24411
VC 24405






Window Laws

Windows

California requires both windshields and windshield wipers.

VC 26700
VC 26706






Exhaust Requirements

Exhaust

In California, vehicles are required to be equipped with mufflers. Exhaust cutouts are not allowed to be installed.

VC 27150






Engine Swap Rules

Engine

All engine changes must be reported to the California DMV within 10 days. The engine must be the same year or newer than the existing engine and it must comply to the new engine's emissions standards. All engine upgrades and add-ons must be CARB approved.

VC 4616






Emissions Testing

Emissions

California is famous for its very strict emissions standards. Biannual emissions testing is required.







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