General "Street Legal" Modifications Discussion - Honda Civic Forum


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Old 04-27-2015   #1  
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General "Street Legal" Modifications Discussion

So I have been exploring all over the place about what types of modifications (primarily power based) are generally "legal" for vehicles and which are not. This is something that varies widely, and for the most part people in rural areas and where the police do not really concern themselves with chasing down violators do not concern themselves with usually.

I live in Virginia, the norther part, and I have both inspection and emissions testing done (inspection annually, emissions every two years).

From what I understand, by the strict interpretation of the law it seems that most power modifications to vehicles is illegal in many west and east coast states (again, the rural center of the country does not have as much of an issue it appears). This would include even minor things such as air intakes, exhaust systems (primarily due to them being louder than stock), and especially turbo kits, engine swaps with engines that do not match the recipient model vehicle, etc.

While I do not have actual verbal confirmation, it is generally stated many places that if the inspection or emissions person pops the hood and sees something that is not stock he can fail the vehicle. In most states, the state police are responsible for enforcing these laws and therefore a vehicle that is modified (louder, etc) than stock can be pulled over and cited based solely on visual or audio determination.

Can anyone provide additional insight or expertise here? The reason I was looking into this was that I had been planning on doing a stage 2/3 engine build with a turbo with an expected output around 500+ horsepower that I also wanted to be street legal. My biggest concern (besides noise, OBD2 emissions, etc) was that if they popped the hood (or really just listened to the car running), the inspection station would know pretty obviously that the car was turbocharged (this would be on a car that was not factory turbocharged).

Any additional insight would be appreciated. I would prefer not to have to go the route of "making a friend/paying off" the service tech only to have to deal with nuisance tickets from being pulled over by the state police.
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Old 04-28-2015   #2  
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Re: General "Street Legal" Modifications Discussion

It really depends on your state and how they check emissions and car inspection. My state doesn't care, as long as you can pass emissions you can have a high flow cat and turbo. I have never had anyone look to check if my cat was missing or how my tires are. I have heard of them checking this for other people so I don't know how they make there judgment calls. Maybe if they saw an intercooler they would then check me out more throughly, I don't know. Maybe you can talk with someone at an inspection station and find out what some red flags are.

I don't see Virginia being that strict, it's the state for lovers
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