Whether you live in New Hampshire or plan to move there in the near future, you need to understand the laws surrounding vehicle modification. Understanding the following regulations will ensure that your vehicle is street legal when driving on the roadways throughout the state.
Sounds and noise
New Hampshire has regulations in place that cover the muffler on your vehicle. Failure to follow them can result in a $100 fine for the first offense, $250 for the second offense, and $500 for each additional offense.
Mufflers are required on all vehicles and must be in working condition to limit unusually loud or excessive noise.
Muffler bypasses, cutouts, and similar devices are not permitted on roadways.
Straight pipes are not permitted.
After-market exhaust systems are permitted providing they are not excessively loud (exact loudness levels are not defined).
Tip: Also check with local county laws in New Hampshire to make sure you are following any municipal noise ordinances that may be more stringent than state-level laws.
Frame and suspension
New Hampshire does not have frame or suspension lift height restrictions. However, other regulations include:
Vehicles cannot be more than 13 feet 6 inches in height.
Minimum bumper height for cars, SUVs, and trucks is 16 inches.
Cars and SUVs bumper height cannot exceed 20 inches.
Truck have a maximum bumper height of 30 inches.
Lowered suspension systems cannot allow any part of the chassis, steering or suspension on the vehicle to be lower than the lowest portion of the wheels.
New Hampshire does not have engine modification or swap regulations. However, annual safety inspections are required. Emissions testing is also required for vehicles manufactured after 1996.
Lighting and windows
Two spotlights are permitted providing that the high-intensity part of the beam does not strike windows, mirrors or the windshield of another vehicle on the roadway.
Three auxiliary lamps are permitted.
- Non-reflective tint is permitted on the top six inches of the windshield.
- No tint is permitted on the front side windows.
- Back side and rear windows must allow over 35% of light through.
- Side mirrors are required if back window is tinted.
- Reflective tint is not permitted.
Antique/classic car modifications
New Hampshire provides Antique plates for vehicles that are more than 25 years old. However, these vehicles can only be used for public interest activities such as parades, club activities, and exhibitions.
If you want your vehicle modifications to comply with New Hampshire law, YourMechanic can provide the mobile mechanics to help you install the new parts. You can also ask our mechanics what modifications may be best suited to your car using our free online Q&A system, Ask a Mechanic.
This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as The Guide to Legal Car Modifications in New Hampshire and was authored by Valerie Johnston.