Whether you live in New Mexico or are moving to the area, there are vehicle modification regulations of which you need to be aware. Complying with the following laws will help make sure your vehicle is street legal when driving on the roadways throughout New Mexico.

Sounds and noise

New Mexico has regulations in place concerning the sounds that come from the radio systems and mufflers in your vehicle.

Sound systems

New Mexico requires that the following decibel levels be met in specific areas:

  • 57 decibels in areas or on lands where quiet and serenity are significant factors of its intended purpose (these areas are not defined)

  • 67 decibels in areas around public places such as schools, parks, hospitals, libraries, playgrounds, and residences

  • 72 decibels on developed land or properties

Mufflers

  • 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 highways.

Tip: Always check with local county laws in New Mexico to make sure you are following any municipal noise ordinances that may be more stringent than state-level laws.

Frame and suspension

New Mexico does not have any restrictions on frame, bumper or suspension lift heights. The only requirement is that vehicles cannot be more than 14 feet in height.

Engine

New Mexico does not have engine modification or swap regulations, but emissions testing is required for those who live in or commute to Albuquerque.

Lighting and windows

Lights

  • Two spotlight are permitted.
  • Two auxiliary lamps (one passing, one driving) are permitted.

Window tinting

  • Windshield can have non-reflective tint above the AS-1 line from the manufacturer or the top five inches, whichever occurs first.

  • Front side, back side, and rear window tint must let 20% of light to pass through.

  • Side mirrors are required if back window is tinted.

  • Sticker signifying legal tint levels is required between the glass and film on driver’s door.

Antique/classic car modifications

New Mexico does not have regulations on historic or vintage vehicles. However, plates are available for year of manufacture for vehicles more than 30 years old.

If you want to make sure your vehicle modifications are within the laws in New Mexico, 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 Mexico and was authored by Valerie Johnston.


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