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What Exactly Does Street Legal Mean?

On APRIL 22, 2018, Chesapeake Police responded to a vehicle crash at the intersection of Eden Way N. and Savory Crescent.

A man died at the scene, his name has been yet to be released.

Police initially thought at first the vehicle was a go-kart, but later stated that the vehicle was a Honda Civic that was heavily customized. Police stated that the vehicle was registered with the DMV but it was not street legal.

The State of Virginia has regulations relating to the modifications of vehicles in regards to sound, the muffler, the frame and suspension, lights, and windows of a vehicle.

Sound systems

Commonly, a vehicle’s sound system cannot be so loud that it is heard by others who are at least 75 feet from the vehicle. Also, any sound system in a vehicle has to be maintained at a volume in which the sound of an emergency vehicle can be heard.


Virginia law stipulates the following in regards to the muffler in a vehicle:

  • Vehicles must have mufflers that prevent unusual or excessive noise.
  • Alterations that make the vehicle’s exhaust system louder than as it was designed by the manufacturer are not allowed.
  • Chambered pipes, (which have dents or grooves) are not permitted.
  • Note: Drivers are encouraged to check the laws in their county, municipal noise ordinances may be stricter than Virginia State laws.

Frame and suspension

Virginia has regulations for the front and rear height of vehicles established on the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of the vehicle:

  • For vehicles less than 4,501 GVWR, the maximum front bumper height is 28 inches, for the back bumper it is 28 inches.
  • For vehicles 4,501-7,500 GVWR, the maximum front bumper height is 29 inches, for the back bumper it is 30 inches.
  • For vehicles 7,501-15,000 GVWR, the maximum front bumper height is 30 inches, for the rear bumper it is 31 inches.
  • Vehicles can be no taller than 13 feet 6 inches in height.
  • Front lift blocks are not allowed on vehicles.


Virginia requires emissions testing throughout several cities and counties. Virginia drivers are encouraged to visit the Virginia DMV website to check the regulations for their local area. Also, the maximum size for a hood scoop is 38 inches wide by 50.5 inches long by 1.125 inches tall. No other regulations are listed for engine swaps or modifications.


  • Vehicles are allowed to have two fog lamps, which may only be amber-colored or clear in the front and red in the rear.
  • Virginia law states that vehicles have no more than four lights can be lit at once.
  • Blue and red lights are not permitted.
  • Flashing and rotating lights are allowed.
  • Lights that turn on together must be the same color (headlights, taillights).
  • All external lights in a vehicle must have DOT or SAE stamp

Window tinting

Virginia has the following regulations pertaining to vehicle windows:

  • Non-reflective tint on a windshield is allowed but it must be above the manufacturer’s AS-1 line.
  • All side window tint must allow Front side over 50% of light to pass through.
  • Rear window and back side window tint must allow over 35% of light to pass through.
  • Side mirrors are required for vehicles that have tinted rear windows.
  • Reflective tint in vehicle windows cannot be any more than 20% reflective.
  • Red tint on windows is illegal
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