Tech - News
The Real Reason This Car Tech Is Banned
Blue Dots
A bit of an old-fashioned accessory, these small circles of blue glass can be installed in the center of the lens of a round tail light, and when the brakes are employed, all the light appears bright purple. This effect makes them illegal, as altering the color of the lens violates traffic codes.
Radar Jammers
Installing a radar jammer behind the bumper and wired into the electrical system is not a good idea, as the FCC forbids any kind of jamming device, stating that it’s “a violation of federal law.” The FCC also says the use or marketing of a jammer may result in stiff penalties and imprisonment.
Cold Air Intakes
Finding ways to get cooler air into the engine is one of the most common modifications and a proven method to find a power gain, but altering how the car burns fuel could run the risk of changing the emissions. For this reason, cold air intakes may not be legal in places like California.
Adjustable Headlights
For decades, headlights have been tightly controlled by the federal government, with regulation often lagging technology. Headlights have been required to be static and unable to move while driving, but that is changing with the infrastructure improvement law passed in 2021 to allow for adaptive headlights.
Tuning Equipment
Anything that changes the tuning of the engine, which means it alters the amount of fuel delivered, the fuel timing, and the ignition timing, can run afoul of federal and state regulations. Ignoring these regulations, meant to prevent additional pollution in the environment, can result in serious penalties.
Air Fresheners
Most people will probably be surprised to find out that air fresheners may be illegal, especially the hanging type such as Little Trees. A majority of states have laws prohibiting any object near the windshield that may block the driver's view, which would include seemingly innocuous air fresheners.
Exhaust Modifications
Nowadays, most of the exhaust modifications that can be done have to remain behind any catalytic converters on the car. According to the EPA, it is highly illegal to mess with the catalytic converter, and altering these parts can contribute to the emission of carbon monoxide and other pollution.
Exhaust Flame Kits
Related to exhaust mods are the kits made to enable a car to shoot flames out of the tailpipes — a very bad idea and also very illegal. Take, for instance, California's legal code: “No motor vehicle shall be operated in a manner resulting in the escape of excessive smoke, flame, gas, oil, or fuel residue.”
In-Dash View Screens
Screens are overtaking dashboards, replacing physical buttons and controllers, and are perfectly legal, except for those that are capable of playing video while the car is in motion. Obviously, video playing within sight of the driver is a bad idea, but people install these things all the time.
Side View Mirror Cameras
This new, exciting technology allows automakers to replace side-view mirrors with a camera that displays on small screens just inside the doors. They’re especially good for ultra-high- performance cars seeking to limit or even eliminate drag; however, they are not legal on U.S. roads.
Off-Road Lights and Light Bars
Car owners should not drive with any added off-road lights while on public roads, unless the lights were built to specific DOT regulations, which are designed to avoid accidents at night. Running down the interstate with a lightbar on is a bad decision, as it will blind drivers in oncoming traffic.