Your Trusted Auto Repair Shop for 40+ Years
Shop Talk Logo

Legal Car Modifications You Can Do In Texas

black low rider car using hydraulics

In a sea of white, silver, and black cars, it’s hard to be unique especially when you were made to stand out! Luckily, there are many ways youcan customize your car to get your car noticed and be more of a reflection of you and your tastes.

Car modification that is allowed in other states may not be legal here in the state of Texas. It’s important to know what modifications are legal if you’re moving from another state or before you go to the expense of customization.

Antique, Classic Cars, and Street Rod Modifications

Preserve the past with a classic. Antique cars must be over 25 years old and are not required to pass annual state inspections. Classic cars are still required to pass the annual safety inspections; however, certain criteria may be inapplicable due to their original manufacturer.

Street rods manufactured or produced before 1949 require titles as well as safety inspections. Learn more about special license plates for your classic, antique, or street rod here.

Sound Modifications

music big loudspeakers installed in a red car's trunk

Do you want to let everyone know you have the biggest, baddest car, and that you’re heading their way? While most sound modifications are legal, it’s important to note that Texas does have laws that limit the noise vehicles can produce.


While you may be considering modifying your car’s exhaust system, it’s important to know that all vehicles are required to be equipped with a muffler. Cutouts, bypass, or similar devices are prohibited. Aftermarket exhaust modifications are permitted as long as they are not too loud, however, Texas state laws do not specify a limit on decibels.

Sound Systems

We like cars that go boom, too. If you’re considering upgrading your sound system, you’re free to make any modification you like. However, sound levels from a vehicle’s stereo system cannot exceed 68 decibels within a fifteen-foot perimeter of the vehicle. Violations of this law can result in a misdemeanor or costly fines.

Frame and Suspension Modifications

Lifted trucks, low riders – there are no suspension limits in Texas. Nor are there limits on frame height, steering system adjustments, wheel modifications, or bumper alterations. Vehicle dimensions are limited, however, to 102-inches wide, 13-feet-6 inches tall, and 45-feet long.

Engine Modifications

Is the love for your car the kind that lasts forever? Keep it that way by upgrading or replacing an old, tired engine with a new one. While there are no limitations on engine exchange, many counties in Texas require passing emissions tests and state inspections.

Window Modifications

Keep the interior of your car cooler in the summer, prevent exposure to harmful UV rays, and protect your eyes from bright sunlight with tinted windows. While rear window tint can be any level of darkness, all front-side and back-side windows must allow over 25% light passage and be less than 25% reflective.

Non-reflective tint is permitted on the windshield above the indicated AS-1 line from the manufacturer or the top five inches. A sticker identifying legal tint levels is required to be placed on the driver’s side window.

Light Modifications

Here’s a bright idea: improve your car’s headlights for better night viewing or to create some interest as you drive around town. In addition to your vehicle’s standard headlights and taillights, vehicles in Texas are permitted to have additional lights including headlights, taillights, spotlights, fog lights, auxiliary passing lights, and auxiliary driving lights.
All lights are required to have a DOT or SAE stamp. Off-road and show equipment lights are prohibited on roadways. Taillights and stop lamps must produce a red or amber color. Red bulbs and illuminated license plate frames are prohibited.

You Handle Car Modification, We’ll Take Care of the Rest

blue titanium car with dual exhaust tips

If you want to improve your car’s performance, change the aesthetics, or simply restore a classic in Texas, vehicle modification is the way to do it. Since cars are manufactured to appeal to the masses, there are limitations to purchasing a car that is one of a kind.

Personalization and making your car more you, from minor things like fuzzy dice hung from the rearview mirror to new body kits, wraps, or rims, are just a few of the ways to design the car you want. Plus, upgrades can often increase the life of your car and with beneficial modifications, you’re likely to keep your car longer, especially when you choose Sun Auto Service to perform your vehicle’s maintenance and repairs!