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Frequently Asked Questions on Customizing Vehicles

  • Is it legal to have after market lighting on my car?
    Any motor vehicle equipped wth after market lighting, other than supplied by the manufacturer, must comply with certain regulations for the State of Connecticut.  As specified in Sections 14-137-100 through 14-137-104 of the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) Regulations manual.

  •  What are the allowable colors for my after market lighting?
     Any light visible from a motor vehicle should be the following:
          -  Any light visible from the front of the vehicle shall be white, 
             yellow or amber. 
          -  Any light visible from the forward most edge of the rear 
             tire of the vehicle to the front of the vehicle shall be 
             amber or yellow.
    -  Any light visible from the forward most edge of the rear
             tire of the vehicle to the rear of the vehicle shall be red.
          -  Any light visible from the rear of the vehicle shall be red 
             or amber. 
            (Effective July 25, 1994)

  • Can I have underbody neon lights if they are shatterproof?
    To date none of the manufacturers of neon lamps have certified the color and intensity of their product. If they were to become certified then the color would be limited by the location but white, amber or yellow, and red is the only allowable colors to be displayed while operated on the road in accordance with DMV Regulation 14-137-101.

  • Can I have neon hubcaps or wheel covers?
    Hubcaps and/or wheel covers also fall under the same specification as neon lights. However, only amber or yellow would be allowed on the front wheels and only red would be allowed on the rear wheels to comply with DMV Regulation 14-137-101.
  • Can I have in addition to my headlights, neon bars that don’t go on with the headlights, but are hooked up separately?
    None of the manufacturers of neon lamps have certified the color and intensity of their product. The addition of not more than two auxiliary driving lamps, passing lamps, or fog lamps producing white or amber light is allowed provided that they are mounted at a height in accordance with Connecticut State Law Title 14 Sec. 14-96o.  In addition, in accordance with Connecticut State Law Title 14 Sec. 14-96y there may be no more than four lamps exceeding 300 candlepower illuminated at the front at any one time.  This means that if the headlamp system has two lamps on each side illuminated at any time then the auxiliary lamps must extinguish automatically.  Furthermore, any auxiliary lamps of over 300 candlepower must only illuminate with the tail lamps and may not be independent for use on the road.   Any additional lamps of less than 300 candlepower must produce amber or yellow or white light.

  • Are strobe lamps on my headlights and taillights legal?
    Strobe lamps may only be utilized in operation on the road with a DMV issued permit that is issued only for specific reasons identified in Connecticut State Law Title 14 Sec. 14-96p and Sec. 14-96q.  Since some parking lots are considered public access this prohibition would also apply.  If your vehicle were used indoors at shows, the operation of strobe lamps at that location would not be regulated by the DMV.

  • Is it legal to have hydraulic shocks to raise and lower the car?
    No one has yet presented a hydraulic raising and lowering system on a vehicle that complies with Connecticut DMV Regulations Sec. 14-137-24 and 14-137-25 regarding automotive suspension systems.  All hydraulic systems presented either eliminated the shock absorber or were attached to a portion of the vehicle structure that was too weak and both these types of installation would be prohibited.

  • Are airbag shocks legal to raise and lower the car?
    Various types of air suspension systems would be allowed to raise or lower a vehicle as long as the minimum ground clearance of four inches is maintained. The replacement components must also meet or exceed the quality and performance standards established by the vehicle manufacturer. The installation of  the replacement components should not effect the safe operating characteristics of the vehicle.

  • Are glass pack mufflers legal?
    Per Sec. 14-80a-1a through 14-80a-10a of the DMV Regulations for "Glass Pack Mufflers" it is based on the loudness of the vehicle measured in accordance with the DMV Regulation.  The loudness is affected not only by the mufflers utilized, but also by any engine modifications.  There can be two different vehicles with the same exhaust system, however, they may have different engine modifications. One of the vehicles may pass the noise level measurement test and the other vehicle may not.

  • What are the height requirements my car can be?The height requirements are contained in DMV Regulations Sec. 14-137-25, which states “Height Adjustment Limitations." 
  • What is a composite vehicle?
    composite motor vehicle is by statute, "Any motor vehicle, composed or assembled from the several parts of other motor vehicles, or the identification and body contours of which are so altered that the vehicle no longer bears the characteristics of any specific make of motor vehicle."  Therefore, any vehicle not assembled by a manufacturer licensed as such in the State of Connecticut is classified as a composite motor vehicle.

    Before a composite vehicle can be registered, it must pass a special composite vehicle inspection, which is only done in the Wethersfield DMV inspection lane.  These inspections are done Monday through Friday from 8 am - 3 pm.
  • Can I tint my windows to black?
    No.  In accordance with Connecticut State Law Title 14 Sec. 14-99g, the side and rear windows may be tinted to the point where at least 35% light transmitted can still be transmitted through the window as darkened, provided that the reflectivity does not exceed 27% reflectivity. 

    Note: Persons with medical conditions can obtain a permit for tinted windows to the level where only 20% of the light transmitted thought the window is tinted.  The windows to the rear of the driver on trucks, buses, multipurpose passenger vehicles or MPV's (a.k.a. SUV's), trailers and mobile manufactured homes are exempt from the light transmissibility requirements.