Car Mods in Colorado

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Car modifications have become a popular way for automobile enthusiasts to personalize their vehicles, enhance performance, and stand out on the road. From minor cosmetic changes to engine overhauls, car mods are a fun way to make a vehicle feel more like your own. But not all modifications are legal. To help you stay informed, we’ve compiled a list of Colorado’s policies regarding common car mods. 

Colorado Laws Regarding Car Modifications

Window Tinting

Colorado requires a certain percentage of light be transmitted throughout the vehicle. Current laws stipulate that 70 percent of light be visible through the windshield, and at least 27 percent through the other windows. Vehicles registered in another state must transmit at least 20 percent of light through the side and rear windows. Drivers that do not meet these standards risk having their vehicle impounded and fines of up to $5000. Colorado does not grant medical exemptions to the state’s vehicle window tinting requirements. 

Exhaust Systems

Modifying your vehicle’s exhaust system to create excessive noise, often known as “straight piping,” is illegal in Colorado. Revised Statutes Title 42 specifies that no driver may modify the exhaust system to be louder than the one that came with the vehicle. Car mods that include excessively loud exhaust systems are considered a Class B traffic infraction and punishable by a fine of up to $500.


Likewise, “nuisance exhibition motor vehicle exhaust” is prohibited under state law. This is the act of knowingly blowing black smoke from the muffler with the intention to harass or distract another driver or pedestrian. This is considered a Class A traffic infraction and carries a fine of up to $100.

Altered Suspensions

Colorado law is somewhat confusing regarding suspension alteration. It states that the suspension must not be changed from the manufacturer’s original design “except in accordance with specifications permitting such alteration.” This is generally interpreted to mean that lifts are permitted as long as they are of the same design as the manufacturer’s. Shock absorbers and overload springs are allowed. Car mods that significantly change the suspension from the original design can result in a class 2 misdemeanor. 

Custom Lights

Car mods including aftermarket lights are legal, providing they comply with the state’s regulations concerning placement, brightness, and color. Rear lamps must be between a shade of amber and red and visible from at least one hundred feet when activated. Front lamps must be a shade between amber and white and as laterally spaced as possible. Neon and other underglow lighting is permissible, so long as the remainder of your lighting system is in compliance with state law. 

Nitrous Oxide Systems

The use of nitrous oxide systems for boosting engine performance is illegal in street cars in Colorado. Any installed nitrous kits must be disconnected and/or have the tanks removed in order for the car to be street legal. 

Tire Car Mods

Colorado requires that 1) each tire have a layer of rubber at least one inch thick above the flange of its entire periphery; 2) the layer of rubber should cover the entire traction surface of each tire; and 3) each tire should have no protuberances, such as studs or spikes, except those made of rubber which do not extend beyond the tread of the traction surface of the tire. (There are exceptions to this last rule for single-wheeled passenger vehicles and tractors; tires with snow chains are also exempt when used lawfully). 

Does Insurance Cover Custom Cars?

Yes, insurance will cover a car that has undergone enhancements or modifications. However, since custom cars are often equipped with higher end parts, you will likely need a special endorsement or separate policy entirely. It is a good idea to contact your insurance carrier prior to performing any car mods to confirm what type of coverage you will need. 

Custom Car Claim Assistance

If you need assistance filing a claim for a vehicle you have modified, you may wish to speak to an auto accident attorney. Claims for custom cars can be more complicated, since you may have a separate policy and will likely need more expensive and/or expert repairs. If you have been in an accident in the state of Colorado and need help filing or disputing a claim, contact Dave Roth with the Roth Group. Dave has years of experience negotiating claims to ensure the fairest settlement possible. Call or go online today to schedule your free consultation.