Chances are the products produced by those plug-n-play HID conversion kit manufacturers who left the scene a while back didn't meet DOT safety standards, or they simply didn't want to assume the responsibilities (and liabilities) of gaining approval-the same reason a few of the companies that are still around may label their products "for off-road use only".

State officials may still have a problem with lighting mods they deem illegal, but just like the case of modified exhaust systems, many do not implement objective testing procedures for determining legality.

Vehicle Height State agencies and legislatures sometimes pursue vehicle height restrictions. A compromise between regulators and modifiers who lower vehicles from the original height can apply the standard of the "scrub line." A scrub line is an imaginary surface created if lines were drawn from the bottom of the wheel rim on one side to the bottom of the tire on the other side. When lines are drawn from both sides using a taut string, an ''X'' under the vehicle's suspension is created. A suspension or chassis component, excepting exhaust systems and sheet metal, may not be below the top portion of this ''X.'' Pennsylvania utilizes this standard for a vehicle registered in the state as a street rod, specially constructed or reconstructed vehicle. The state's minimum bumper height for all other passenger vehicles is 16 inches from some part of the main horizontal bumper bar, exclusive of any bumper guards.

Other states, such as Rhode Island, handle the issue of minimum vehicle height using the manufacturer's specified height as the standard and do not allow for deviations more than four inches from that standard. Maine uses a similar standard based on frame height with the minimum frame height limited to no less than 10 inches from the ground, unless the vehicle was originally manufactured with a frame height of less than 10 inches. In Minnesota, a lowered vehicle is measured by its bumper height and may vary up to six inches from the manufacturer's original manufactured bumper height. Many states choose simply to place limitations on maximum vehicle height. Others prohibit modification of a vehicle in a way that would cause the vehicle body or chassis to come into contact with the ground, expose the fuel tank to damage from collision, or cause the wheels to come in contact with the body.

Lobby for the Hobby
"We the people of the United States" are not just words from the first line of an old document. We are the people who love muscle cars, hot rods, street rods, tuners, replicas, off road trucks, and many other varieties of automotive pursuits that are as diverse as the country in which we live. We are also the people who have to work to protect our automotive passions from unnecessary, unfair, or well intentioned but poorly written laws and regulations. Fortunately, we the people live in a country where we can still make a difference in how we are governed.

Log onto SEMA's official enthusiast site ( and join the SEMA Action Network (SAN) for free. We already have. You can educate yourself about vehicle legality, research federal and state motor vehicle code, be alerted of legislation threatening automotive culture, and learn the top 10 ways to effectively communicate with lawmakers and make your opinions count-a system that has been proven to work. Most importantly, your involvement will be strengthening a professional organization with government representation at the federal level and in all 50 states, whose full-time staff is committed to researching laws and legislation, constructing and passing model bills to standardize vehicle law, and defending enthusiast's rights at all times. If you have no voice, you have no choice.
SEMA Action Network

By Staff
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