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Thread: Vehicle Modifications: Wondering what is legal and what is not? Your Answers Are Here

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    Default Vehicle Modifications: Wondering what is legal and what is not? Your Answers Are Here

    These types of threads appear almost daily. People are curious as to what modifications are legal and what modifications are considered illegal in the province of Alberta.

    All of the rules and regulations regarding motor vehicles (and vehicle equipment/modification) are contained in what is known as the "Traffic Safety Act".

    Click The Following Link For A Full Index of Everything Covered By The Traffic Safety Act:
    http://www.qp.alberta.ca/574.cfm?pag...fic Safety Act

    In our case, most people are concerned about modifications and equipment regulations in general.

    [size=2]All of the information pertaining to these regulations can be found in the following document
    http://www.qp.alberta.ca/documents/Regs/2009_122.pdf

    The most common questions coming up on Beyond are those regarding tinted windows, headlights, and exhaust modifications. For your sake I have covered the basics of these below starting with exhaust modifications.

    Before going any further, I urge you to refer to the link titled "Vehicle Equipment Regulations" for ALL the answers to questions regarding vehicle equipment/modifcation. It is the official and comprehensive document which will be able to cover all of the details so you can understand EXACTLY what is allowed and what is not.

    1. Exhaust Regulations
    Mufflers

    61(1) A motor vehicle propelled by an internal combustion engine must have an exhaust muffler that is cooling and expelling the exhaust gases from the engine without excessive noise and without producing flames or sparks.

    (2) A person shall not drive or operate a motor vehicle propelled by an internal combustion engine if the exhaust outlet of the muffler has been widened.

    (3) A person shall not drive or operate a motor vehicle propelled by an internal combustion engine if a device is attached to the exhaust system or the muffler that increases the noise made by the expulsion of gases from the engine or allows a flame to be ignited from the exhaust system.
    2. Tinted Windows
    Window glazing

    69(1) A person shall not install, replace or cover the window glazing in a windshield or in a left or right side window of a motor vehicle that is beside or forward of the driver with a transparent, translucent or opaque material.

    (2) A person shall not install, replace or cover the rear window glazing in a motor vehicle with a transparent, translucent or opaque material unless the motor vehicle has outside rear view mirrors on both the left and right that comply with section 72(2).

    (7) A person may apply stickers to the window of a motor vehicle only if they do not limit the driverís field of vision or otherwise impair the safe operation of the motor vehicle.
    3. Headlight Modifications
    Please refer to the links provided above to get the COMPLETE list of regulations. I have only listed those that apply/relate to most of the questions that have been posted in the past. Most of them are common sense (ie: your car must have 2 headlamps) but I urge you to refer to the complete document so you can become familiar with all of the rules/regulations as there are alot of them.
    Headlamps

    Location

    (2) A headlamp must be mounted so that the centre of the headlamp is not more than 1.4 metres and not less than 560 millimetres above ground level when the motor vehicle is not loaded.

    (4) The light from a headlamp must be white, and the lens and bulb of the headlamp must be made of clear, untinted glazing.
    This means that most "ricer bulbs" and yellow headlight bulbs are ILLEGAL

    (5) A person shall not attach or apply anything that colours the light from a headlamp to the headlamp, part of the headlamp or a bulb in the headlamps.

    High and low beams

    (2) A headlamp must have a low beam that can reveal a person or another vehicle that is at least 30 metres ahead.

    (3) A headlamp must have a high beam

    (b) that does not shine in the eyes of an approaching driver.

    Daytime running lamps

    12 The daytime running lamps on a motor vehicle may emit amber or white light.

    Division 2
    Rear Lamps

    Tail lamps

    (4) A tail lamp must be capable of emitting a red light that is visible from at least 150 metres to the rear.

    (6) A tail lamp must turn on and stay lit when the head lamps or auxiliary driving lamps are lit.

    Licence plate lamp

    14(1) The licence plate of a vehicle must be illuminated by a tail lamp or a separate licence plate lamp so that the licence plate is clearly visible from at least 15 metres to the rear.

    (2) A separate licence plate lamp for illuminating the rear licence plate must turn on and stay lit when the head lamps are lit.

    (3) A separate licence plate lamp may emit white light.

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    That's a good compilation. I doubt it'll keep people from starting threads on them though.

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    That's pretty sweet. Thx

    (are there anything on front/rear turning signals? colors? etc?)

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    One major point I dont see addressed is HID headlights. They are definately not 'white' but afaik arent illegal in OEM applications.

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    HID light is white. OEM application use 4100K temperature and that is actually slightly yellow.

    Audis, BMWs, MBs etc are only blue because of the cutoff. The acutal light hitting the ground is white.

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    I didnt think all OEM used 4100k.. And although the light may be white on the ground, its certainly not coming from the headlight. I thought there was a range that they used.
    I also thought the color was due to the reflector, not the cutoff..

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    BMW oem is 4300K, fyi

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    (4) A tail lamp must be capable of emitting a red light that is visible from at least 150 metres to the rear.

    (6) A tail lamp must turn on and stay lit when the head lamps or auxiliary driving lamps are lit.

    Found this kinda interesting.Acording to this,clear tail lights aern't illegal as long as they emit a red light...but they still are a ricer mod,lol

    The exhaust rule is kinda mickey mouse also.
    What the hell is a "widened"outlet?Shouldn't that be increased diameter?So if I had a dual tip muffler how woud that work?Also you could have a 6" exhaust as long as the tip wasn"t "widened"

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    Originally posted by pressure_ratio
    (4) A tail lamp must be capable of emitting a red light that is visible from at least 150 metres to the rear.

    (6) A tail lamp must turn on and stay lit when the head lamps or auxiliary driving lamps are lit.

    Found this kinda interesting.Acording to this,clear tail lights aern't illegal as long as they emit a red light...but they still are a ricer mod,lol

    The exhaust rule is kinda mickey mouse also.
    What the hell is a "widened"outlet?Shouldn't that be increased diameter?So if I had a dual tip muffler how woud that work?Also you could have a 6" exhaust as long as the tip wasn"t "widened"
    You need to check out the whole document. A ricer APC taillight is NOT DOT/SAE/Whatever approved meaning that it is ILLEGAL. It is covered at very start of the lighting section which says that all lamps must be DOT/SAE/Whatever certified.

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    (2) A person shall not drive or operate a motor vehicle propelled by an internal combustion engine if the exhaust outlet of the muffler has been widened.

    Doesn't that mean that you can't make the outlet of a muffler bigger than normal? So if you change the WHOLE muffler, you are not widening anything. And so you should be legal, right?

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    Anyone care to comment?

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    Originally posted by Tech2
    (2) A person shall not drive or operate a motor vehicle propelled by an internal combustion engine if the exhaust outlet of the muffler has been widened.

    Doesn't that mean that you can't make the outlet of a muffler bigger than normal? So if you change the WHOLE muffler, you are not widening anything. And so you should be legal, right?
    I would assume that replacing the entire muffler is perfectly legal as there are tons of them around town and it would be pretty hard to hide some of those fart cans from the cops. My interpretation of it would be that you can't just take a hammer to your muffler to widen the opening.
    In reference to Rob Anders:
    Originally posted by ZenOps
    Hes not really that bad...

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    Originally posted by Eleanor


    I would assume that replacing the entire muffler is perfectly legal as there are tons of them around town and it would be pretty hard to hide some of those fart cans from the cops. My interpretation of it would be that you can't just take a hammer to your muffler to widen the opening.


    Nope, if you muffler is 2" going in, it better be 2" going out.

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    (2) A person shall not drive or operate a motor vehicle propelled by an internal combustion engine if the exhaust outlet of the muffler has been widened.

    So a tapering tip wider at the end that it is comming out of the muffler (like mine is stock, if I'm not mistaken) is illegal, but a muffler with 4 inches straight out the muffler is fine.

    I don't know, that doesn't seem to make sense to me.


    What about a muffler that is like a 3 inch pipe before the muffler going into 2 duals after the muffler?

    This law is not clear, that's for sure. I'd sure like to hear some experts chime in.

    And just what is the problem with a widened tip anyways?

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    Originally posted by QuasarCav




    Nope, if you muffler is 2" going in, it better be 2" going out.
    So you can modify the entire exhaust system, but you can't just rip off the muffler and replace it with one of those cheap ones from Canadian Tire? Odd, as like I said there are tons of them around town. Anyone know the reasons behind this?
    In reference to Rob Anders:
    Originally posted by ZenOps
    Hes not really that bad...

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    just out of curiosity, do these rules apply to older cars? for example, a 1970's camaro. i'm pretty sure its exhaust has been heavily modified and is in no way quiet. does anyone know the rules in regards to age?

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    Originally posted by qbnb
    just out of curiosity, do these rules apply to older cars? for example, a 1970's camaro. i'm pretty sure its exhaust has been heavily modified and is in no way quiet. does anyone know the rules in regards to age?
    check with your insurance company...im with ama, and they want to know anything i do to modify my car, if they don't like it, they won't insure me...

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    Originally posted by qbnb
    just out of curiosity, do these rules apply to older cars? for example, a 1970's camaro. i'm pretty sure its exhaust has been heavily modified and is in no way quiet. does anyone know the rules in regards to age?
    Most cops are in the age group that if they saw a nice 1970 camaro, they would be too impressed to even think about writing a ticket!

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    Thanks for the post - just replacing my daughter's prelude tail lamps - with clear - and was pretty sure I had to replace the turn signal bulbs with amber - now I know that it is a definate yes (or with red).

    Rgds...Geoff

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    So I just read through the whole thing but I didn't see anything about engine mods though. On the HKS website it lists its turbos as "Off-Road Use Only". But what exactly makes them illegal on the streets? I would assume that they'd be legal, but that insurance companies wouldn't want to cover you. Anyone have any problems insuring their cars with extensive mods?
    In reference to Rob Anders:
    Originally posted by ZenOps
    Hes not really that bad...

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