How To Make An ATV or UTV Street Legal
While your ATV or UTV is really meant for driving off-road, some people want or need to use their vehicles...
While your ATV or UTV is really meant for driving off-road, some people want or need to use their vehicles on paved roads. Unfortunately, without taking the right steps these people run the risk of getting into trouble for driving on the road. In many cases, you will need to modify your quad so that you can use it as your regular vehicle without being stopped by the police.
The most important thing is to look at the laws of your state. Doing so will guide you on how to modify your ATV or UTV to be compliant with legal requirements. In most states that do allow you to ride your all terrain vehicle, you will still need to do some modifications before you hit the road. Do not worry, as they may all cost less than $300 or a little bit more if you have someone make the mods for you.
Why You Should Make Your Quad Street Legal
When you purchase your ATV or UTV, you might not have thought of all the details. For example, if you do not have a full-sized pickup or a ramp, then you actually have no way to transport your new vehicle to an off-road trail for a ride. On the other hand, if you have something legal, then you simply get in and drive to the track or trail. No extra effort is necessary to bring your quad going there and back.
Some people do not have any other cars to use for day-to-day chores or activities. You already have an ATV or UTV, which is fully functional, then why not use it to get you from home to the shops? For a few hundred dollars, you convert your vehicle to something you can legally drive on the street. This is significantly less than buying a new car.
There are, however, people who should never consider modifying their quad. Specifically, if you live in the states where driving with these vehicles on the street is not allowed at all, with or without modification. Texas is one of these states, so you might end up just wasting your money for nothing.
What Do You Need To Legalize Your Quad
While the exact modifications needed to be able to drive your ATV or UTV on the streets differ from state to state, there are some common updates you will need.
Almost all states require vehicles to have headlamps. However, each state will have its own different requirements and checking out the rules before buying your quad is the best step to take. If your ATV or UTV is already equipped with headlights, you should still check the rules to keep you safe.
You need the light not just in the front, but also in the back. This makes it possible for the cars behind you to brake accordingly. Some states will require them to be red, like in ordinary cars. You will need to educate yourself on the requirements of your state because any pre-installed taillights could also be deemed insufficient.
- Turn Signals
While not a requirement in all states, some only allow quads with turn signals. Make sure that when you get inspected that they work, even though you will probably not use them as often. Fortunately, turn signals are quite easy to install and kits can be easily purchased online. You simply buy the set, which you will attach to the ATV or UTV (the kit also has something for the attachment). There is also a switch included to turn the lights on.
This is useful to have in your quad, whether or not it is legally required. Having one can be truly helpful in preventing accidents, especially when you are driving in busy streets. Some of the turn signal installation kits already have a horn included so you will not even have to buy it extra.
- Rearview Mirrors
This is another upgrade that is meant to make driving your quad out on the streets safer. In some states, only one (on the left side) is required but other states will need a full set to legalize your ATV or UTV. Unlike other modifications, installing rearview mirrors might be a bit more complicated, but it might be easier when you purchase a mirror installation kit. Some can be attached to the handlebars (due to the lack of space), but take note that this might not be allowed in your state. It is recommended that you study your state’s regulations carefully before buying a kit.
Your ATV or UTV can be quite loud, which can irritate other drivers or pedestrians. Thus, a proper muffler might be required. Some states may also have a requirement on gas emissions for vehicles driven on the street, so check out any emission laws in your locality to be sure.
The windshield is not only helpful against bugs but it can really protect you from any debris and strong wind. There are many different options for windshields out there, made of both glass and plastic. You can easily find one within your budget. Fortunately, the laws can be pretty lax when it comes to windshields. There are also versions you can remove when you are driving off-road, which is a good option as well.
There are only a few states that require a speedometer and if yours doesn’t, then you are lucky. Installing a speedometer can be quite tricky so you might want to invest in a quad that has one pre-installed. If you do need to modify your vehicle, then you might want to buy an OEM version that has very specific installation instructions that will not damage your ATV’s internals.
What Else Is Required To Legalize Your Quad
You will need more than just modifying your ATV or UTV in order to drive it out on the street. These are not that dissimilar to what you would need when you want to drive a car, but it will make it easier for you to simply get on your quad and speed off wherever you want to go.
This is not a requirement when you are driving off-road, but to join other cars out on the street, you will need to have insurance on your vehicle. It is much like getting insurance for your car, although certain companies specialize in ATVs and UTVs. These might also be cheaper than car insurance.
- Title and Registration
When driving on the road with your quad, you can certainly expect to be pulled over more often than when you are driving a car. When this happens, you will also need to show your vehicle’s registration and a title to prove that you own it. So not only will you need these documents, but you will need to bring them with you when you are taking your quad for a ride.
- Driver’s License
Some states will not actually require a driver’s license to operate an ATV or UTV but because these vehicles are not very commonly used on the streets, cops might ask you for your license. In some states, a license is also required when driving off-road. If you anyways have a license, you only need to make sure you have it with you at all times.
- License Plates
This is a pretty common requirement, so it is best to just ask at your local DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) office or Department of Licensing about getting one for your quad.
The last step in legalizing your ATV or UTV is going through an inspection which is done at the Department of Licensing or in certain states, at the Federal Land or National Park Administration. You will need to call in ahead and ask about the process and you will get the necessary information to have the inspection done.
How Much Will It Cost To Legalize Your Quad
The answer to this question depends highly on the laws and regulations of your state. If you need to have more extras installed, then you can expect to pay more, but it should probably not go over $700. If your state has loose regulations, then it will only cost you around $300.
The price will also depend on where you get the modifications, but investing in good quality will be worth it if it makes it safer for you to drive on busy streets. You can also opt to pay someone to install these modifications, which may cost more but make it easier for you if you are not very handy.
It might not be as common to see ATVs or UTVs being driven on the streets, but it does not mean that you cannot do it. It surely does make sense for those who need to drive a little bit to where they can do their off-road driving, especially if you have no big car to transport your quad. With a little bit of work, you can make your vehicle safe enough and approved for use on public roads.
- How to Be Safe on an All Terrain Vehicle – WikiHow