Making A UTV Street Legal: The Ultimate Guide


Making A UTV Street Legal

Have you ever wanted to drive your UTV on the road? UTV lovers have always wanted to drive their beloved vehicles daily. If you own a UTV and love to ride it, you know exactly what we are talking about. But being an off-road recreational vehicle, authorities don’t allow UTVs to be on the streets in stock mode. Stock UTVs do not meet the necessary requirements to be legally driven in the streets. 

You need to do a few tweaks to get them legalized before you can drive them. Mostly to do the body modification, you need headlights, taillights, rearview mirrors, lighted license plate, windshield, speedometer, horn, turn signals, mudflaps, etc. Most importantly, you need to know all the street laws of your locality. 

Also, you need a valid driver’s license to drive a UTV on the street. If you can check all the boxes mentioned above, you can make your UTV street legal and drive everywhere. This is a dream come true for every UTV owner. 

Why are stock UTVs not street legal?

UTVs are not made for driving on the day-to-day street. Its sole purpose is for recreation. Mostly for driving through the off-road mountain like terrains. Through dirt, stone, and other terrains, UTVs are for your recreation. 

The one thing that UTV manufacturers keep in mind that the fun and thrill of driving a UTV has to be the top concern. Other concerns are not important. But to drive any vehicle on the streets, the most important factor is safety regulations. 

In the case of a very random sedan, every vehicle must go through a fitness check to see whether it’s safe to drive on the road for the driver and the other people traveling on the roads or not. So, no vehicle gets a clearance unless it can assure complete safety. 

UTV manufacturers do not give any attention to safety. Yes, they are safe in their own way. For instance, UTVs are made in such a way that they can remain on their wheels and not turn over. Manufacturers work on factors like balance, tire grip, engine power, and whatnot. 

But these are not daily safety regulations. The daily safety regulations are having headlights and taillights, having a horn, a windshield, having working turn signals, etc.

So, what actually does a street-legal vehicle mean? It means a vehicle that complies with all the necessary safety measures. A stock UTV does not do that. That’s why knowing the process of making a UTV street legal is important. 

In which states you can never drive a UTV?

In most states, if you make some necessary tweaks, you can drive a UTV on the road. But some states strictly don’t allow the use of UTV on public roads, no matter how safe you make it. So, if you live in one of the following states, forget about making your UTV street legal ever. 

  • Alabama
  • Delaware
  • Georgia
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • New Jersey
  • North Carolina
  • Oregon
  • South Carolina
  • Texas (you have to be a farmer)

So, these are the states that doesn’t give you the chance of legalizing your UTV. Again, if you live in any of the states mentioned above, you should leave your UTV as it is. No amount of modification can make these states let you drive your UTV on the streets.

Do all the states have the same law?

Every state in America has a different law and different angle of almost everything. Something can be strictly prohibited in a state, whereas it can be completely legal in the neighboring state. That means each state has a different law about UTVs.

Some states offer registration for UTV without doing any modification and limit the usage to some roads only. On the other hand, some states let you drive almost everywhere after doing a lot of modifications. 

So, you can’t expect to overcome all the states’ laws with the same guide, can you?

How to find out the street-legal law according to the state?

You can find the laws of your states on the internet. All you have to do is search by the keyword, “requirements of making UTV legal in ………” fill in the gap with your state’s name. 

Also, to get accurate knowledge, we would suggest you go to the local authorities. They can provide you with all and accurate information.

How much does it cost to make a UTV street legal?

This is a very subjective question to provide an answer to. You can’t really set a price on how much it will cost. For every individual, the cost can come out differently.

If you modify the question a bit and ask what could be the least cost of making a UTV street legal, it might be answerable. But still not exact. 

Approximately, to make a UTV street legal, if you opt for the cheapest parts possible, it will cost you about $1000. The numbers can go as high as $5000 depending on your choice of parts to use.

Now that you know how much you need, let’s find out what you will spend the money. 

How to make your UTV street legal?

The answer is, yes, you can. This article has researched all the legalizing ways and created a complete guide that shows you how to make your UTV street legal for almost every state out there. 

To make any vehicle legal, first, you have to register it. UTV does not fulfill all the regulations that can let you register the vehicle as your daily using car. 

So, from this point onwards, follow every single pointer to make your UTV registration worthy. After that, you can drive it as much as you want and wherever you want. 

Installing headlights

The first thing to do is to install a pair of headlights on the UTV. There are some models of UTVs that come with headlights. If yours has headlights, all you have to do is find out the minimum and maximum candela limit according to your state laws. 

Every state has a brightness limit. You can’t install a headlight that potentially can blind the driver coming from the opposite direction, or it doesn’t have enough power for you to see anything.

Driving a car routinely means driving it through day and night. And headlights are mandatory for driving after sundown.

Also, headlights have other purposes like giving signals to other drivers. So, the first modification you will have to do is install headlights. It will cost you around $250 to $750.

Installing Taillights

Imagine you’re driving a car and you suddenly hit the brakes. The car behind you didn’t stop and hit your car. When you asked him why he did it, he answered that your taillights didn’t work.

The purpose of having taillights it giving a signal to the vehicle behind that you are braking. UTVs don’t have taillights. If you don’t install taillights to your UTV, any car will hit you from the back. It will make both of you lose money and might cause severe accidents.

So, when you’re installing headlights, install taillights too. Taillight assembly can cost between $200 to $2000. It’s just a matter of the design and quality.

Indicators

While making a turn or changing lane in a busy road, if you don’t indicate the direction using the signal lights of your car, no car will give you side and let you pass, or if you start straying to one side, the car behind would not understand what’s happening, and it will cause fatality.

So, for every vehicle that’s on the road, having signal lights or indicators are important. A UTV tuns signal kit can cost around $120.

Windshield

Two words, wind and shied, explains the purpose of having a windshield in every car. It’s a plate of clear transparent glass that protects you from the stream of wind. While you drive a car with a windshield, you can definitely see that a lot of o things hit the glass, like bugs, dust, dirt, water, etc. 

If the windshield wasn’t there, everything would’ve just hit your face and disrupt your sight. A small bug in your eye while driving is enough to cause an accident that might kill you. 

Though not all states maintain this strictly, you can always have a rotatable windshield. It’s safe even it’s not necessary for legalizing UTVs.

The cheapest windshield that you can get for your UTV starts from $69.99.

Rearview mirrors

UTVs don’t come with rearview mirrors because you don’t have to see or measure other vehicles’ distance. In standard driving, it’s a must to have rearview mirrors so that you can see the cars behind you on both sides to understand the gap between the cars.

Installing rearview mirrors in UTVs is not a piece of cake. There are no slots. You need a proper installation kit if you want to install it yourself, or you can just take it to a body modification shop, and they will install the mirrors for you. 

Depending on the model of your UTV, the rearview mirrors can cost within the ballpark of $250.

Installing Horns

In recreational off-road driving, there is no traffic. You don’t need a horn to make a sound for people to let you pass. No people are crossing the road suddenly while you will be driving your UTV in off-roads for fun.

But we are talking about driving a UTV on crowded roads. You will need a horn. Some states may give you a ticket on normal cars if you don’t have a working horn in your car. 

The average car horn price is less than $100. If you include the labor cost, it can go up to $150 without taxes.

Muffler

UTVs are loud. They have very loud engines that make a lot of noise. There are places in front of which you cannot make any car noise in the streets. A hospital, a graveyard, a funeral home, a school, a church, etc. 

Also, a loud sound is very disturbing for everyone else on the road. For some states, this tweak is mandatory. Not for all, though. Still, it’s a gentleman’s choice to put a muffler on the exhaust to reduce the noise.

The cheapest muffler can be as low as $100, and the high-end mufflers are usually priced between $400 to $500.

Car tires

UTVs have off-road tires. Most states don’t need to make changes to the stock tires or the off-road tires. But you can replace them with terrain class tires for better grip.

It’s not a mandatory step for legalizing a UTV. It’s a safety concern. 

License plate

All registered street-legal vehicles owned by someone have a license plate, which is proof of its registration itself. 

After crossing all the t’s and dotting all the i’s, you will get the chance to register the UTV as a street-legal vehicle. You will get a registration number just like every other vehicle. So, your car has to carry that number just like any other vehicle. 

So, having a license plate is mandatory.

Car insurance

Having car insurance is mandatory. It’s a way for you to save yourself from the trouble of spending money, both a lot or less. 

UTVs are dangerous vehicles by nature. You can never know when you might face any accidents that might damage the car. So, having car insurance is wise.

Also, you might get a ticket if you don’t have an insured car. So, make sure you have car insurance after registering the vehicle.

So, these are the mandatory tweaks that you need to make your UTV street legal. Although, not all states will require all these modifications. You can find out each individually by talking to the local authorities. 

But if you want all the boxes checked, this is the guide you can follow.

Additional tip

UTVs will always be illegal to drive unless you make these adjustments. That’s why whenever you are going out, you might be stopped more frequently by cops than other vehicles. So, never forget to carry every piece of paper that proves your UTV has passed all the state’s requirements and is registered to drive on the street. 

Frequently asked questions

Question 1. What is the most reliable UTV on the market?

Answer: You can’t really mention one specific model because there are so many good models, and everyone has a different taste. But according to quality and other standards, UTVs from Ranger would be my number one choice.

Question 2. Is it illegal to ride an UTV without a helmet?

Answer: the rule is that if you are below 18 years old, you have to wear a helmet while driving an UTV. But for safety reasons, everyone should wear a helmet while driving an UTV.

Question 3. Do you need a helmet for a UTV?

Answer: For off-roading, yes, you definitely need a helmet. But while driving in legal streets like a daily car, you don’t have to wear a helmet.

Final words

Making a UTV street legal is not easy work. It takes a lot of labor and money. If you ask me whether I would do it or not as a UTV lover, I would say yes. It will be worth it. 

If you really want your UTV to be your daily driving vehicle, follow the requirements mentioned above and make your UTV street legal right away.

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I'm Jason and in my blog, I nearly talk about everything about UTVs. Working as a Mechanic love to test out UTVs and all their accessories. Love enjoying my work and my blog.

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