1. #1
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    Phoenix Arizona modified exhaust law.

    Hello everyone, I wanted to ask a quick question as I am having absolutely no luck searching here or by google/state site. My question is about a modified exhaust. I will be moving to Phoenix, Arizona soon and I planned to put a modified exhaust kit onto my car. The kit is 50 state legal and will also pass all emission laws. My question is under normal legal driving conditions is a modified exhaust illegal? Or would it fall under discretion of the officer as citeable? Thank you for any and all help.

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    disregard, sorry
    Last edited by papajb; 01-10-2009 at 02:42 PM. Reason: wrong info
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    28-955. Mufflers; noise and air pollution prevention; emissions control devices; civil penalty; exception

    A. A motor vehicle shall be equipped at all times with a muffler that is in good working order and that is in constant operation to prevent excessive or unusual noise.

    B. A person shall not use a muffler cutout, bypass or similar device on a motor vehicle on a highway.

    C. The engine and power mechanism of a motor vehicle shall be equipped and adjusted to prevent the escape of excessive fumes or smoke.

    D. Beginning with motor vehicles and motor vehicle engines of the 1968 model year, motor vehicles and motor vehicle engines shall be equipped with emissions control devices that meet the standards established by the director of environmental quality.

    E. A person who violates this section is subject to a civil penalty of at least one hundred dollars.

    F. This section does not apply to an electrically powered motor vehicle.
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    A company will advertise to you that it is "50 state legal"...however unless it comes from the factory and is OEM and under federal law guidelines, then technically it is not "50 state legal".

    Now with that being said, if it is not overly obnoxious, you more than likely will not be hassled by law enforcement.
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    I'm curious about this as well.
    Quote Originally Posted by Omega17632 View Post
    A company will advertise to you that it is "50 state legal"...however unless it comes from the factory and is OEM and under federal law guidelines, then technically it is not "50 state legal".
    Could you elaborate on this?

    I understand that some states set their own emission standards but if an aftermarket exhaust system meets these requirements for all fifty states and doesn't violate state law regarding sound then how would it not be legal?

    From the Borla Performance Industries (exhaust) website:
    Q. Will it void my factory warranty?
    NO. Some cars even have BORLA systems as the OEM exhaust. All of our street Cat-Backs™, Rear Sections and Mufflers are 50-state emissions legal. In fact, it is illegal for a dealer to deny you the OE warranty because you have changed the exhaust system.
    Are you saying that, as an example, if someone installs an aftermarket Borla street Cat-Back™ exhaust system that meets the legal sound limit for all states, it is illegal?

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    See SgtCHP's post for the statute. "50-state legal" may have different connotations. What specifically is "legal" about it? Emissions? You'll be required to pass emissions testing in the Metro Phoenix area, anyway? Why would a cop care about that? You car's registered - that means the vehicle passed. If you're more concerned about noise, that's a subjective decision made by each officer. If it were not, there would be a section of the statute that lists permissible dB ranges.
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    If an auto manufacturer teams up with an aftermarket exhaust company, and it is installed from the factory, then that is considered OEM.

    And that is incorrect about it being illegal to deny a claim based on if you changed the exhaust....if the dealer/service shop can prove that by changing/altering the stock exhaust to an aftermarket exhaust caused a malfunction, they then can deny your claim and void your warranty.

    These companies make products that they want consumer's to purchase. I am not calling any of them shadey, or saying anything bad about any company at all. I am just simply stating that any company can claim that it is 50 state legal, but i'm fairly certain if you look on the fine print somewhere it'll state "check your local laws" or something to that effect.

    That's correct, that regarding the volume level produced and whether or not it is excessive is subjective and determined by the individual officer.
    Last edited by Omega17632; 01-13-2009 at 04:53 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Omega17632
    If an auto manufacturer teams up with an aftermarket exhaust company, and it is installed from the factory, then that is considered OEM.
    I know and understand this and I'm not questioning it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Omega17632
    And that is incorrect about it being illegal to deny a claim based on if you changed the exhaust....if the dealer/service shop can prove that by changing/altering the stock exhaust to an aftermarket exhaust caused a malfunction, they then can deny your claim and void your warranty.
    I'm not questioning this either.

    Quote Originally Posted by Omega17632
    These companies make products that they want consumer's to purchase. I am not calling any of them shadey, or saying anything bad about any company at all. I am just simply stating that any company can claim that it is 50 state legal, but i'm fairly certain if you look on the fine print somewhere it'll state "check your local laws" or something to that effect.
    I guess I'm not understanding what you would be checking the fine print for. If the exhaust has been tested and meets all the required laws regarding emissions and sound volume for a particular state then how could that exhaust be illegal in said state?

    Quote Originally Posted by Omega17632
    That's correct, that regarding the volume level produced and whether or not it is excessive is subjective and determined by the individual officer.
    So the individual officer is the one that determines what the acceptable volume of an aftermarket exhaust is? How could that be enforced and how would that law be worded? Do officers receive special training in regards to sound levels and pressure, refraction and/or reflection of sound or how to accurately measure decibels with just their ear? I'm just curious because that sounds completely arbitrary.

    In California we have a law that states the maximum decibels allowed.
    Quote Originally Posted by California Vehicle Code
    § 27151. (a) No person shall modify the exhaust system of a motor vehicle in a manner which will amplify or increase the noise emitted by the motor of the vehicle so that the vehicle is not in compliance with the provisions of Section 27150 or exceeds the noise limits established for the type of vehicle in Article 2.5 (commencing with Section 27200). No person shall operate a motor vehicle with an exhaust system so modified.

    (b) For the purposes of exhaust systems installed on motor vehicles with a manufacturer's gross vehicle weight rating of less than 6,000 pounds, other than motorcycles, a sound level of 95 dbA or less, when tested in accordance with Society of Automotive Engineers Standard J1169 May 1998, complies with this section. Motor vehicle exhaust systems or parts thereof include, but are not limited to, nonoriginal exhaust equipment.
    If a vehicle is thought to be in violation of this sound level it is sent to a SMOG referee station where the sound level is measured in a standard way using electronic equipment.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mobtown View Post
    So the individual officer is the one that determines what the acceptable volume of an aftermarket exhaust is?
    No. The officer is the one that determines when he will issue a citation for the alleged violation. The Traffic Hearing Officer is the one who determines whether it is "acceptable" or not. It all depends on the officer's testimony if the defendant goes to court.
    Quote Originally Posted by mobtown View Post
    How could that be enforced and how would that law be worded?
    Did you READ the statute that SgtCHP listed above?
    Quote Originally Posted by mobtown View Post
    Do officers receive special training in regards to sound levels and pressure, refraction and/or reflection of sound or how to accurately measure decibels with just their ear?
    As you can see, if you read above, there is no decibel requirement. Just like subsection C indicates fumes or smoke can be "excessive," there is no quantitative measurement required to issue a citation. The officer has to articulate why the smoke, fumes, noise levels are "excessive." Basically, we must convince the Hearing Officer.

    Quote Originally Posted by mobtown View Post
    In California we have a law that states the maximum decibels allowed.
    Since we're not talking about California, it doesn't much matter then what their law is.....
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    Thank you everyone, great help. So basically as I understand (please correct if wrong) I can go to the exhaust system I want so long as it passes the emissions test, and isn't obnoxiously loud (much more so than stock exhaust). I drive kinda like a grandma to be honest lol. So in that context an officer wouldn't care as long as I am obeying traffic laws. So essentially putting that exhaust on would be fine. Also thank you for clarifying about the db ranges, that is what I thought but wasn't sure.

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    50 state legal?

    I'm not a stickler when it comes to exhaust. As long as it doesn't leak and doesn't sound outrageously loud, and as long as it has mufflers of some description (not including glasspacks or chambered exhaust, they are illegal, and turbos on desels are not mufflers, nor are cats in any case considered "mufflers") ... I don't hassle them.

    But, technically speaking and from the perspective of an officer who maybe works in a city and who hears more of them goosed between rows of buildings and such ... if it ain't factory or a comperable replacement for factory, it ain't "50 state legal".

    Here in Va. for example, straight exhaust will pass vehicle safety inspections as long as it does not l;eak and exits past the passenger compartment and is in good repair, but noise is another matter, not safety. There are Va. code sections § 46.2-1047 - 1050 dealing with them that the officer on the road will be looking at.

    Feel free to peruse the link.
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    Thanks again. An assessment of how I drive is basically all gears below 2k rpm. Well below the powerband for the vehicle and well out of the range where the octave level produced by the car would exceed standard equiptment. The tone would change yes however the decibel level would not. These are true mufflers and not glasspacks either (though the redneck in me is very tempted by that lol) On a side note while looking at the link I noticed about the hood scoop law, one of the factory hoods available/standard on my car would be technically illegal but since it's a factory part that comes standard (the KR version and SS version of my car come standard) it wouldn't be illegal am I correct?

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    Maybe this'll help---- I once went on a call where a very nice, old woman was complaining about a neighbor's hot rod being too loud. She said his car rattled her windows as he drove by and she was VERY annoyed at it, but admitted it wasn't a common occurrence.
    I went to the guys house, spoke to him at some length & explained the whole situation ( neighbor , muffler law, etc.). He apoliogized, saying his car is making more than 1000HP & even though it DID have mufflers (Flowmasters to be exact) he felt he was within the law. Since I didn't observe the violation a simple warning like this was in order & really the only solution...
    I went back to my complainant & explained everything, including his apologizing for the whole event. She conceded that something like that (1000HP) would have to generate some noise & SHE now apologized for making the complaint.
    The point is,here in Az. the muffler law IS subjective as far as noise goes & perhaps the "big picture" needs to be looked at before any citations are issued. Being a self-confessed "gearhead" I am more tolerant of this kind of noise BUT I've also done the hot-rodding thing for a very long time & know full-well when some POS car & its owner just want to make noise & when a vehicle owner is trying to control noise & is only marginally omplying...

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    Quote Originally Posted by hemicop View Post
    Maybe this'll help---- I once went on a call where a very nice, old woman was complaining about a neighbor's hot rod being too loud. She said his car rattled her windows as he drove by and she was VERY annoyed at it, but admitted it wasn't a common occurrence.
    I went to the guys house, spoke to him at some length & explained the whole situation ( neighbor , muffler law, etc.). He apoliogized, saying his car is making more than 1000HP & even though it DID have mufflers (Flowmasters to be exact) he felt he was within the law. Since I didn't observe the violation a simple warning like this was in order & really the only solution...
    I went back to my complainant & explained everything, including his apologizing for the whole event. She conceded that something like that (1000HP) would have to generate some noise & SHE now apologized for making the complaint.
    The point is,here in Az. the muffler law IS subjective as far as noise goes & perhaps the "big picture" needs to be looked at before any citations are issued. Being a self-confessed "gearhead" I am more tolerant of this kind of noise BUT I've also done the hot-rodding thing for a very long time & know full-well when some POS car & its owner just want to make noise & when a vehicle owner is trying to control noise & is only marginally omplying...
    I agree with you, sometimes we do mod to a point where we try and keep our vehicles legal and do so with the parts but the sheer amount of power these machines can produce can push things in ways we don't care for in some respects. I plan on getting Bassani Headers coupled with their exhaust and mufflers. So the exhaust will be very tuned and well within normal operating limits. I've seen guys with "fartcan" exhausts who dart in and out of every corner and go WOT everywhere. There's no reason for either and it does nothing but anger and endanger everyone else. There's a lovely place called a Drag Strip or Race Course where you can do all of that you like. I wont lie, i've done my share of stupid things, (I am a redneck, were not known for our bright ideas) but your not impressing anyone by acting like a fool on the street. Take it to the track for that, drive like your actually trying to get to your destination while on the street. It seems like the situation you described is becoming less and less common. No one seems to care about the other person anymore and only about themselves. Thank you all again for your help, it's been nothing but great information that has really helped out.

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