Are Straight Pipe Exhausts Illegal? [TX, OK, NC, FL, LA, CA, OH, WI…]


Are Straight Pipe Exhausts Illegal? [TX, OK, NC, FL, LA, CA, OH, WI...]

Straight pipes on cars or motorcycles are one of those you either hate it or you love it types of ordeals. It is very rare to find a person that is indifferent about straight pipes. This is because straight pipes themselves are loud, in your face, or should we say ear, and are hard to ignore. It is difficult to stay neutral about something hard to ignore.

When it comes to straight pipes, some states are stricter than others.

Curious to see which end of the spectrum your state lies on? Let’s find out!

Straight Pipes | What is the Big Deal?

One of the main reasons why people install straight pipe exhaust systems to their cars is because they want to simply enhance their vehicle’s overall performance.

Straight pipes are usually used on racing cars where performance is key to winning battles. Straight pipes will not restrict any gas flow which will allow the vehicle to go faster hence enhancing the car’s performance.

Where Does Your State Stand?

●     Texas

  • 547.604
  • Muffler required
  • Yes, you read right, Texas. In the big state, they note “A motor vehicle shall be equipped with a muffler in good working condition that continually operates to prevent excessive or unusual noise.”
  • Also, “A person may not use a muffler cutout, bypass, or similar device on a motor vehicle.
  • Texas may be laxer with their guns law but they are not joking around when it comes to straight pipes; mufflers are required.

●     North Carolina:

  • 20-128
  • Exhaust system and emissions control devices
  • The state of North Caroline notes “No person shall drive a motor vehicle on a highway unless such motor vehicle is equipped with a muffler, or other exhaust systems of the type installed at the time of manufacture, in good working order and in constant operation to prevent excessive or unusual noise, annoying smoke, and smoke screens.”
  • Also, “ It shall be unlawful to use a ‘muffler cut-out’ on any motor vehicle upon a highway.”
  • Also, make sure to check what year your vehicle was manufactured, “No motor vehicle registered in this State that was manufactured after the model year 1967 shall be operated in this State unless it is equipped with emissions control devices that were installed on the vehicle at the time the vehicle was manufactured and these devices are properly connected.”
  • Lastly, “The requirements of subsection (c) of this section shall not apply if the emissions control devices have been removed to convert the motor vehicle to operate on natural or liquefied petroleum gas or other modifications have been made to reduce air pollution and these modifications are approved by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.”

●     Louisiana

  • 32:352.
  • Mufflers; requirements; prevention of excessive noise, fumes, and smoke
  • Here is what Louisiana has to say about straight pipes:
  • “Every motor vehicle shall at all times be equipped with a muffler in good working order and in constant operation to prevent excessive or unusual noise.”
  • “No person shall use a muffler cut-out, bypass, or similar device upon a motor vehicle on a highway of this state.”
  • “The engine and power mechanism of every motor vehicle shall be so equipped and adjusted to prevent the escape of excessive fumes or smoke.”
  • Also: 32:353. Modification of exhaust systems: “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 such vehicle, above that emitted by the muffler originally installed on the vehicle and the original muffler shall comply with all of the requirements of R.S. 32:352.

●     Ohio

  • 4513.22.
  • Mufflers; excessive smoke or gas
  • The state of Ohio takes smoke pollution very seriously:
  • “Every motor vehicle and motorcycle with an internal combustion engine shall at all times be equipped with a muffler which is in good working order and in constant operation to prevent excessive or unusual noise, and no person shall use a muffler cutout, by-pass, or similar device upon a motor vehicle on a highway. Every motorcycle muffler shall be equipped with baffle plates.”
  • “No person shall own, operate, or have in the person’s possession any motor vehicle or motorcycle equipped with a device for producing excessive smoke or gas, or so equipped as to permit oil or any other chemical to flow into or upon the exhaust pipe or muffler of such vehicle, or equipped in any other way to produce or emit smoke or dangerous or annoying gases from any portion of such vehicle, other than the ordinary gases emitted by the exhaust of an internal combustion engine under normal operation.”

●     Florida

  • 316.272
  • Exhaust systems, prevention of noise
  • Florida notes “Every motor vehicle shall at all times be equipped with an exhaust system in good working order and constant operation, including the muffler, manifold pipe, and tailpipe to prevent excessive or unusual noise. In no event shall an exhaust system allow noise at a level that exceeds a maximum decibel level to be established by a regulation of the Department of Environmental Protection as provided in s. 403.061(11) in cooperation with the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. No person shall use a muffler cutout, bypass, or similar device upon a vehicle on a highway.”
  • “The engine and power mechanism of every motor vehicle shall be so equipped and adjusted as to prevent the escape of excessive fumes or smoke.”

●     Iowa

  • 321.436
  • Mufflers, prevention of noise.
  • Iowa’s stance is short and sweet “Every motor vehicle shall at all times be equipped with a muffler in good working order and in constant operation to prevent excessive or unusual noise and annoying smoke, and no person shall use a muffler cutout, bypass or similar device upon a motor vehicle on a highway.”

●     Kentucky

  • 189.020
  • Equipment of vehicle [must] not be a nuisance or menace
  • “Every vehicle when on a highway shall be so equipped as to make a minimum of noise, smoke, or other nuisance, to protect the rights of other traffic, and to promote the public safety.”

●     Oklahoma

  • 12-402
  • Mufflers, prevention of noise
  • “ Every vehicle shall be equipped, maintained, and operated to prevent excessive or unusual noise. Every motor vehicle shall at all times be equipped with a muffler or other effective noise-suppressing system in good working order and constant operation, and no person shall use a muffler cut-out, bypass, or similar device. No person shall modify the exhaust system of a motor vehicle in any manner which will amplify or increase the noise or sound emitted louder than that emitted by the muffler originally installed on the vehicle.”
  • “The engine and power mechanism of every motor vehicle shall be so equipped and adjusted as to prevent the escape of excessive fumes or smoke, or both.”

●     California

  • 27150.
  • Muffler required
  • “Every motor vehicle subject to registration shall at all times be equipped with an adequate muffler in constant operation and properly maintained to prevent any excessive or unusual noise, and no muffler or exhaust system shall be equipped with a cutout, bypass, or similar device.”

●     Wisconsin

  • 347.39
  • Mufflers
  • “No person shall operate on a highway any motor vehicle subject to registration unless such motor vehicle is equipped with an adequate muffler in constant operation and properly maintained to prevent any excessive or unusual noise or annoying smoke. This subsection also applies to motor bicycles.”

The Takeaway | Where Do You Stand?

How strict straight pipes laws solely depend on the state in which you live or are planning to travel to. Do keep in mind that this is just where the rules stand now and that they can be subject to change.

Kern Campbell

I've had a passion for four-wheel-drive vehicles since I was a kid riding in the back seat of my Grandfather's Jeep Grand Wagoneer. I have owned a lot of vehicles over the years. They each have their pros and cons and I look forward to sharing my knowledge with you so you can find the vehicle that's just right for your needs.

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Are Straight Pipe Exhausts Illegal? [TX, OK, NC, FL, LA, CA, OH, WI...]