Making A UTV Street Legal: The Definitive Answer

Making A UTV Street Legal: The Definitive Answer

While your UTV and ATV are really intended for driving off-road, lots of people want to ride theirs on the road.

Unfortunately, without taking the right steps you can’t just drive these machines on the road. In most cases, you need to modify them so that you can use it as a regular vehicle without being pulled over by the police.

Perhaps one of the most important things to remember is the laws in your state. Doing so will give you guidance on how to modify your UTV so that it is compliant with legal requirements.

Lots of states allow you to ride your on the road however you’ll still need to do some modifications before you can drive on the road, legally.

Having a street legal UTV or ATV has become the desire of many quad enthusiasts. There is something very appealing about being able to hop into your UTV and drive straight to your favorite trail from your very own garage.

Irrespective of what your reasons are, thanks to the increasing popularity of ATVs and UTVs, local authorities are creating legal provisions in order to make this possible.

In the following guide, we’ll take a look at how you can get your UTV street legal.

What states can you make a UTV street legal?

Perhaps every UTV enthusiast’s dream come true would be to ride their UTV legally on the streets.

Well, the good news is that it’s legal to do so and almost half of the United States and there are a few companies that create street legal kits for your ATVs and UTVs.

Your UTVs and ATVs already come with most of the requirements such as seatbelts, headlights, mufflers, taillights and brake lights.

OHV-friendly states such as West Virginia allow OHVs to travel city streets on the Hatfield McCoy trail system and Utah passed a law making UTVs legal on every street except for interstates.

The good news is that most states allow towns and counties to set their own standards and Utah, Arizona, Minnesota, Texas, Nevada, Wyoming, Idaho, Kansas, Indiana, North and South Dakota, Montana, Washington, Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin, Vermont, Nebraska, Tennessee, and New Hampshire as well as Colorado have laws that allow street legalization of OHVs.

Can side by side be street legal?

The short answer is yes, it most differently can. However, in order to get your side-by-side street legal, you’re going to have to invest in a few accessories and components in order to meet federal and state requirements.

Perhaps the only challenge is that there isn’t a universal list that you can go by to meet on-highway vehicle requirements.

All states are different and some counties and municipalities may also differ so the best approach before you start spending any money or trying to convert your UTV to become street legal is to check with your state’s motor vehicle department to find that it is even possible to have your UTV street legal.

Also, check with your area or community that you’ll be driving in to ensure that there are no additional or special requirements beyond what the state lists.

After doing your due diligence and if you find that it is possible to register your vehicle for highway use, then you need to start making a list of everything that’s required and start modding your machine.

Common Requirements

Common Requirements

Headlights

Every state requires vehicles to have headlamps. However, each state has its own different requirements so researching the rules before buying your kit is the best step to take.

If your ATV or UTV has headlights, you should slowly check the rules to ensure that you are on the right track.

Taillights

You don’t just need lights in the front but also in the back. Ultimately this makes it possible for the cars behind you to brake accordingly.

While some states will require them to be light those on ordinary vehicles, you still need to find out the requirements of your specific state since any pre-installed taillights may be considered insufficient. So double-check with your state’s laws.

Turn signals

This is not a requirement in every state however some states require installed turn signals. So ensure that they work properly so that if you get pulled over, it wouldn’t be a problem.

You might not use turn signals as often however it is still imperative to ensure that they are functioning as often as they should. They’re quite easy to install and kits can be easily purchased online.

All you need to do is purchase the sets which are attached to your ATV or UTV. There is also an included switch that turns the lights on.

Horn

Horns are not really required to make your ATV or UTV street legal, however, it can be truly helpful when it comes to preventing accidents especially when you’re driving in a busy street.

There are several turn signal installation kits that have the horns included so you won’t have to purchase it separately.

Rearview mirrors

Another upgrade that’s designed to make driving your UTV in the streets much safer and more secure is rearview mirrors.

Some states may require that you have it installed on the left-hand side of the states and in other states, you would need a full size a full set to legalize your ATV or UTV.

Installing this accessory is a bit more complicated than other UTV modifications. So it is recommended that you purchase the installation kit.

Some can be attached to the handlebars, however, this may not be allowed in your state. So study the regulations carefully before spending money on a kit.

Muffler

MUFFLER

UTVs and ATVs are very loud and this may annoy other drivers and pedestrians. Some installing mufflers will make them quiet.

Some states may also have strict requirements when it comes to gas emissions on the street so check the emission laws in your locality.

Windshield

Your windshield is not just helpful in keeping bugs out of the vehicle but it can prevent other types of debris and strong wind as well. There are quite a few options for windshields that include glass and plastic options.

You can find one within your budget quite easily. Fortunately, the laws can be pretty lax with windshields. They are also versions that can be removed when you’re driving off the road which is a good option to have.

Speedometer

There are just a few states that require speedometers and if yours doesn’t, then you are one of the lucky ones. Installing a speedometer is quite tricky so you may want to invest in a UTV that has one already.

If you do need to modify your vehicle, then you may want to buy an OEM version that has very specific installation instructions in order to avoid damaging your ATVs internals.

License plate mount and light

If you have your UTV registered for the streets you’re going to need a way to properly and securely display the license plate. Lots of states require that the license plate be mounted on the back of the vehicle.

If you’re driving a UTV then they usually have roll cages with tabs welded to them so they can be bolstered to the frame. So when operating the vehicle during the night, the low light conditions will require the plates to be illuminated so those behind it can see the registration.

Some kits come with a small white light to illuminate the plate, however, if yours does not, then there are quite a few solutions that are simple such as an LED strip to illuminate the plate.

Additional Tips

Additional Tips

In order to drive your ATV you to the street, you need more than just modifications to the vehicle. The additional requirements are similar to what is required in order to drive a car and it will make it easier to get you your vehicle on the road.

Insurance

Insurance is not a requirement for driving your UTV off-road but is a prerequisite to join other vehicles on the highway.

This is because you will need to have insurance for the road, although some companies specialize in insurance specifically for UTVs and ATVs. This may also be cheaper.

Title and registration

When driving a quad, you can definitely expect to get pulled over more often than if you are driving an ordinary car.

When this happens, you need to show your vehicle registration and the title to prove that you own it. These documents will need to be taken along with you each time to get onto the roads.

Drivers license

While some states may not actually require a driver’s license to operate your UTV or ATV, since these vehicles are not commonly used on the streets, some police officers may ask you for your license quite often when driving in some states.

In most cases, you probably already have a driver’s license all you need to do now is ensure that you have it on hand every time you drive your UTV.

License plates

This is a pretty common requirement and it’s good to go into your local DMV and just inquire about it if you are driving a quad on the road.

Inspection

This is the last step in getting your UTV street legalized and requires going to an inspection that is done at the department of licensing or in some states at the Federal land national park administration.

You need to make an appointment and ask about the process and you’ll get the necessary information regarding the inspection. You might need a utv ramp to transport it.

How much does it cost to get your UTV or ATV street legal?

How Much Does It Cost To Get Your UTV Or ATV Street Legal?

The answer to this question will vary significantly depending on the regulations and laws of your specific state.

If you need to have additional modifications then you can expect to pay more but it should probably never ever cost you more than $700. If your state has quite lax regulations, then it will probably cost you more like $300.

This price, however, will depend on where you get the modifications and by investing in good quality parts, it will make your vehicle safe to drive in the streets.

You can also opt to pay someone to get these upgrades done for you. It may cost more but it makes it easier if you are not a very technical or handy person.

It’s not common to see UTVs or ATVs be driven on the street however this does not mean that you can’t do it.

It makes sense for those who need to drive quite a distance to where they can actually use their off-road vehicle,  especially if you have no large vehicle to transport our UTV.

It does take a bit of time, investment and work however if you have your mind set on riding your UTV on the road, then you can get it street legal and approved for use on public roads in no time at all.

Conclusion

The decision to make your UTV or ATV street legal ultimately lies with you. There are lots of benefits to having our UTV made street legal.

However, if you live in a state that does not make it possible to have your UTV street legal, then you should not invest the time and money in trying to do so. This is because there is no actual way to legally drive your quad on the street.

However, if it is possible to have your UTV street legal in your state, and you don’t have any way to transport you UTV to off-road trails, and this is one of the best ways to make life more convenient for you.

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1 thought on “Making A UTV Street Legal: The Definitive Answer”

  1. Read West Virginia’s Senate Bill 690 article 13, that’s been signed and passed that goes in effect Jun 5, 2020, I am trying to to find info from DMV.. Got mine 2018 Polaris General street legal, signals , horn, lic plate bracket, $250.00 ready to go, that’s what the bill says to do, but not much info on how to get tags other than to license like a motorcycle, COVID19 got our DMV shut down right now, Anyone having info would be great news, thanks, bsafe

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