WHAT MAKES AN ATV OR UTV STREET LEGAL?
After all of that tedious paperwork has been taken care of, it’s time to add the aftermarket parts that are required to keep you safe. Again, these requirements vary for each locality, so this isn’t a comprehensive list. But let’s take a look at some of the most popular street-legal modifications.
TURN SIGNAL KIT
A required addition for any street-legal ATV or UTV is a turn signal kit. There are several kits out there, so how do you know which one is right for you? Several companies offer both universal turn signal kits and model-specific kits.
Any time you’re adding aftermarket ATV/UTV accessories that require wiring, make sure to obtain a wiring diagram of your vehicle and have a solid understanding of how the new parts will affect your battery usage. Most small upgrades can be added easily, but still require some knowledge of how your vehicle’s wiring works.
Many aftermarket kits are “plug and play,” which means you don’t have to mess around with complicated wire connectors. Just plug it in and you’re good to go!
Another thing to note when purchasing a turn signal kit is what all is included with your purchase. Nobody wants to get ready for an install and then realize you have to stop and purchase additional wiring harnesses or parts.
Some cities or states require your ATV or UTV to have a windshield in order to be considered ‘road legal’. This helps protect the driver and passengers from all sorts of dangers while driving in traffic at high speeds. They also greatly increase your cab’s comfort level by keeping out cold air, rain, and debris.
Windshields are especially nice if the truck in front of you kicks up a rock at highway speeds. It’s better to let the windshield take that hit rather than your face.
You’ll want to consider both the design and material of a windshield when deciding which one is right for you. Glass windshields are strongest and can be fitted with a windshield wiper, but they’re heavy and only available in the full windshield style. Polycarbonate windshields scratch more easily but are lighter, cheaper, and made into multiple styles, like full, half, or flip.
Please note: Before making a purchase, check your local laws to see what kind of windshield your area requires. Some require a full windshield while others give you a little more flexibility.
Having a clear line of sight is of utmost importance when you’re driving down the highway in your car or truck. It’s no different when you’re behind the wheel of an ATV or UTV. Your vision needs to extend 360 degrees around your ride, and the only way to accomplish that is with a set of mirrors.
You’ll most likely need a rear-view mirror and a set of side-view mirrors in order to make your machine legal for road riding. They come in many styles and materials, including plastic and billet aluminum. When you order rear-view mirrors, make sure you pay attention to the tube size for your model, as these vary from machine to machine.
Plastic is a less expensive alternative to some of the more pricey aluminum models. If you ride hard, though, it might be worth the extra cash to get something sturdier. Heavy trail riders tend to damage plastic aftermarket parts more frequently.
In addition to turn signals, a windshield, and mirrors, here are some other modifications you may have to add in order to make your ATV or UTV street legal:
Then lets finish with Non-Electrical Upgrades
⁃ Seat belts
⁃ Rear reflector
⁃ License plate carrier
⁃ Mud flaps
By making these changes, you can enjoy the luxury of driving your side-by-side to work while everyone else is snowed in or driving your four wheeler straight from the garage to your favorite trail.
IS IT WORTH THE INVESTMENT TO MAKE AN ATV OR UTV STREET LEGAL?
Depending on where you live, making your ATV or UTV road legal can be quite the investment. So how do you know if it’s worth it?
The main thing to consider is how often you’ll be able to ride on the streets. In many parts of the country, it’s not hard to find off-road trails that are easily accessible from main roads. If you live somewhere like this, making your machine street legal could save you money on trailer and transportation costs.
Many towns and communities are also deemed “golf cart friendly,” meaning you can drive off-road vehicles legally within city limits. Residents in these areas would benefit greatly from a street-legal ATV or UTV. Being able to take your side-by-side to the grocery store can save wear and tear on your daily driver, not to mention gas and maintenance.
We want to emphasize again that the recommendations in this article may not apply for everyone. Requirements vary by state, county, and city, so you might need to do more or less to make your ATV or UTV street legal. Only your personal research will tell you exactly what you need!
Once you know what’s required of you, you’re well on your way to making your favorite machine road ready!