Law & Order

SEMA Action Network Posts Compilation of Exhaust Noise Laws By State

By SEMA Washington, D.C., Staff

Businesses and enthusiasts can visit the SEMA Action Network’s (SAN) website to learn how to title and register hobby cars in each state, meet emissions standards and fight unfair inoperable vehicle storage rules at the local level. The SAN has now added to its resource arsenal a compilation of exhaust noise laws by state.

The new exhaust noise compilation includes a map to illustrate the states that have adopted measureable exhaust noise limits, the states that prohibit “excessive or unusual noise” and the states that ban all modifications that lead to noise increases above the levels created by the factory-installed exhaust system. Below the map is a detailed list of exhaust noise statutes organized alphabetically by state. This new resource can be found online.

SEMA opposes vague laws prohibiting "excessive of unusual noise," which allow law-enforcement officers to cite any exhaust system deemed "too loud." These provisions fail to provide a clear and objective standard for those seeking more durable exhaust systems that enhance a vehicle’s appearance and increase performance by making vehicles run more efficiently without increasing emissions. Three states, including California, have enacted SEMA-model legislation to provide enthusiasts and law-enforcement officials with a fair and enforceable alternative. The model legislation establishes a 95-decibel exhaust noise limit based on an objective test standard. The SEMA-model bill for exhaust noise can be found on the SAN website by selecting the “Model Bills” option from the “Legislation” drop-down menu at the top of the website.

If you are not yet a member of the SEMA Action Network, we encourage you to join. Joining the SAN is a simple process. Most importantly, it’s free and carries no obligations. For details, contact Colby Martin at