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New Jersey Lift Laws and Vehicle Equipment Laws

Although New Jersey allows for vehicle modifications, they give bureaucracy a whole new meaning. Almost any modification that alters the way a vehicle drives will require a vehicle safety inspection and certification. As long as the vehicle is able to pass the certification, suspension lift kits, aftermarket wheels and tires, performance shocks, aftermarket bumpers, and grille guards are allowed.

Breaking News: The New Jersey Assembly Budget Committee voted to eliminate the mechanical inspection program. No word yet as to when this will take effect.

Update: Effective 8/1/10, New Jersey no longer requires mechanical inspections for passenger vehicles, however, Elevated Vehicle Inspections are still required for lifted vehicles.

Governing Laws


The New Jersey Permanent Statutes (NJPS) and New Jersey Administrative Code (NJAC) list the street legal laws for the state.

NJPS Title 39
NJAC T.13 Ch.20

Vehicle Dimensions


Vehicle size in New Jersey cannot exceed 102 inches wide, 13 feet 6 inches tall, or 40 feet long for a single vehicle.

NJPS 39-3-84

Tire Restrictions


New Jersey requires that any vehicle with tires more than 4 inches larger in diameter than original equipment tires be inspected for an elevated vehicle approval certificate. Tires must be in safe operating condition, without any bulges or exposed cords. There is no specific minimum tread depth and the code has no information on the legality of tire grooving.

Elevated Vehicle Inspection Tire Requirements

  • Vehicles 10,000 pounds GVWR or under have a maximum tire diameter of 38 inches or 6 inches larger than the largest standard equipment tire available from the manufacturer, whichever is less.
  • Tires on axles that are less than 72 inches apart must be the same diameter and width.
  • Tires must have adequate load ratings for the intended use of the vehicle.
  • Front tires must be at least 60% as wide as the rear tires.
  • Tires must not rub on suspension components during suspension movement.
  • Tires must be DOT approved.

NJPS 39-3-7
NJAC 13-20-37.2
NJAC 13-20-37.3

Wheel Restrictions


New Jersey's statutes make no reference to wheels, however, they must be safe.

Elevated Vehicle Inspection Wheel Requirements

  • Wheel spacers are prohibited.

NJAC 13-20-37.3

Braking Requirements


Vehicles driven in New Jersey are required to have brakes on all 4 wheels. The brakes must be capable of stopping a vehicle from 20 mph within 30 feet. A secondary, mechanical, parking brake is required.

Elevated Vehicle Inspection Brake Requirements

  • Brake lines and hoses must be protected from excessive heat and vibration.

NJPS 39-3-68

Steering Laws


New Jersey requires that power steering systems allow for the safe operation of the vehicle in the event of power steering failure.

Elevated Vehicle Inspection Steering Requirements

  • The number of turns of the steering wheel (lock-to-lock) must be within one half turns of the original steering system.
  • From dead center, the number of steering wheel turns as well as the degree of the wheels must be the same left and right.
  • The turning radius of the vehicle must remain the same as the original unmodified vehicle.
  • The steering system must automatically return-to-center while driving.

NJAC 13-20-4.1
NJAC 13-20-37.3

Suspension Laws


Vehicles with any type of suspension lift kit or body lift kit are required to get an elevated vehicle approval certificate in New Jersey.

Vehicles equipped with snowplows are allowed a 2 inches front suspension lift.

The maximum lift allowed is determined by the height of the bottom of the driver's door (door sill) compared to the factory height.

Vehicle GVWR

Max. Height

Under 4,501

7 inches above factory height

4,501 to 7,500

9 inches above factory height

7,501 to 10,000

11 inches above factory height

Elevated Vehicle Inspection Suspension Requirements

  • Suspension systems must consist of the originally installed basic elements.
  • Suspension systems must be geometrically arranged to the original manufacturer's specifications.
  • All aftermarket parts or replacement parts must exceed the quality and performance standards set by the vehicle manufacturer.
  • Shock absorbers are required.
  • At least 2 inches of suspension travel is required.
  • Front lift blocks are prohibited.

NJAC 13-20-37.2
NJAC 13-20-37.3
NJAC 13-20-37.6

Frame Requirements


New Jersey does not specify a vehicle frame height limit.

Bumper Restrictions


There is no information on bumpers in the New Jersey statutes, however, there are bumper requirements for vehicles that have a modified suspension system:

Elevated Vehicle Inspection Bumper Requirements

  • Bumpers are required if the vehicle was originally equipped with bumpers.
  • Bumpers must be securely mounted to the vehicle's frame.
  • Bumpers must extend across the full width of the vehicle.
  • Bumpers must be of sufficient design and horizontally mounted to absorb and effectively transfer an impact.
  • No sharp edges or dangerous configurations are allowed.
  • Bumpers must not be lower than 16 inches above the ground

NJAC 13-20-37.3

Fender Requirements


New Jersey's statues only require that commercial vehicles be equipped with fenders.

Elevated Vehicle Inspection Fender Requirements

  • Fenders must cover the full width of a vehicle's tire tread.
  • Mud flaps are necessary if a vehicle's fenders do not sufficiently prevent the throwing of debris.

NJPS 39-3-79
NJAC 13-20-37.3

Lighting Requirements


In addition to headlights and tail lights, vehicles in New Jersey are allowed to have several additional lights installed. When a vehicle is equipped with extra lighting, the maximum number of lights that can be on in the front of the vehicle is 4. Auxiliary off-road lights must be covered when the vehicle is driven on the street.



Min. Height

Max. Height


2 min.


54 inches

Tail lights

2 min.

15 inches

72 inches

Spot lights

1 max.



Aux. driving lights

2 max.

12 inches

42 inches

( Measured to the center of the light. )

NJPS 39-3-51
NJPS 39-3-53
NJPS 39-3-56
NJPS 39-3-61
NJAC 13-20-37.3

Window Laws


The New Jersey code does not specifically state whether windshields are required, although, vehicles with windshields are required to have windshield wipers.

NJPS 39-3-74

Exhaust Requirements


In New Jersey, vehicles are required to have mufflers and it is prohibited to install any kind of exhaust cutout or bypass.

Elevated Vehicle Inspection Exhaust Requirements

  • If the exhaust system is exposed due to modifications of the vehicle, all exposed portions of the exhaust system must be shielded.

NJPS 39-3-70
NJAC 13-20-6.1

Engine Swap Rules


It is unclear whether or not New Jersey has any engine swap or engine performance modification rules.

Emissions Testing


New Jersey requires vehicle emissions testing. (Effective 8/1/10, biannual safety inspections are no longer required.)

NJAC 13-20-7.2

Other Street Legal Exhaust Requirements


New Jersey requires all vehicles with a modified suspensions or oversized tires (see tires and suspension sections above) to pass a vehicle inspection and get an elevated vehicle approval certificate within 30 days of the modification.

Elevated Vehicle Inspection Requirements (Other)

  • License plates must not be mounted less than 12 inches nor more than 48 inches from the ground.
  • If a vehicle's fuel tank is exposed due to suspension or other modifications, it must be protected with a skid plate or protective bar.
  • Weight distribution of the empty vehicle must not exceed 45 percent / 55 percent side to side.
  • Any ballast material used for adding weight must be attached to the vehicle.
  • The vehicle must withstand the required lateral standard (tilt test).

NJAC 13-20-37.2
NJAC 13-20-37.3

Recommended Links

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