How to Make UTV Street Legal
UTVs were built for off-roading, not pavement, so if you want to take them on the road, you need to make some changes. Thankfully, UTVs are a little more ready for the road than ATVs. If you’re considering whether to purchase an ATV or UTV and know you want to make it street legal, this might be another reason to choose a UTV. There are some things you should know, though. Not every state allows for a street legal UTV, or even when they do there are restrictions that may limit how worthwhile you find the investment. Read on to learn if a street legal side by side is for you.
People want their UTV to be legal on roads so they can take their UTV to their favorite trails or campsites without having to haul them and so they can leave the campsite to go the store or gas station. The answer to that seems obvious. Of course, I want that. The problem is that so many states either won’t allow any UTV to be street legal, or they put so many restrictions on where you can ride that you might not find it does you much good. It’s best to determine that before you make the investment.
UTVs have the advantage on ATVs because they often already have windshields and seat belts, which some states require.
For a road legal side by side, you generally need to add:
- Turn signals
- Headlights with reflectors and/or brighter lights
- Brake lights
- Rear-view and side mirrors
- Quieter muffler
- Windshield with wipers and fluid (if yours doesn’t have it)
- Seat belts or harnesses (if yours doesn’t have them)
Safety flags or spark arrestors are required in some states.
You should probably install a tethered kill switch, unless you already have one. They aren’t required, but they only cost around $5 and they can keep your engine from running into people or vehicles if you are thrown from the UTV while on the road. Even if no one is hurt by your runaway vehicle, it could lessen the damages to your vehicle if it stops rather than keeps driving on without you.
You can purchase a UTV street legal kit that includes the most common things like a horn, turn signals, and license plates. Depending on your state and your UTV, you may have to purchase additional parts. The kit covers parts that should fit most UTVs.
The parts needed to make your UTV legal for the roadways are not difficult to install. You’ll only need basic tools. The most complicated thing about the installation will probably be determining if your battery can handle all the new electrical components.
Most of the time, you must have your UTV registered, insured, and inspected before it is street legal, just like you do with your car. It’s also necessary to have a valid driver’s license.
You will need to check your state laws before making any purchase. Some states prohibit all use of UTVs on roadways. For others, the restrictions may limit whether you want to continue.
In UTV street legal states, you might be able to ride everywhere other than highways and interstates or might have to stick to roads posted as okay for ATVs. The state may require you to register your vehicle as retrofitted and given a VIN number. You may be limited to riding no faster than 25-30 mph, you may only be able to ride when snow or ice makes it impossible to ride in a on-road vehicle or if you’re using your UTV for farm tasks and traveling from one farm to the next.
You may discover that your state doesn’t have specific laws to cover this situation and you may have to look into your county or city laws to be sure you won’t be violating those.
Don’t rely on facts you find online. Even if they were accurate when they were written, they may have changed. It’s best to check with your DMV or police department before making any purchases, and after you’ve made your UTV street legal, to check the laws periodically to be sure they haven’t changed without your knowledge and you are still riding a road legal UTV.