Date: September 29, 2021

By: Attorney Nicole L. O’Connor

Email: noconnor@primelawgroup.com

Phone: 815-338-2040 Ext:107

Common Questions for Modified Jeeps

As a fellow jeeper that is a member of various jeep clubs and social media jeep pages, I commonly see questions regarding what the state laws of Illinois are for modifications. I often see people who have received written offenses or warnings from police officers regarding various modifications. I hope that the below information on the most common modifications can help answer many of these questions. 

Receiving Citations

It is an officers’ discretion whether they want to issue a citation in violation of the Illinois Compiled Statutes. Based on the below information many of us are driving vehicles that are modified and could result in citations being issued. Lastly, make sure you have any added modifications to your jeep insured with your insurance company.  Keep those receipts.  If you do not have the added insurance, you will be limited to what the local value is of the vehicle for the same vehicle with the same options.  Insurance companies do not go by Kelly blue book. If you have liability only, get full coverage.  There is a significant number of drivers that are uninsured or underinsured on the road. If you have received a citation in Illinois or have any legal needs, contact me for any legal assistance.

Front & Rear License Plates

To begin, all vehicles in Illinois must have a front and rear license plate on display.

 

625 5/3-413 Display of registration plates or digital registration plates, registration stickers or digital registration stickers, and drive-away permits; registration plate or digital registration plate covers.

 

              (a) Registration plates or digital registration plates issued for a motor vehicle other than a motorcycle, autocycle, trailer, semitrailer, truck-tractor, apportioned bus, or apportioned truck shall be attached thereto, one in the front and one in the rear… 

Lighting

Lights are not to be covered in Illinois. There are no light length limitations (light bar) requirements only the number of lights on a vehicle. The statutes contradict each other indicating that a vehicle can have a spot lamp however under the unauthorized lighting on a vehicle may be used which says no spotlight. Halos or color changing lights must be off and DO NOT USE RED OR WHITE OR BLUE as you can be considered impersonating an emergency vehicle which in some jurisdictions can be classified as a felony and will result in your vehicle being towed

and/or confiscated.

625 ILCS 5/12-212(c) Unauthorized Lighting on Vehicle

        (c) Unless otherwise expressly authorized by this Code, all other lighting or combination of lighting on any vehicle shall be prohibited.

        (d) No person shall drive or move any motor vehicle or equipment upon any highway  with any lighting or combination of lighting with a smoked or tinted lens or cover.

625 ILCS 5/12-211 Number of Driving Lamps Required or Permitted

        (b)  Whenever a motor vehicle equipped with driving lamps as herein required is also equipped with any auxiliary driving lamps or a spot lamp or any other lamp on the front thereof, not more than a total of 4 of any such lamps on the front of a vehicle shall be lighted at any one time when upon a highway.

625 ILCS 5/12-215 Oscillating, Rotating, or Flashing Lights on Motor Vehicles.

The use of red or white or blue oscillating, rotating, or flashing lights, whether lighted or unlighted, is prohibited.

Bumpers

All vehicles must have a front and rear bumper and set to the heights listed below.

625 ILCS 5/12-608 Bumpers (a)

First, it shall be unlawful to operate any motor vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating of 9,000 pounds or less or any motor vehicle registered as a recreational vehicle under this Code on any highway of this State unless such motor vehicle is equipped with both a front and rear bumper except as indicated below, maximum bumper heights of such motor vehicles shall be determined by weight category of gross vehicle weight rating(GVWR) measured from a level surface to the highest point of the bottom of the bumper when the vehicle is unloaded and the tires are inflated to the manufacturer’s recommended pressure. It is unlawful to operate upon any highway of this State any vehicle with a front bumper height that exceeds 28 inches or a rear bumper height that exceeds 30 inches, regardless of the GVWR of the vehicle, except those vehicles covered by Chapter 18b of this Code [625 ILCS 5/12-101 et seq.].However, nothing in this Section shall prevent the installation of bumper guards.

 

625 ILCS 5/12-608 Bumpers (b)

Furthermore, this Section shall not apply to street rods, custom vehicles, motor vehicles designed or modified primarily for off-highway purposes while such vehicles are in tow or to motorcycles or motor driven cycles, nor to motor vehicles registered as antique vehicles or expanded-use antique vehicles when the original design of such antique vehicles or expanded-use antique vehicles did not include bumpers. The provisions of this Section shall not apply to any motor vehicle driven during the first 1000 recorded miles of that vehicle, when such vehicle is owned or operated by a manufacturer, dealer or transporter displaying a special plate or plates as described in Chapter 3 of this Code [625 ILCS 5/3-100 et seq.] while such vehicle is (1) being delivered from the manufacturing or assembly plant directly to the purchasing dealer or distributor, or from one dealership or distributor to another; (2) being moved by the most direct route from one location to another for the purpose of installing special bodies or equipment; or (3) being driven for purposes of demonstration by a prospective buyer with the dealer or his agent present in the cab of the vehicle during the demonstration.

625 ILCS 5/12-608 Bumpers (c)

Lastly, any violation of this Section is a Class C misdemeanor. A second conviction under this Section shall be punishable with a fine of not less than $500. An officer making an arrest under this Section shall order the vehicle driver to remove the vehicle from the highway. A person convicted under this Section shall be ordered to bring his vehicle into compliance with this Section

Suspension Modification/Lift Kits

625 ILCS 5/12-607 Suspension System (a)

To begin, it shall be unlawful to operate a motor vehicle on any highway of this State when the suspension system has been modified from the original manufactured design by lifting the body from the chassis in excess of 3 inches or to cause the horizontal line from the front to the rear bumper to vary over 3 inches in height when measured from a level surface of the highway to the lower edge of the bumper, except that it is unlawful to operate a street rod or custom vehicle when the suspension system has been modified from the original manufactured design so that the horizontal line from the front to the rear bumper varies over 7 inches in height when measured from a level surface of the highway to the lower edge of the bumper.

625 ILCS 5/12-607 Suspension System (b)

In addition, nothing in this Section shall prevent the installation of manufactured heavy-duty equipment to include shock absorbers and overload springs, nor shall anything contained in this Section prevent a person to operate a motor vehicle on any highway of this State with normal wear of the suspension system if normal wear does not affect the control or safe operation of the vehicle. This Section shall not apply to motor vehicles designed or modified primarily for off-highway racing purposes while such vehicles are in tow or to motorcycles or motor driven cycles.

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