Is the ‘Carolina Squat’ an Illegal Car Modification?
The ‘Carolina Squat’ is a car modification that has been around since the early 2000s. It involves lowering the back of a truck so that it appears to be squatting down. This modification is often seen in the Carolinas but has become increasingly popular in many other states, too. So, is this customization of pickup trucks illegal, or just annoying?
The dangers of squatted trucks
Before delving into whether or not the ‘Carolina Squat’ is illegal, it’s important to understand the dangers associated with squatted trucks. Squatting your truck can damage your brakes and suspension system, making them unable to support the weight of your vehicle. It can also make towing extremely difficult since most tow truck beds aren’t made for these kinds of modifications. Additionally, when you squat your truck, you are aiming the headlights away from the road and toward oncoming drivers—which could pose a serious safety hazard for drivers unfamiliar with squatted trucks. Drivers agree with these points because many Change petitions have been signed to make ‘Carolina Squat’ truck modifications illegal.
Is the ‘Carolina Squat’ illegal?
Technically, yes. It is illegal to modify a vehicle in any way that affects its ground clearance or bumper height in North Carolina and Virginia. According to Way, “The North Carolina General Assembly law states that a private passenger automobile must not be modified/altered by elevating the automobile to more than 3 inches from the manufacturer’s specified height in the front. Also, you cannot lower the automobile by more than 2 inches from the manufacturer’s specified height in the rear.”
As South Carolina continues to try and pass a squatted truck law, the Steinberg Law Firm notes that violating this law is considered a misdemeanor. Charges for a first offense are $100, a second offense is $200, and a third offense is $300 with a year’s license suspension. If a driver commits more than one offense, it is important to note that the violations must have occurred within five years of each other from the start date of the prior offense.
A brief history of the ‘Carolina Squat’
Interestingly enough, despite its name, the ‘Carolina Squat’ didn’t actually originate in Carolina. According to HotCars, “The Carolina Squat began in California, which is why it was also referred to as the “California Lean” or “Cali Lean.” The trend emerged from Baja racing in California.” However, due to its popularity in North and South Carolina throughout the 2000s, it soon gained its current moniker.
Should I squat my truck?
Probably not. Ultimately, squatting your truck isn’t just illegal; it can also be dangerous if done improperly. If you want to customize your vehicle while staying within legal limits (and keeping yourself safe!), plenty of options are available without resorting to something like a ‘Carolina Squat.’ Whether you’re looking for a new paint job, custom rims, larger tires, or even a lift kit, there are plenty of ways to customize your ride without breaking any laws. So, thinking twice before deciding if you should squat your vehicle is the best idea.