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Whether you like them or you don’t, the state legislature of North Carolina just banned squat trucks. The problem is even if you don’t like squatting trucks it is a really bad sign for those who modify their vehicles. Your stanced Miata or lifted 4×4 can now be forced to return to the stock manufacturer’s suspension specs. The bill bans raising the front suspension and lowering the rear suspension of all vehicles in the state. 

Though targeting squat trucks, it could be applied to all modified vehicles

So it might seem at first glance to only target a narrow band of modified vehicles. But in reality, the law that just passed the North Carolina House of Representatives can be applied to any vehicle in the state. A 1965 Chevy lowrider or chopped 1932 Ford coupe are as much in the crosshairs of the ban as squat trucks, and that’s really bad.

Carolina squat, Cali lean, Tennessee tilt; these are all acronyms for the same pickup truck suspension modification. The front is raised and the rear is lowered or kept at stock height. It developed from Baja racing where the front end is raised to help rebound after hitting a big dip or rise in the terrain. But on the street, it is strictly a cosmetic trend like low riding or raking a car to mimic drag racing sedans. 

It is an American pastime to modify a vehicle for looks, handling, speed, or all of those pursuits

Carolina Squat truck iside view
Squat trucks | YouTube

Americans have always enjoyed modifying their vehicles going all of the ways back to the Ford Model T. From stoplight sprints to California lakes racing in the 1920s, and beefing up a plain Jane sedan for bootlegging, modified vehicles define the car culture of the US. And now some narrow-minded politicians without perspective or tolerance are threatening that God-given right. 

The squat truck phenomenon is centered mainly in North Carolina. Right now the law says you can’t raise or lower a car more than six inches. The North Carolina legislature wants to change that. “A private passenger automobile shall not be modified or altered by elevating the automobile more than 3 inches from the manufacturer’s specified height in the front and lowering the automobile more than 2 inches from the manufacturer’s specified height in the rear.”

What’s so bad about squat trucks anyway?

black Silverado squat truck
Squat trucks | YouTube

The beef over squatted trucks is that it points headlights into the oncoming driver’s eyes. And, it throws the balance of the truck off making it more difficult to drive. There is also a concern for pedestrians-both that they are harder to see and are more prone to serious injury if hit. 

Now that the bill has passed the House of Representatives it moves on to the State Senate for review. If it is approved there then it goes to the Governor’s desk for signing into law. It sets a bad precedent not only for all modified vehicles in the state but as a model for other states. 

The Specialty Equipment Marketing Association (SEMA) gets involved in bad law proposals just like this. It has a legal team that can advise politicians. They help to give a clearer picture of the downsides of this type of legislation. So we expect that SEMA will be getting involved to help kill the bill before it ever becomes law. 


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