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Car enthusiasts love a good-sounding exhaust note. Who are we kidding? We like loud cars, trucks, and motorcycles. Why else would the 2021 Dodge Charger be so popular? To be clear, there is a difference between a “good-sounding” exhaust note and just a loud one, but in a pinch, a loud exhaust will get it done. Well, you can forget about that throaty note if you live in New York. New York Governor Kathy Hochul is cracking down on loud aftermarket exhausts with a new law charging steep fines. 

Pagani Huayra flexes beautiful exhaust system as a new law in New York adds crazy fee for loud aftermarket exhaust
The Pagani Huayra Roadster BC | Martyn Lucy/Getty Images

Are aftermarket exhausts legal in New York? 

According to our friends at Road and Track, a new bill has passed in New York called SLEEP; “Stop Loud and Excessive Exhaust Pollution.” This law bumps the fine for excessive exhaust noise from $150 to a whopping $1,000. According to SEMA’s catalog of exhaust noise laws, this increase now represents the highest fines for exhaust noise in the country. 

To show just how harsh this new law is, the second-closest, most expensive fine is Colorado’s at $500. 

Why is New York cracking down on aftermarket exhaust noise? 

First, Mayor de Blasio crushes dirt bikes and ATVs; now, the Gov is hunting tuner cars. What gives, New York? Following the summer of 2020 and the national outcry for police reform and racial justice, this jackboot law feels a bit in poor form. The last thing New Yorkers need is more laws profiling citizens and forcing police interaction. Not to mention, even California is relaxing on its exhaust laws.

New York seems to be cracking down more on illegal car racing and OHV on the road. The dirt bike crushing and exhaust laws seem to point toward the same goal of making the fines for racing and dirt biking all the more harmful, hopefully deterring such activities. 

Officials have also suggested that putting up more speed cameras in heavy “drag-racing areas” might help decrease illegal racing. However, this would most likely result in regular people getting slapped with fines for going seven mph over in a 25 mph zone. 

Why is this coming now? 

The New York Times reported that during and since the COVID-19 lockdowns, complaints of excessively loud cars have risen to new heights. This goes hand-in-hand with the rise in illegal dirt bikes and ATVs in the streets of NYC. 

It is clear the NYC – and the rest of the state –  officials are taking these automotive shenanigans seriously and are forcing us all to share in their concern. 

Lawmakers also mentioned installing noise detection devices around the city to measure illegal aftermarket exhaust systems and ticket accordingly using photo equipment. If that wasn’t enough, officials have also proposed laws to punish mechanics for installing excessively loud exhaust systems. 

If a shop is caught doing this up to three times, the bill would have their license pulled, putting them out of business. It seems a bit excessive, but these lawmakers are serious. 

Noise pollution is real, but let’s take it easy

Anyone living or working in NYC can attest to the city’s constant roar. This city is inundated with busses, sirens, honking horns, and so much more that it’s impossible to conjure via description. However, NYC has a whole host of other, more pressing issues that would likely be more worthwhile to pursue than some straight piped Dodge Charger or Challenger. 


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