Skip to main content

What the heck is “deregistering” a car? That’s what Riverside police did to a 2022 Hyundai Elantra N. Stopping for his exhaust being too loud, the police officer announced the car would also be deregistered. That means it would have to pass an inspection to be registered again. But the exhaust system was unmodified. It’s stock, from the factory. It gets worse.

Why was the Elantra stock exhaust too loud?

Police Department officer writes a citation | Stan Lim/Digital First Media/The Press-Enterprise via Getty

The Elantra was in N mode when the police stopped it. That is the mode specifically for track use. Among other changes N mode affects, it opens up the exhaust system for better performance. So less baffling comes with more exhaust noise

He shouldn’t have been driving it in track mode. An expensive fine with a promise never to do it again seems the most practical way of dealing with the violation. After all, you don’t have to reregister your car when caught speeding. Or arrested for drunk driving. And a noise violation just seems so much more benign than either of those two. 

If the Elantra is stock, how can it be deregistered?

police citations
Traffic police officer issuing ticket | Roberto Machado Noa/LightRocket via Getty

But that had no impression on the Riverside policeman. He cited the driver anyway. But the caveat was that along with the citation, the car needed to go through a mandatory and expensive reregistration. Told the track-mode details, the policeman said the owner could “sue the dealership.” 

With no alternative, the owner did, indeed, had to follow through with the reregistering process. Amazingly, it didn’t pass noise level caps. Following up with officials about what he could do to get back in the seat of his new Elantra, they had no solutions. Other than suing Hyundai. 

With this horror story delineated on Reddit, we found through Carbuzz that the owner followed up his initial missive with news. After a month with no solution, Hyundai contacted him. It wanted to check out the car at the Hyundai America Tech Center just up the road in Orange County, California. 

Is Hyundai helping?

patrol officers
Police officers monitoring traffic in the 1970s | Getty

It picked up the Elantra and provided a hybrid loaner so he was no longer without his new car, while still making those monthly payments. Oh, and it offered him $500 to help soften the financial burden. That doesn’t put a huge dip in out-of-pocket expenses, but as he wrote, “At this point, I’ll take it.”

So now it appears that Hyundai is trying to work with the state to clear the citation and reregistration requirements. The Elantra owner is still driving the loaner hybrid. He’s now waiting for word on resolution. In the meantime, Hyundai got back to him to let him know the car passed its tests and inspections. 

But not completely relying on the state or Hyundai, the owner has hired an attorney to force the issue. His court date is in late February. Getting his car back and being reimbursed for his time and expenses would be great. But it would help if guidelines for what violations warrant deregistering an automobile were better defined. We’ve borne witness to our own equipment violations California police, and it is never a fun experience.


New Loud Exhaust Cameras Snap Picture and You Get Ticket