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Old 10-01-2011, 10:47 PM
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Default Headlight height requirements -- maybe beating a dead horse

Anybody have the national regs on minimum height of headlights.
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Old 10-02-2011, 09:54 AM
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As far as I know there are no "national" requirements. I could be wrong, but I think that each state is allowed to set its own regulations on the details of inspections and requirements (up to a point). But I know that, as long as you satisfy your own state's requirements, you can drive the car in any state you want (of course).

Here is some info that I was able to scare up quickly:

Pennsylvania Lift Laws | Vehicle Modification Rules -- Says that in Pennsylvania, the minimum height requirement is 24 inches.

Height Regulations for Headlights | eHow.com -- Says that the following states have a minimum height of 24 inches: Alaska, Arkansas, Washington DC, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, New Mexico, New York, Oklahoma, Oregon and Texas.

Pennsylvania Code -- Interestingly, I think this is a copy of our actual current vehicle code in Pennsylvania, and it doesn't say anything about height requirements that I can find.

www.dmv.state.pa.us/pdotforms/pub_45/tables.pdf -- Oh, wait, here is a list of tables that apparently go along with PA's vehicle requirement code. There's some very interesting stuff in here....stuff I kinda don't want to know about. But it again states that 24" is the minimum. (I'm starting to not like the answers that I'm finding).

Anyway, I think for any given state, if you Google "minimum headlight height" you can find a specific answer. (You're here in PA, too, aren't you Dale?)

But here's the thing...don't go out and measure your headlights. You probably won't like the answer. My experience has been that our headlights are at best just barely able to meet the requirement and the inspectors realize that they are "unaltered" on a car that is about 30-40 years old and has existed in every state. In other words, unless you were silly enough to lower them even further, I think they'll pass inspection. Don't measure yours too closely. Look down at them at an angle and let parallax give you the answer you want.

The Sterling and the first generation Cimbria have headlights that are inset into the front -- the ones in the first gen Cimbria are behind a door that folds DOWNWARDS -- and therefore these to cars represent the lowest of a low. The Cimbria SS, the ultra-rare Sterling "GT", and both versions of the Sebring had pop-UP headlights.

The rumor is that one of the reasons that the Sebring had pop-up headlights was to make certain that it met the minimum headlight requirements.
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Old 10-02-2011, 10:05 AM
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Oh, duh. You're in Missouri. (I'm the one who created the site and I just forgot that it shows location right under your screen name.)

So yeah, for Missouri, it seems like it's the wild west. No minimum headlight height requirement.

Missouri Lift Laws | Vehicle Modification Rules

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Old 10-02-2011, 04:13 PM
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I'm a gonna have to measure my headlights today just for curiosity sake. It's 24" to center on PA vehicles... somehow I think mine are just under that :-)
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Old 10-03-2011, 08:35 PM
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I did google it the only thing I could find are the lift laws that were mentioned above. You know we are all a bunch of rednecks and hicks down here the only laws written round har is fur 4XFURS.

Sorry the hillbilly in me slipped out

I can inspect mo vehicles and can find no mention of it in my reg books.

Highway patrol told me to consult national regs guess I will have to call jeff city to find out (the capital) all dot questions are usually directed there if hp can't give an answer.

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Old 10-03-2011, 09:56 PM
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Dale, just out of curiosity, did somebody (a cop) challenge you on this or did you ask a cop? The reason I ask is because I really truly don't think there is a specific national regulation on this. I hope the cop wasn't giving you trouble on this because, like you and I found, your state apparently doesn't have a minimum for headlight height. Are you mainly just curious -- a very valid reason -- or are you trying to solve a specific challenge/problem?
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Old 10-03-2011, 10:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by farfegnubbin View Post
Dale, just out of curiosity, did somebody (a cop) challenge you on this or did you ask a cop? The reason I ask is because I really truly don't think there is a specific national regulation on this. I hope the cop wasn't giving you trouble on this because, like you and I found, your state apparently doesn't have a minimum for headlight height. Are you mainly just curious -- a very valid reason -- or are you trying to solve a specific challenge/problem?
I did ask the MO highway patrol inspection board, they are the authorities that I answer too for state yearly inspections I perform.

Nobody challenged I just don't want an altercation if possible. In the past I have raked over the coals ( by the fuzz) for the custom cars I have built, nothing ever really stuck in court.
Other than tint laws which now have been repealed in our state.
I have been stopped for lowered, raised vehicles, noise, horsepower,altered, ect....
you name it I've went to court for it and won.
I Have had a cop kick out a headlight just so he could give me a citation.
Yet I have had no accidents, traffic tickets, or speeding tickets

Look anytime I roll around in a vehicle that is not a cookie cutter I get picked on.
But it won't stop me for being me.

Last edited by delbertinie; 10-03-2011 at 10:22 PM.
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Old 10-04-2011, 12:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by delbertinie View Post
I Have had a cop kick out a headlight just so he could give me a citation.
Remind me to never go where you go...
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Old 10-04-2011, 12:51 PM
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Got it. Cool. For the car I'm building from stratch, I've always tried to do what you're doing: Figure out the exact letter of the law and make sure there is NEVER a challenge that can stick.

Isn't it amazing how hard it is, sometimes, to figure out what the law really is? I haven't been stopped or had as many actually challenges to my cars as you're describing, but I have OFTEN banged my head against the wall when trying to find out a legal answer. Like... I've been told that emmisions requirements follow the year of the engine. If that is in fact true, then any one of us with an engine newer than about 20 years old must not only have a runing, safe engine but also must have all of the charcoal canisters and various other vacuum plumbing to make everything "stock." Well, nobody really does that. So I thought I'd get the official word on such matters.

Can't be answered. I've asked five different "official" people, each of whom swore they were the final say in the matter and each of whome gave a different answer. I still don't know if the emmisions requirements follow the age of the engine, age of the chassis, year printed on the title, (which misght be chassis, body, or simply whenever the specialty title was give in that state for that car), etc.

It definitely sounds like you have some "over eager" law enforcement in your area. Oh well, keep driving your strange hoard. Unique cars are some of the spice of life.

(Wow, you actually had a cop kick out a headlight? Shit. I thought that only happened in the movies!?! Well... you could make an arguement that the Cimbria's headlights are positioned lower so they'll be easier to kick out illegally by cops! No?)
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Old 10-04-2011, 01:45 PM
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Just register it as an antique, Warren, and forget about worrying about emissions...
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