Many states have grown increasingly intolerant of car modifications, especially those that alter the look and sound in a noticeable way. One California driver recently found that out the hard way, but this story is full of twists.
The owner got attention on Reddit, and YouTuber Entense picked it up for a quick video. It turns out that the Hyundai Elantra N in the film is bone stock and is loud by design. The officer’s assumption that the car has a modified exhaust or that the owner is breaking the law is up for debate, and the internet is always up for that.
In the video, the officer tells the owner that he will be on the hook for thousands of dollars. He suspended the car’s registration and wanted to suspend the driver’s license before finding out that it wouldn’t fly. The owner is now stuck with an unmodified car that they can’t drive and can’t register. The officer eventually tells the poor guy to take his car back to the dealer to have the drive modes removed or sue Hyundai.
Reddit user OkCandidate103 is the Hyundai owner with the problem. They explained that the car showed a peak 102 decibel reading with an average of 98 db during state testing. The legal limit is 95 db, so even the slight overage led to a failing score. The owner said the inspection occurred while the car was in sport mode and noted that the inspector asked him to put the car in the loudest mode for testing.
We’re talking about a stock Hyundai Elantra N here, not one that someone took off the shelf and modified, so it would seem that this problem should land more on the automaker’s shoulders. It’s illegal to sell cars with improper emissions equipment, so it would seem that an exhaust noise test would be part of the process and that an almost-illegal noise level would lead to a reduction in sound.
The owner says he’s still waiting to hear back from Hyundai, but this is a big mess that should not be an issue. The officer could have issued a warning and listened to what the driver was trying to say, and Hyundai could have done a better job testing for noise levels. Whatever the outcome, however, this has been a big waste of time for the owner.