If you want your car to run better, but don't care about how it looks, you might want to think about getting a turbocharger. Turbochargers make cars go faster and can help them run better. But before you get one, check to see if they are legal in your area. In California, the law is complicated and depends on a few things. Other modifications are detailed on modified1.com.
California’s Vehicle Code Section 27156
California makes laws that are about how to keep the air clean. In 1966, California made a law that said people cannot put things on their cars that change how it works. This is called the "no tampering" law.
When you buy something to make your car work better, it could be illegal in California if it changes how the car works. Turbochargers are one of these things and they might be illegal because they changed how the car would work without getting permission first from someone who knows more about this than I do.
The common misconception about car customization is that you cannot get a turbocharger. Turbos are not allowed in many places, but this is not true. If you live in California, there are some exceptions to the rules.
For example, if your vehicle has an EO number or if it will only be used for off-road driving then there is no problem getting a turbocharger and other parts too.
Vehicles that are not controlled by California's Vehicle Code Section 27156 are called uncontrolled vehicles. An example of this would be a vehicle that is only used for off-road driving. In this case, you can choose any turbo you want.
If you are looking into turbos because you want to compete in races, you are lucky. Vehicles that are only used for competitions don't have to follow the same rules as regular cars.
You don't need an executive order number if your car is for competition use only. Another exception is if your car was made before the rule came out.
If your car was made before laws about emissions were put in place, it is considered uncontrolled. That means that the law doesn't apply to you. But you should still be careful.
You might have aftermarket parts on your car that are not allowed by other laws. And if you are driving a federally certified vehicle, or a foreign vehicle made before 1968, the law doesn't apply to you either.
If you are still unsure whether your car would be an exception or not, call California's Air Resources Board's Aftermarket Parts Department and they can help you out.
So, Are Turbos Legal in California?
There are many questions about the legality of car modifications in California. Some mods, like turbos, are not allowed under California law. But there are ways to make sure that your turbo is legal. One way is to get an EO number from the government. You can also buy your turbo locally to avoid any trouble.