Are 4 Wheelers streets legal? -Requirements, How to Make An ATV Street Legal

If you love off-roading and your weekend is not complete without driving your 4-wheeler on both rough terrain and public roads, then you must be familiar with street-legal 4-wheelers. 

These specially modified ATVs, UTVs, and side-by-sides are designed to meet state and federal regulations, allowing you to take your off-road adventures to the streets.

However, many may not be aware of the process of making their 4-wheeler street legal or why it may not be legal in the first place. Therefore, to clear up any confusion, this blog post is here to provide you with all the information you need on 4 Wheelers being street legal! 

What Exactly Are 4-Wheelers, And Are They Legal On The Road?

A 4-wheeler which is also called an All-Terrain Vehicle or ATV is a small vehicle that is open and has 4 wheels that are specially designed for off-road riding. 

These ATVs typically have handlebars for steering and a seat for the rider. They are powered by a gas engine and can be used for a variety of activities, such as hunting, farming, and recreational riding on trails and rough terrain.

UTVs (Utility Task Vehicles) and ROVs (Recreational Off-Highway Vehicles) are similar to ATVs but are built for more specific uses.

For example, UTVs are more suited for work such as construction and landscaping, ROVs are smaller and more agile than UTVs and are built for recreational use, like on sand dunes or rocky terrain. 

4-wheelers are not street-legal in some states due to them being below road safety standards. However, some manufacturers have produced street-legal ATVs that meet the requirements for registration and licensing in certain states or provinces. 

It’s important to check with your local laws and regulations to determine whether a specific 4-wheeler is street-legal in your area.

Why Are ATVs Not Street Legal?

4 Wheelers streets legal

ATVs are generally illegal because they do not have safety features that protect riders in the event of a crash or accident. When an ATV is involved in an accident with another vehicle or object, the rider has virtually no protection from injury or death. This is because they have no lights, no brakes, and low stability.

ATVs aren’t street-legal for a variety of reasons:

•   They don’t have lights

•   They have a low Stability

•   They don’t meet standard emission requirements

•   Lack of power steering

•   They don’t have brakes

What Is A Street Legal 4 Wheeler?

A street-legal 4-wheeler is a 4-wheel drive that meets all the requirements of your state and is often used for off-roading. Some states require you to register a street-legal 4-wheeler as an ATV or UTV, while others allow you to register it as a car.

In most cases, you’ll need to have a license plate on your street-legal 4-wheeler and meet other requirements such as insurance and safety equipment. If you don’t have these things, your vehicle could be confiscated by law enforcement officials.

Street Legal Requirements

In some states, the requirements typically include adding equipment such as lights, mirrors, turn signals, and brakes, as well as meeting safety standards set by the federal government and individual states. 

In addition, street-legal 4-wheelers must be registered and insured, just like any other motor vehicle. Apart from that, street-legal 4-wheelers are often used for hunting, farming, and other work-related activities, as well as for recreation. 

They are also known as SxS (Side by Side) as they are similar to UTV (Utility Task Vehicle), but they have been modified and equipped to be legal on the road.

Recommended: ATV vs UTV vs RTV 

Types Of Street Legal 4 Wheelers

There are several types of street legal 4 wheelers, also known as All-Terrain Vehicles (ATVs) or Utility Task Vehicles (UTVs), that have been modified and equipped to meet legal requirements for use on public roads:

Sport ATVs

These are typically smaller and more agile than other types of street-legal ATVs and are designed for high-performance recreational use. 

They have high-performance engines, a wide range of horsepower, and can reach top speeds of over 60 mph. Sport ATVs are typically used for racing and recreational riding. 

Utility ATVs

These are larger and more rugged than sports ATVs and are designed for work-related activities such as farming, hunting, and construction. They are built much sturdier than sports models and feature larger tires for better traction in rough terrain.

Side-by-Side (SxS) ATVs

These are similar to Utility ATVs but have a bench seat for multiple riders and a cargo bed; these are also known as UTVs (Utility Task Vehicles).

These machines are extremely popular among families who enjoy spending time together outdoors and want to ride as a family unit rather than individually on separate machines.

Electric ATVs

These are powered by electric motors rather than gas engines, which makes them more environmentally friendly. They are also quiet and easy to maintain.

Street-Legal ROVs

These are smaller and more agile than UTVs; they are designed specifically for Recreational Off-Highway Vehicles; they have a lower ground clearance but have a high performance and can be used on rocky or sandy terrain. These ROVs can reach speeds of more than 69 mph in just 3.9 secs.

Requirements For Making A 4 Wheelers Street Legal

Making a 4-wheeler street legal typically involves meeting certain requirements set by federal and state laws. These requirements can include the following:

Safety Equipment

The first and most important is safety equipment. Your street-legal 4-wheeler must be equipped with certain safety equipment such as lights, mirrors, turn signals, and brakes. This equipment must meet safety standards set by federal and state laws.

Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)

Next is a readable and verified VIN number. Your 4-wheeler must have a VIN number that can be read and verified.


Just like any other motor vehicle, your 4-wheeler also needs to be insured if you want to make it legal for street riding.


Your 4-wheeler must be registered with the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) in order to be used on public roads.


Some states require your street-legal 4-wheelers to meet certain emissions standards.


Your street-legal 4-wheelers must have tires that are suitable for use on public roads.

Speed Governor

Some states require you to install a speed governor that limits the top speed of the vehicle to be street-legal.


A horn is also usually required in your 4-wheeler to alert other drivers or pedestrians.

Final Words

Finally, while street-legal 4-wheelers are a great addition to the off-roading community, they do come with risks and responsibilities. To reduce or eliminate these risks, follow all applicable laws, regulations, and safety guidelines, educate yourself on your vehicle’s regulations, check with your local DMV before getting a 4-wheeler street legal, and consider how you will use your 4-wheeler before making modifications. This ensures both your and other drivers’ safety, as well as the legality of your vehicle and its modifications.

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