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Car Fixes and Modifications That Could Cost You More

You may be violating the law and not even know it. That’s right. Did you know there are certain things on your vehicle that you may have changed or even damaged that could earn you a ticket? There may even be certain repairs that you’ve simply put off that could cause a serious accident. We’ve got answers to common questions regarding caring for your car and avoiding citations. Read on to find out if you’re in violation and why you should fix or repair certain issues on your vehicle before it hits you where it really hurts–your wallet.

How Dark Can I Tint My Windows?

In Arizona, having tinted windows is a must. The heat from the summer sun can increase the temperature of the interior of your vehicle and make it feel like an oven. While they can’t eliminate the heat entirely, tinted windows greatly reduce the heat in the interior of your vehicle. However, there are restrictions on how dark tint can be on your windows. So, how dark can you tint your windows in Arizona? Visible Light Transmission (VLT) is the percentage of light allowed through film and glass. Front windows for cars, trucks, SUVs, and Vans can be as dark as 33% while the rear and back passenger windows do not have any restrictions. Individuals with certain medical conditions may be exempt, however.

Having tinted windows that violate the 33% VLT, is a primary offense in the state of Arizona. This means that if a police officer suspects that your tint is too dark, you can be stopped and issued a citation. The officer will use a tint meter to measure how much light passes through the window. This gives the officer an idea of the extent of the violation and the severity of your ticket. Luckily, Arizona has a “Fix it Ticket” called the Equipment Repair Order which means you pay only a small fine with proof that you have fixed the vehicle in accordance with the law. Don’t wait, though. If you do not repair the issue you were stopped for, you can pay a fine up to $250.


How Bad is a Cracked Windshield?

Fix chips and replace windshields with cracks right away. Not only can driving with a cracked windshield earn you a ticket, but it’s also dangerous. The windshield is instrumental in the safety of the vehicle’s design and a crack can prevent the airbag from deploying in a collision. While there is not a specific violation for having a cracked windshield in Arizona, there are statues that it may violate. Specifically, drivers are prohibited from having anything that obstructs the driver’s field of vision, including anything that is affixed or attached to the windshield. Further, federal regulations state that windshields must be replaced if:


  • Cracks intersect with one or more cracks.
  • Chips or cracks cannot be within three inches of another chip or crack on a windshield.
  • Damage or discoloration is not permitted between the top of the steering wheel and the top edge of the windshield.

Keep in mind, more often than not, small rock chips can turn into a crack, sometimes within just a few hours. Most of the time, chips are repairable. Be sure to have them filled within a week of occurrence, though. Over time, dirt and other debris could seep into the crack affecting the ability to seal.

Can I Get a Ticket From a Broken Tail Light?Broken car taillight

As of August 2016, drivers must have all tail lights in working order or can be subject to a citation. In fact, Arizona’s law specifically states that all brake lights must be fully functional including the “Liddy” light. This is the brake light located in the middle of the rear of the car. Be sure to have any taillights that are out or broken repaired right away. In addition to your tail lights, Arizona requires that vehicles (except motorcycles) have two functioning headlights, in use from dusk until dawn, and when visibility is limited.

Can I Put Off Buying New Tires?

Not recommended. Bald or tires that are in poor condition cause accidents and if you are involved in an accident caused by a blowout, you may be held liable. Accidents as a result of bald tires are caused for many reasons including:

  • Hydroplaning – water gets trapped between the road and the tire making it impossible for the tire to grip the road causing the vehicle to spin out and lose control.
  • Heat Build-up – The faster you drive, the more friction the tire produces, which in turn creates heat. Treads create airflow to help cool the tire down. When tire treads are worn, the tires get too hot, which can cause a blowout which is dangerous when traveling at high speeds.
  • Air Pressure Loss – Low tread tires lose air rapidly. Poorly inflated tires have difficulty gripping the road, making steering more difficult and impacts braking by causing the car to skid during a panic stop, and reduces gas mileage.

What Happens When The Check Engine Light Comes On?

Your dashboard is equipped with an On-Board Diagnostic system which is essentially your vehicle’s communications center. The OBD, as it is known, is a universal system that monitors and communicates the vehicle’s operation and performance through the vehicle’s internal computer. When something isn’t right within the system, a trouble code is produced and stored in the vehicle’s computer, prompting the check engine light or other lights on the dashboard to illuminate to let the driver know something is wrong. It can communicate such things as low tire pressure via the Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS), high engine temperature with the coolant temperature warning, and more. If any light comes on, especially the Check Engine Light or Service Engine Soon Light, don’t wait to have it looked at by a technician. Beware of the flashing check engine light, however, as this action states that your vehicle requires immediate attention by a trained professional. In either case, delaying inspection can cause further damage to engine components which may result in severe engine damage resulting in costly repairs or replacement.

Where Can I Find Expert Technicians?

When it comes to choosing who is qualified to work on your vehicle from a tail light repair to diagnosing a check engine issue, you need to find a service center that is well versed in all types of services. Being an established family-owned and operated company since 1978, Sun Devil Auto has the expert technicians you need to help care for your vehicle. We hire ASE Certified Technicians who are knowledgeable in many aspects of auto care. Our Teams are dedicated to caring for your vehicle as if it is their own. Whether you need advice on maintenance services or need your windshield replaced, Sun Devil Auto is the only shop you need!