Is It Illegal to Drive Without a Hood in California? Other States? Solved

Short Answer: California does not have specific laws regarding driving a car without a hood. In states like Maryland and Oregon, it is illegal to drive without a hood. In Alaska, Hawaii, North Dakota, and West Virginia, there are certain requirements for driving without a hood, but it is not technically illegal. In all other states, there are no specific laws against driving without a hood. To find out more about the laws in your state, scroll through our lists of state resources below.

Driving laws vary by state. The lists below outline the states that do have laws specifically outlawing driving a vehicle without a hood, as well as the states that don’t. Most states prohibit driving a vehicle that is in an “unsafe condition.” This can be interpreted in many different ways, so some law enforcement offers may consider a hood-less car to be unsafe and issue a citation. Also, keep in mind, some counties have their own driving laws. To be on the safe side, contact your local law enforcement before driving without a hood.

States With Laws Against Driving a Vehicle Without a Hood

  • Maryland: The Maryland Transportation Code lists a vehicle’s hood as required equipment when driving on state highways.
  • Oregon: Hoods are not specifically mentioned in Oregon’s required equipment laws; however, there is an exception that states the hood of a streetcar may be removed. This suggests that hoods cannot normally be removed.

States With Regulations for Driving a Vehicle Without a Hood

The states below do not list a hood in their required vehicle equipment laws; however, they do have laws that may require certain adjustments in order to drive a vehicle without a hood. Despite this, your state may still view driving a vehicle without a hood unsafe, which may make it illegal. For specifics, contact your local law enforcement before driving without a hood.

  • Alaska: Driving without a hood is not specifically outlawed; however, your engine is required to be “equipped and adjusted to prevent the escape of excessive fumes or smoke.” See more details about the required equipment from the Alaska State Legislature.
  • Hawaii: Hawaii requires that modified vehicles are inspected and certified by the designated county agency. See more details about Hawaii’s vehicle statutes.
  • North Dakota: Driving without a hood is not specifically outlawed; however, your engine is required to be “equipped and adjusted to prevent the escape of excessive fumes or smoke.” See more details about the required equipment from the North Dakota Legislative Branch.
  • West Virginia: Driving without a hood is not specifically outlawed; however, your engine is required to be “equipped and adjusted to prevent the escape of excessive fumes or smoke.” See more details about the required equipment from the West Virginia Legislature.

States With No Laws Against Driving a Vehicle Without a Hood

The states below do not list a hood in their required vehicle equipment laws. Keep in mind that your state’s law enforcement officers may still view driving a vehicle without a hood as unsafe, which could result in a citation. For specifics, contact local law enforcement before driving without a hood.

For more on policies for driving without certain car parts, see our articles on the legality of driving without a bumper or without airbags.