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Salinas Police address complaints about loud cars


SALINAS, Calif. (KION) - Police say they are getting more and complaint of loud cars zooming down residential streets.

The squeaky wheel gets the grease… but in this case the loud exhaust gets the violation. Salinas Police say they are cracking down on cars that are simply too noisy.

A KION viewer reached out writing:

Hi Max,

I’ve noticed over the last year up to present day, an extreme amount of modified cars.  I was under the believe/impression that it’s not legal to modify the exhaust/ muffler on  your car.  

These cars are so loud it sounds like they are ripping a hole in the fabric of the universe.  They backfire so loud, it  sounds like gunfire.

At all times of the day and night . Early morning and late into the night.  This is definitely peace disturbing.  

I’m pretty sure there’s a noise ordinance, how can we the regular everyday citizen get it enforced?

Then there’s the dangerous speeding through residential neighborhoods and up and down North Main Street, which is a very busy business area in Salinas. Is there something that can be done legally, about what maybe the noise from the illegal modification of these cars and the speeding?  

Your help with this matter is greatly appreciated.

Thank you.  

Marie E.

Police tell me this is a problem they have been hearing more about.

"We have gotten some complaints through social media before through people calling into the police department themselves and reporting every Friday or Saturday night there seems to an excessive amount of cars with loud exhaust going through their neighborhood or specific street," says Officer Seth Morten with the Salinas Police Department's Traffic Unit.

According to police, vehicle code 27.151 B says a vehicle can't have any excessive or unusual noise. However, that has been hard to define when pulling someone over.

Now, Salinas Police are trained to use sound meters.

"If we suspect a vehicle having loud exhaust or unusual exhaust, we'll go through an investigation essentially there on the side of the road with a sound meter. if it's over a certain decibel they they would be in violation," says Morten.

The car owner would need to fix the issue and then have it inspected by the state or police will have it impounded.

Officer Morten also says the number of recent sideshows, where cars up to the hundreds gather, have also become a noise and safety issue.

Police recommend continuing to complain about the loud cars so they can track them down.

Central Coast / Monterey County / News / Salinas / Top Stories / Video
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Max Tarlton

Max Tarlton is a morning anchor at KION News Channel 5/46.



  1. You are under the wrong impression if you think a person can’t legally modify their their exhaust. In fact they can be modified to get better performance and gas mileage without increasing the sound level, in fact…in some cases they can reduce the sound level, if that is desired. But where is the fun in that. There is nothing wrong with a little better performance and gas mileage with just a slight increase and change of sound without the need to rev the engine to produce more noise while driving through a neighborhood. That problem is with the drivers.

  2. @Frankie
    “a slight increase and change of sound”? ‘Slight’? Apparently you live in Monterey, where law and order still exist. Not in the lawless newly minted cesspool of Salinas, where gangsters rule and city ‘leaders’ disrespect and defund police 😉
    Were you raised in California? Back East the behavior of many Salinians would not be tolerated. You’ve got an area around Salinas, a small town, with an estimated 8 to 10,000 gang members. And ‘homeless’ as far as the eye can see. But at least the leaders finally got smart, and realized the POLICE are the cause of the problems in Salinas.

    1. @Jalbert,
      Mostly raised in California and Texas, which probably makes me an odd fellow. Empirically, you are correct. People put the aftermarket exhaust to make their vehicles more powerful and loud. I was mostly directing my comment towards the goober smoocher in the article that thought you can’t legally modify an exhaust. I suppose there is a law that does define what is considered an illegally modified exhaust, like cherry bombs or systems that make the exhaust violate sound limits and or even causes the emissions system to be out of specification. As for the rest of your comment…yea.

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