If your Ram, Civic or Bel-Air is lifted or lowered, primped or pimped, it could save you a $101 fine to check whether your dream car is...

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If your Ram, Civic or Bel-Air is lifted or lowered, primped or pimped, it could save you a $101 fine to check whether your dream car is street legal before you hit the road.

The Washington State Patrol made 113,641 contacts last year to warn or cite drivers with nonheadlight lighting violations, said Christine Fox, the WSP’s equipment and standards-review manager. Troopers tallied 1,294 tire-related contacts, more than 66,000 for defective equipment and 5,601 for illegal exhaust systems.

Illegal modifications are a primary offense, which means authorities can pull you over just to take a closer look at a seemingly errant bumper or examine windows that appear overly tinted.

Some of the most common violations include lack of mud flaps on vehicles that require them, taillight covers in any shade but red, and drivers who light their undercarriage with neon while the car is moving. Some are common sense: While fancy wheel rims are just fine, you’d better forgo spikes à la the chariot wheels in “Ben-Hur” that could snag somebody in the next lane. In addition, you can’t lower any part of your car beyond the lowest part of your rims.

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There are some exceptions. Classic cars or hot rods more than 40 years old can sport different forms of lighting, Fox said, such as blue taillights. And it may come as a relief or surprise that art cars covered with Astroturf, scores of plastic dinosaurs, googly eyeballs or other odds and ends typically are legal, so long as the items are permanently affixed and not causing great distraction.

Christmas lights, however, are a no-no, along with lighted message signs — unless you drive a taxi or bus. Those holiday wreaths seen on many a semi come December are A-OK, provided they are tied down, don’t block lights or license plates and don’t extend farther than three feet, Fox said.

To see if your ideal ride is street legal, visit www1.leg.wa.gov/LawsAndAgencyRules

Dear Reader


Got an Eastside traffic question? Send it to us by e-mail, east@seattletimes.com; by fax, 425-453-0449; by mail, The Seattle Times Eastside News Bureau, 1200 112th Ave. N.E., Suite C-145, Bellevue, WA 98004.

Search title 204 in the Washington Administrative Code, title 46 in the Revised Code of Washington and the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards. Or e-mail equipment@wsp.wa.gov, or call your local state patrol office.

“I get calls from every age group wanting to know what they can and can’t do to their vehicle,” Fox said.

520 closure

If your weekend plans include crossing Lake Washington, pen in some extra travel time and plan to take Interstate 90.

The Evergreen Point Bridge will close from 11 tonight through 5 a.m. Monday so crews can perform annual maintenance, repairs and a safety inspection. The closure includes all of Highway 520 between Montlake Boulevard Northeast in Seattle and 92nd Avenue Northeast on the Eastside.

Want to learn more about efforts to replace the aging bridge? Visit www.wsdot.wa.gov/projects/SR520Bridge

Early warning

Bellevue: Expect rolling road closures Sunday along the route of the Seafair marathon, half-marathon and 5K races, which start downtown and travel along roads including Northeast 12th Street, Northup Way, the Lake Hills Connector and Southeast Eighth Street. The first race begins at 6:55 a.m.; roads will close as competitors reach them and reopen when they depart, or by 1 p.m. For the complete list of street closures, visit www.cityofbellevue.org/press.asp?view =37792 and go to “route map” at the page bottom.

Bellevue: Northbound Bellevue Way will close from 10 tonight to 8 a.m. tomorrow between Northeast Fourth and Northeast Eighth streets so a crane can hoist materials to the Lincoln Square work site.

Bellevue: Bellevue kicks off a major downtown paving effort Monday that will shut down stretches of road through November. Segments include Northeast Eighth Street from 98th Avenue Northeast to 112th Avenue Northeast, and Bellevue Way between Northeast and Southeast Eighth streets. For updates, visit www.cityofbellevue.org/transportation

Redmond: Northeast 132nd Street just east of Avondale Road Northeast and north of Redmond will close from 6 a.m. Monday to 10 p.m. July 15 so crews can repair the bridge that crosses Cottage Lake Creek. Detour via Avondale Road, Bear Creek Road Northeast and Northeast 133rd Street.

Karen Gaudette: 206-515-5618 or kgaudette@seattletimes.com