Sgt. Troy Christianson

Sgt. Troy H. Christianson of the Minnesota State Patrol

“ASK A TROOPER” by Sgt. Troy Christianson of the Minnesota State Patrol

Question: Has the law requiring vehicles operated on roadways to have sound suppression devices (mufflers) been changed?

I see vehicles with straight pipes, motorcycles with straight pipes and hear many others that sound as if they have no suppression.

If the law is there why is it not enforced?

Answer: The law has not changed.

This is what the Minnesota State Statute 169.69 states:

“Every motor vehicle shall at all times be equipped with a muffler in good working order which blends the exhaust noise into the overall vehicle noise and is in constant operation to prevent excessive or unusual noise, and no person shall use a muffler cutout, bypass, or similar device upon a motor vehicle on a street or highway."

"The exhaust system shall not emit or produce a sharp popping or crackling sound. Every motor vehicle shall at all times be equipped with such parts and equipment so arranged and kept in such state of repair as to prevent carbon monoxide gas from entering the interior of the vehicle.

"No person shall have for sale, sell or offer for sale or use on any motor vehicle any muffler that fails to comply with the specifications as required by the commissioner of public safety.”

The law does not specifically answer how loud a motorized vehicle can be, but it does say that a vehicle must have a good working muffler that prevents “excessive or unusual noise.” So any cutouts or bypasses, straight pipes or rusted out mufflers and exhaust with holes are all illegal. After market mufflers, sometimes called “glass packs” or “cherry bombs,” can be an issue as they may produce “a sharp popping or crackling sound.”

Some counties and cities have local noise ordinances. Some of these cover the amount of noise, duration of noise, and source sound other than ambient noise that affect residents. A noise ordinance defines which sounds are and are not acceptable at any given time so that residents can live comfortably with the sounds that they hear. Some of these are effective during certain times of the day, usually applying at night. So depending on where you live, I would check with the local authorities on their ordinances.

I know that this law is enforced and we do our best to educate the public on traffic safety and equipment violations through education and enforcement.

If you have any questions concerning traffic related laws or issues in Minnesota send your questions to Sgt. Troy Christianson – Minnesota State Patrol at 2900 48th Street NW, Rochester MN 55901-5848. (Or reach him at, Troy.Christianson@state.mn.us) Twitter: MSPPIO_SOUTH

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(5) comments


A pretty weak answer. He did fill the page with a statute however....punt!! The real answer is yes, but we do not enforce it. I am ok with that. Cool cars, cool bikes need to make a little noise : )


I think they use the law more as an excuse to pull someone over when looking for drunk drivers or other more serious offenses. My first car had a huge hole on the muffler...It was loud...got pulled over crossing the interstate bridge at night...they were hoping I was drunk...No ticket for the loud muffler...not even a warning to fix it...It was just their probable cause to make a traffic stop.


nobody straight pipes their bikes cause they'll run like crap.....just cause yer scared to ride don't mean you gotta be such a girl.....Norb is crying again....


Loud pipes saved me from Deer hits, cars backing up into me, twist of the throttle little pipe noise off run the Deer and the car stops. Motorcycle horns will not do it do this and reaction time looking for the horn button is critical. Sorry Minnesota State Trooper to say your wrong on Loud pipes save lives!

Captain Norb

"I know that this law is enforced....."

Ok, no doubt there have been instances where Joe Sixpack or Betty Boxwine have been ticketed for driving a twenty year old beater whose muffler has long since rusted off. So technically you would be right.

But answer this: Have you or any of your colleagues in law enforcement ever, even once in your whole careers, actually ticketed and fined a Harley biker for not having a muffler? No decibel meter needed for this. It's easy to visually verify. So how about it?

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