Whether You Call it the “Carolina Squat,” Tilt or Lean, It’s Now Illegal

This article was written by Paul A. Eisenstein for TheDetroitBureau.com

DETROIT, MI (12.15.2021) – If you’ve spent any time on North Carolina roads you might have found yourself wondering about the way some local motorists have modified their vehicles to look like the front end is pointed up towards the sky.

It’s known as the “Carolina Squat,” though the concept actually was born out West. Whatever its origins, and whether you prefer to call it the “Carolina Lean,” or even the “Tennessee Tilt,” lawmakers in the Tar Heel State have made it illegal and drivers who ignore the new measure could lose their license.

The move came in response to a Change.org petition presented to the North Carolina House of Representatives that garnered the signatures of more than 70,000 of the state’s residents.

Roots in racing

The Carolina Squat is traditionally a truck or SUV, though sedans and coupes may also be modified by lowering the back of the vehicle several inches and then raising the front end by three inches or more.

The origin of the practice appears to trace back to California’s Baja racing circuit. It not only shifts the center of gravity toward the back wheels but helps when landing jumps on uneven pavement.

Today, its origins are largely irrelevant. Like the lowriders popular in many urban communities, it’s all about the look.

A risky move

But while the Carolina Squat may have its fans, there are plenty of folks who hate the approach. For one thing, the vehicles now have their headlights pointing up, rather than straight ahead, and that can reduce visibility for other drivers. Experts also warn that the modified vehicles are less stable and less safe in a crash.

“These trucks blind people with their headlights pointed to the sky,” the Change.org petition read.

Some mechanics contend the approach also risks damaging a vehicle by draining oil from the drivetrain.

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