Modified Cars in India: What Is Legal and What Is Not?

by Vivaan Khatri | 13/12/2019
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Modified cars look fascinating but not every car modification is accepted by the law. To know what you should and shouldn't do when modifying your car, IndianAuto will explain everything about car modification laws in India.

The world of vehicle modification is open for all possibilities. We can see a variety of unusual and exotic modified cars in India, some of which you will never find something similar on regular car market. The unexpected and unusual style of modified cars is the key to customization's charm. However, not everyone has the same way of viewing customized cars. These daring car modifications always raise the eyebrows of the lawmakers as traffic regulations in India have strictly ruled out a majority of car customizations as illegal.

Before you handle your cars to the hands of the customizer, it is better that you are fully aware of all the legal stuff regarding the modification of cars. IndianAuto will point out some notable rules that you might want to take into consideration before having your car customized.

Also Read - Weird and Wacky Modified Mercedes Cars in India

modified cars in india

New Motor Vehicles Act has put some strict restriction on car modifications

Are modified cars illegal in India?

Motor Vehicles [Amendment] Act came into action earlier this year and has re-enforced the regulation against the faulty modification practices. According to Act 52,

“No owner of a motor vehicle shall so alter the vehicle that the particulars contained in the certificate of registration are at variance with those originally specified by the manufacturer”.

In plain words, it means that the modification should not alter the shape and structure of the original car design. The restricted modification practice also includes changes to the engine. Car enthusiasts’ deepest pleasure usually comes from the surge of power and a roaring exhaust note. That, however, it is not recommended now, as retuning the engine of your cars for higher performance and louder exhaust note is now illegal.

Why some modifications are classed as illegal?

Before going on sale in the market, each car must go through multiple tests to demonstrate its strength and safety in various driving situations. Everything regarding the structure of a car is well-considered by the engineers to ensure the standard quality for the vehicle. Any adjustment to the core structure can possibly affect the overall quality and upset the dynamics and operation of the whole system.

Also Read - Here's Probably The Best-looking Modified Maruti Swift You've Seen In Recent Times

car decal

Car modifications are not all illegal in India

For instance, some people might not be aware that setting up simple accessories like bull bars on the car fascia can limit the operation of airbags sensors, especially in case of a crash on the front. Another example is the misuse of after-market tyres which are bigger than the original tyres. This practice will directly affect the emergency braking system. For that reason, no change to the structure and engine is advisable for the sake of car occupants and other commuters' safety.

What modifications are allowed?

As mentioned above, changes to the structure and shape are not allowed, but some minor updates are acceptable as long as they don’t drastically alter the manner of vehicles. Here are some advisable modifications that you can apply to your car without worrying about traffic law.

  • Applying small stickers on the car body.

  • Repainting your car with a new colour

  • Replacing steel wheel with alloy wheels of the same rim size with the original parts.

  • Upsizing the tyres by a marginal difference

  • Fitting aftermarket CNG/LPG kits for car

Things are easier for interior modification. The good news is that you can freely add after-market parts like a new infotainment system, ambient lighting system or new seat cover. However, there are some practices that are not recommended, like applying tinted glass or audio system upgrades which are too loud might cause a nuisance to others on road. Read more stories about modified cars here, on IndianAuto.

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