Car Modification Rules in India: Which Are the Legal & Illegal Car Modifications?
Every car owner wants to modify their cars to enhance their external looks and get optimum driving performance. If you are similarly deciding to modify your car, you should be aware of the car modification rules in India. This is because the Supreme Court came up with certain legal guidelines in 2019 that every car owner must follow while modifying their cars. If you want to know about such guidelines, continue reading this blog as it focuses on legal and illegal car modifications, which you must learn.
What Are the Legal Car Modifications in India?
1. Upgrading Car's Tyres
Upgrading your car's tyres is legal as long as the new tyres meet the manufacturer's requirements. However, while upsizing your car's tyres, you should install one with a similar or higher load index and speed rating compared to stock tyres. Moreover, if the new tyres feature larger section width, selecting one with a lower sidewall height is required. Additionally, you can install tyres of a distinct compound and type to your car.
2. Changing Car's Colour
You can repaint your car with the colour of your preference. However, you need approval from the RTO or Regional Transport Office for this colour modification made to your car. Besides, the RC of your car should specify the colour changes made to it. However, strictly avoid repainting your car in Army Green. In India, this colour is reserved for military use only.
3. Upgrading Suspension
You can upgrade your car's suspension to improve driving performance. However, upgrading your car's suspension should not hamper the ground clearance. Increasing or decreasing the ground clearance by a large margin is not legally acceptable.
4. Body Wrapping
Body or vinyl wrapping helps to protect your car's factory paint. The cost of this modification ranges approximately from ₹ 10,000 to lakhs. Moreover, a proper body wrap can last more than 5 years. You also don't need any pre- and post-approval from RTO to get a vinyl wrap for your car.
5. Car Modifications With Body Kits
Body kits are nowadays becoming a trend among car enthusiasts. Therefore, several car manufacturers are also providing them as accessories. Body kits include cosmetic elements such as a front splitter, body cladding and side panels that help to improve a car's aesthetics and do not hamper its structural changes.
6. Installing Aftermarket CNG Kits
It is legal to install an aftermarket CNG kit on your car. However, installation requires registration with RTO, and after that, you will receive an updated registration certificate for your car.
7. Installing LED DRLs
You can install LED DRLs on your car. These DRLs are beneficial in weather like rain or dense fog and help to make your car visible to commuters.
8. Making Changes for Differently-abled
Making changes like fitting-adapted mirrors, automatic clutch, brakes or accelerator, etc., in a car and making it suitable for a physically challenged individual is legal.
9. Modifying Engine Within the Permissible Limits
You can make changes to your car's engine. However, this modification requires approval from the RTO. Note not all changes are legal in India. For instance, you can replace your car's existing engine with a powerful one. Your car's engine capacity should not exceed the manufacturer's specifications.
What Are the Illegal Car Modifications in India?
Apart from knowing car modifications that are legal in India, you should be aware of the illegal ones to avoid legal consequences. So, go through the car modifications listed below that are deemed to be illegal in India:
1. Tinted Window Glass With Lower Than 50% Visibility
Unless you are a VVIP or VIP, adding a tint film to your car's window glasses decreases the visibility by over 50% and is illegal in India. Moreover, according to recent legal guidelines, using sunshades on your car's window panes is illegal.
According to rule 100 of the Central Motor Vehicles Act (CMVA) of 1988, the visibility of every car's rear windows and windscreen in India should be at least 70%. Besides, the minimum visibility of a car's side window glasses should be 50%. Anything below that is deemed to be illegal in India.
2. Installing Loud and Fancy Horns
According to the Government guidelines, you cannot install horns that are louder than 100 decibels on your car. This implies that if you install ornamental aftermarket horns such as pressure horns or sirens on your car, you can face a legal penalty according to the motor vehicle law in India.
3. Using Designer Registration Plate
Using a decorative or designer registration plate on your car is illegal in India. According to the motor vehicles law, every new car should have high-security registration plates embossed with IND. If you own an old car, you must ensure that the fonts of the letters mentioned on the number plate are legible. If you do not comply with these guidelines and traffic police notice the same, you may need to pay a hefty fine.
4. Installing Loud Exhaust Pipes
Replacing your car's existing exhaust pipe with a new fancy one that produces a loud sound is illegal in India, according to rule 120 of the CMVA. This is because it causes more noise and air pollution. Moreover, such an exhaust pipe is unsuitable for undergoing the Pollution Under Control (PUC) test, a compulsory test for every car. This test determines the emission levels of a car and assesses whether it follows legal standards of pollutant emission.
5. Modifying Lights Beyond Permissible Guidelines
You can replace the halogen lights with white LED lights. However, you cannot choose colours like blue, green, or red when replacing your car's headlights.
6. Using Oversized Alloy Wheels
You can customise your car with alloy wheels. However, installing alloy wheels larger than your car can lead you to face legal repercussions.
What Are the Things to Consider Before Modifying the Car?
It has been already mentioned that you can make changes by complying with legal car modification rules in India. So, if you have decided to make changes to your car, consider the following factors before proceeding with the same:
1. Cost Required for Car Modification
Modifying your car is a costly affair. Hence, planning out which component of a car you want to modify is essential to save your money on such modifications.
2. Safety of Your Car
Keep the safety of your car in mind while modifying your car. Eliminating safety features for upgrading the performance of your is not advisable.
Car modifications can hamper the existing warranty on your car. This is because the manufacturer will blame the damage on the modified components for their malfunctioning and may reject your claim for availing benefits under warranty. Therefore, if you have purchased an extended warranty while buying your car, it is ideal to avoid any car modifications.
4. Resale Value of a Car
Making changes to your car affects its resale value. So, you may get a lower amount while reselling your modified car to a buyer.
5. Insurance Premium
Certain car modifications like making changes to the engine can increase your premium payable towards your car insurance policy.
6. Availability of Car Parts for Old Cars
If you own an old car that is no longer manufactured, finding its component can be difficult. Even if you find the same, you need to consider its cost and the benefits you get in return before investing in it.
To conclude, having a clear idea about the legal car modification rules in India is essential to avoid facing any penalties. So, go through the same mentioned above carefully.