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Illegal Car Modifications You Need to Avoid

Some car modifications are illegal. These can lead to your car getting seized or the traffic officers are penalising you. So, before you make any modification to your vehicle, read our blog now!

  • 02 Mar 2021
  • min read

We all love our cars, no matter what their make and model may be. Many of us want to make our vehicle stand out from others on the road. That is why we sometimes opt to modify our cars with aftermarket products or accessories. Car modification may include as little as putting a tint film on window glasses, to as much as changing the entire look of the car with spoilers, alloy wheels, etc.

However, did you know that not all car modifications are legal in India? Any illegal changes to your car may land you in trouble. It can either lead to your car getting seized or you being penalised by the traffic cops. Hence, before you take your car out for any modification, you must know about the illegal car modifications not allowed in India.

In this article, we've listed some of India's most common illegal car modifications, as described under the Motor Vehicles Act of 1988. Read on.

1. Tinted window glass with less than 50% visibility

This is one of the most common illegal car modifications many people make to their car. Unless you're a VIP or VVIP, applying tint film on your car's window glasses which reduces visibility by more than 50% is illegal in India. You cannot even use sunshades on your car's windowpanes as per the latest laws.

As per rule 100 of the Central Motor Vehicles Act (CMVA) of 1988, the glass of the windscreen and rear windows of all cars in India should have minimum visibility of 70%. Also, as per the Motor Vehicle Act, motor insurance is mandatory while driving a vehicle. Whereas, for glasses of cars' side-windows, a minimum visibility of 50% is compulsory. Anything less than that, and you would be on the wrong side of the law.

2. Using fancy and loud horns

This is another common traffic law that many car owners flout in India. Changing a car's horn with a different sound or enhanced loudness is something many people prefer in our country. However, the Government of India has laid down a prescribed set of guidelines for the horns of cars running in the country.

As per these guidelines, horns louder than 100 decibels are not allowed for general cars or four-wheelers. It means that if you install fancy aftermarket horns in your car – such as sirens or pressure horns – you could be penalised as per the existing motor vehicle laws.

3. Installing loud exhaust pipes or silencers

Exhaust pipes are located at the back-bottom of a car and act as a passage for the exit of high-pressure exhaust gases into the atmosphere. They are also known as silencers in India. The company-fitted exhaust pipes in cars have catalytic converters and hence, they not only regulate the amount of emissions that are released into the air but also controls the overall sound levels.

Installing aftermarket exhaust pipes that are fancy and loud are illegal in India under rule 120 of the CMVA. It's because they can cause more air as well as noise pollution. Further, such exhaust pipes may not be fit to conduct a Pollution Under Control (PUC) test, which is mandatory to drive a car in India.

4. Use of fancy registration plates

Many people in India wish to install designer registration/number plates on their cars. These fancy number plates come in various shapes and sizes. If you also have the same wish, remember that not all fancy registration plates are legal in India.

As per the Motor Vehicle laws, all new cars are required to have IND embossed high-security registration plates (HSRPs) only. In the case of old cars, the car owner needs to make sure that the letters on the number plate are in a legible font and not something fancy. In case a traffic police officer catches a car driver with an illegal number plate, he/she might have to shell out hefty fines.

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5. Light and tyre modifications

Many people prefer to change their car's tyre and lights to enhance its aesthetic value. However, before doing so, the car owner must be well-versed with traffic laws regarding the same. As per the CMVA rules, the tyres of a car can be changed but their dimensions need to be within the permissible range for that category.

For example, if you have a mid-range car, you can opt for tyres that are available for higher variants of the same car model. Similarly, you can change the headlights or taillights of a car but can't violate the same colour rules. You can upgrade from halogen lights to white LED lights, but you cannot opt for red, green, or blue lights as your car's headlight.

To conclude

Mentioned above are some illegal car modifications that you should avoid making to your car. Apart from these, if you make any other changes to your vehicle such as colour modification, change of engine, fitment of alternative fuel kit etc., you need to make sure that you inform your Regional Transport Office (RTO).

Not doing so can attract heavy traffic fines or imprisonment, or both. Also, you should make sure that you carry all mandatory documents such as a car insurance policy, registration certificate (RC), PUC certificate, tax token, and your driving license along with you every time you take your car out for a drive. Motor insurance doesn't just keep you compliant with the law; it ensures you're protected in case of collisions, calamities and theft too. 

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