Modified My car
Sometimes, it’s nice to take something and make it your own. Sometimes, that thing you take and make your own is your car.
If you are contemplating souping up your vehicle, regardless of whether the modification you want to make is in the form of a minor safety-minded addition or in the form of a full-on facelift, there are some important things you need to know and consider, both when it comes to the law and your car insurance.
So, if customising your ride is something you feel compelled to do, make sure you do your due diligence. While we can’t help you paint those fun racing stripes on your car, we can help you with the aforementioned due diligence. Let’s dive in and have a look at the modification-related things you need to know.
Important non-insurance considerations prior to making modifications
First and foremost, before you add to or change anything on your car, you need to be certain that what you plan to do is actually legal. All vehicles being driven on the roads need to be what is termed “street-legal” — and there is every chance that your intended modifications may impact your vehicle’s street-legal status.
As a result, always notify your relevant licensing authority before making any modifications to your car.
What happens if my modifications are illegal?
If your modifications aren’t legal, typically a few of the following things will happen, all of which are pretty massive bummers:
- You’ll face a significant fine.
- Your vehicle will be de-registered.
- Your vehicle will be impounded.
- You’ll receive a defect notice.
How do I know if my modifications are legal?
In Australia, modifications to your car need to be approved by your state or territory’s motor vehicle licensing department and they must comply with the following:
- Australian Design Rules (ADR)
- The National Code of Practice for Light Vehicle Construction and Modification (NCOP)
- Road rules and regulations
In New Zealand, modifications to your car typically require a low volume vehicle (LVV) certification, which is needed in order to get a warrant of fitness (WoF) — which you cannot drive your car without.
What sorts of modifications are usually allowed by law?
Permissible vehicle modifications include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Alarm systems
- Roof racks
- Stereo systems
- Additional lighting
- Body markings
- Single tone air horns
- Air conditioning
- Stabiliser bars
- Air shock absorbers
- Badge bars
What sorts of modifications are usually illegal?
In general, the following are no-go zones:
- Loud exhaust systems
- Dark window tinting
- Non-compliant modifications to the engine, chassis, tyres or suspension