Car Modifications In India | Legal Vs Illegal

When it comes to loved ones, few think twice before doing everything in their capacity to keep them looking wonderful. So it is for car owners and their precious vehicles. Many say money is not a bar when it comes to modifying their four-wheel companions and making them look their best. We’re with you on that!

Sadly, we can’t say the same about legality.

Car Modifications In India | Legal Vs Illegal

Did you know that most modifications are “illegal”, and have been so as per the Motor Vehicles Act for a long time now? Some do because they have had their brush with upholders of the law.

As per 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”.

For a layman, this means that the original shape and structure of the vehicle should be not altered or modified. This includes the engine, which can’t be tuned for increased power, performance and exhaust note.

Each car that goes on sale in India undergoes various tests. These are conducted across parameters, including safety. And when we, as enthusiasts, modify our vehicles, we unknowingly end up compromising it. This includes the safety of passengers inside the vehicle, and others on the road.

Car Modifications In India | Legal Vs Illegal

For example, a bull bar up front can interfere with the Airbags sensors, preventing them from triggering in case of a frontal accident. Likewise, fitting wider tyres drastically changes the way an automobile behaves when the emergency brakes are applied.

But does this mean the end of the world of modifications? Not really. For starters, minor sticker work on the body of the car will not call for any legal action. Likewise, switching from steel wheels to alloy wheels — of the same rim size, of course — or upsizing tyres by one size (say from 165mm to 175mm) won’t put you on the wrong side of the law.

You can even change the colour of your car, provided you get the same that change reflected in the registration certificate of the vehicle. Fitting approved CNG or LPG kits to increase the efficiency of a car is also permitted but needs to be mentioned on the registration certificate by the local regional transport office.

However, fitting an after-market exhaust system that increases out-sound strict NO. Also, a number plate that might seem creative or fancy to you can land you in trouble! Read about it here.

For interiors, we are happy to report that fitting seat covers, improving the infotainment system or playing around with mood lights are some of the changes enthusiasts can carry out without worrying about breaking the law. That said, tinted glasses are still banned and the cops can pull you over in case the audio output levels from the infotainment system is loud enough to disturb others on the road.

So if you have carried out major alterations that could fall under the ‘illegal’ category, we recommend you to restore your car to the original condition at the earliest. Traffic policemen are usually on the lookout for such cars and fines can be as high as several thousand rupees. We say head to GoMechanic, locate their nearest workshop partner and take your prized possession for a quick detox session to returns it to its original glory. Call 93888 93888 or visit to book your car service today!