Legal car MODS that won’t get you in trouble

Over the past couple of months, the RTOs have been in action, impounding and seizing vehicles that have been illegally modified. So that got us thinking about the mods can you do on your vehicle that will not result in your car getting impounded. Here are the results.

Legal modifications

These modifications can be done after getting approval from the RTO. Incase a modification is made, it needs to be legally endorsed by the RTO within 7 days of the modification being done. Here are the things that can be done.

Pink Suzuki Swift 2011 model

Colour: Sometimes people wish to change the colour of their car. In that case, a request needs to be made to the RTO for that change. Once the RTO approves it, they will make a change on your RC as well. Once this is done, your colour change can’t get you in trouble.

skoda superb

Fitting accessories present in higher version: So you had to pick up the lower version of some car but later want additional features on it. If the top of the line version has the features you want to add, you can add them as well. The cars that are homologated are normally the top of the line versions which come with all the bells and whistles. So if you opt for those accessories that are already present on the top of the line, then that is okay.

engine swap

Engine Swap: Your RC mentions all the engine details. In an event of an engine change, you will need to get the new details endorsed by the RTO and onto your RC. Another thing that you can do is opt for a higher engine specification if the vehicle has been homologated with one. Say the base model has a smaller engine than the top of the line, you can opt for the engine that is there on the top of the line because it has already been homologated in the country for that car. But that will have to get approved by the RTO, only after which it will be made legal.


Adding CNG/LPG kits: If you add a CNG or LPG kit to your vehicle, you will have to get it endorsed by the RTO who will then update that in your RC.


Tyre upsize: If you wish to get your tyres upsized, you will require an RTO endorsement for that as well, but this is something you can do to the next higher/lower size. But don’t even think of an upsize like the one on the monster truck above.

Weight: The unladen weight of the vehicle with all the changes (additions or deletions) should not exceed 2% of the unladen weight of the vehicle.

Illegal modifications*

Deviation from power figures mentioned in RC: The RC of the vehicle mentions engine specifications as well as output figures of the car. So making any change to that can be a cause of concern unless it hasn’t been pre-approved by the testing agency. This makes remaps, tuning boxes, and all other modifications that boost power and torque illegal.


Structural changes in a vehicle: Each and every vehicle undergoes a comprehensive testing process before the vehicle gets approved. Doing any structural change will make the vehicle illegal. See the case of the seized limos or the Vardenchi bike that was seized last week (Read about it here). The reason behind this is that once you change the structure, parameters like safety and road worthiness cannot be accounted for. So changes to the wheelbase or any other structural member will get you in trouble.

Loud horns and exhausts: According to the rules, you cannot have a multi-tone horn or a harsh horn. There  sound emitted from the vehicle shouldn’t exceed 82 dB.

*These modifications can be made legal, but the process is a long, expensive and cumbersome one. First, you will have to send the modification plans to the manufacturer, who will study the design change and then approve/disapprove it. If that it is approved, you can go ahead with the modifications. Once modified, you will have to get the vehicle tested by the testing agencies (ARAI/ICAT/etc) at your own cost. Once the vehicle has been approved, you can go the the RTO to get that legally endorsed on your RC. The problem with this is that it is a very expensive and time consuming process. So for an individual doing it, it is not recommended.