5 Illegal Car Modification That Can Land You In Trouble


We all love our cars and making them stand out from the usual crowd is an essential part of an ownership experience, especially for youngsters. This includes the variety of changes that we end up doing, both on the inside and outside. Though most of these small car modification like after-market alloy wheels or leather seat covers do not violate the law, there are others illegal car modifications which can land you in trouble with the cops.

Let’s have a look at few illegal car modification:

Illegal Car Modification With Tinted Glasses

car tints for windows

This is one of the most common traffic laws that motorists tend to flout in India. This offence is also easy to catch by the traffic police. As per law and rule 100 of Central Motor Vehicle Rules (CMVR) acts 1989, the glass of the windscreen and rear window of your car should have a minimum visibility of at least 70%. For side windows side windows a minimum visibility of 50% is required. Anything less than that and you are liable for prosecution.

With summers just a couple of months away, cops will be on the lookout for offenders. Do note that even using sun shades on the windows is not permitted anymore.

Fancy Horns

Illegal car modifications with fancy horns

Every manufacturer adheres to the guidelines set by the government when it comes to providing a set of horns in their cars. The overall decibel limit of these factory fitted horns is always under the prescribed limit. While most of us do get away by installing louder after-market horns, there are those who install fancy horns – for example, sirens and other pressure horns. These are illegal as per law and punishable with hefty fines. Fancy horns sound great but are bad for your pocket!

Loud Exhausts

Illegal car modifications with loud exhaust

The exhaust system of a car is supposed to offer two functions. First, it regulates the amount of emissions that are emitted out and second, it controls the overall sound levels. An after-market exhaust is preferred by enthusiasts as it sounds ‘great’ with louder noise levels. Now while this might massage your ego, an after-market exhaust will not do well if cops decide to flag you down on the road.

Further, these exhausts will also not pass a typical PUC test due to higher emissions. A factory fitted exhaust comes with a catalytic converter which is a big help in bringing down emissions. This essential part is not present in an after-market exhaust which means your car will definitely fail the PUC test which in turn could lead to heavy fines, if caught by the cops.

Illegal Lights

Illegal car modifications with LED lights

In most metro cities, it has become a hobby of sorts for car owners to upgrade the standard headlight bulbs with brighter units. Then there are those who will change the color of the standard fog lamps and even indicator bulbs. While these might make their cars look cool, cops do not prefer the same. As per the CMVR act, every external bulb on a car has a pre-prescribed color theme. If you mess with it, be ready to pay hefty fines.

Also, brighter lights can blind on-coming traffic if not used properly. Likewise, it is an illegal car modification to fit roof mounted fog lamps as they are over the limit of 1.5 meters from the ground. If you have these, make sure they are covered at all times.

Fancy Number Plates

Illegal car modifications with fancy plates

Just like after-market lights, even fancy number plates can easily be recognized by cops on the road. New cars are required to have the latest IND embossed safety plates. Even if these are not possible, make sure the stickers on the number plate are in legible font and not of the fancy stuff. The letters should meet all the guidelines set by the government. If an illegal number plate catches the fancy of a traffic police officer, be ready to shell out hefty fines.

Other Illegal Car Modification

Apart from these five ones, there are numerous other illegal car modifications that should be avoided at any cost. Lets summarize them quickly

  • Color Of Your Car:

    If you decide to re-paint your car in a different color, make sure the same is updated in the RC of the car. It might be difficult for a traffic policeman to catch this offence. However, during routine documentation check, if he glances at the colour section of the RC, you can be in trouble.

  • Body Style:

    Though this is rare, if you modify the original body type of a car, it has to be updated in the RC of the car.

  • Add-ons:

    It is illegal, as per law, to have add-on parts attached to your car. For example, a roof rack might be practical for long trips, but it is considered illegal on a privately registered car.

  • Alternate Fuels:

    If you decided to install a CNG or a LPG kit in your car, make sure the same is endorsed on the RC copy of the car by the RTO as per the registration of your car. This is a legal requirement else cops have the right to issue a challan to you.

It is always advisable to use a car in its standard form. While modifications sound great, they can land you in trouble easily. Most of us tend to get away with minor changes to the car.  However, to stay safe in the long run, make sure you don’t indulge in the changes mentioned above.

More than that, most of these modifications will not do good in terms of a good re-sale value of your used car. Both private buyers as well we used car dealers don’t like to invest into a car that has fancy add-ons. We at CARS24 inspect hundreds of cars each day and do come across such examples. Trust us, this does effect the re-sale value adversely.

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