10 ILLEGAL car modifications that can get your car seized

The modification scene is getting bigger every day in India. People have started to get more aware about how their car or bike looks and hence garages are seeing new customers every now and then who want to personalize their cars. However, one thing that is not known to many is the fact that how strict Indian laws are about car modification. Even small changes that are deemed illegal by rule books can get your vehicle booked. Though there are other ways to get permission for your modification, it involves a long process of getting your car tested by ARAI or getting the Registration Certificated updated from the RTO. This however is as tedious in reality as it is to read here. Therefore, we have compiled a list of ten such modifications that are illegal to do without informing the authorities in India. Get aware, folks.

Turning it into a Limousine

No matter however cool the idea of turning your car into a stretch limousine may look, the end result would be your car getting booked and even confiscated. According to the law, any modification that involves altering the structure of the vehicle is illegal. A car has to be cut in half and then stretched from the middle for it to be made into a limousine. This structural change can be dangerous if not done properly. If your car is converted into a limousine and being used on public roads without getting any ARAI certification, it can be seized instantly.

Making it smaller

In the eyes of law, this is no different than elongating your car. Shortening a vehicle again means altering its structure and which is extremely dangerous. It is mandatory for every vehicle selling in India to get an ARAI certification and altering the length of the vehicle means one has to get it re-certified by the government authority. Structure alternations are a strict no-no.


Now this may come as a surprise for many as there are many customised vehicles on the roads. However there is a difference. Using bolt on body kits is not illegal as they don’t make any structural changes. But customising the vehicle in any form by putting a different body on it is illegal. Making a replica of some other car by modifying your vehicle is again illegal. There have been many instances when the cops have seized customised bikes and cars in India.


Most of the convertibles sold in India are sports cars which are quite expensive. There is no convertible car in our country that comes at an affordable price. Hence many people take matters into their own hands by converting their everyday ride into a convertible. This is again completely illegal as it directly violates the rule which deems structural changes as unlawful. All the convertible cars that come in market have a strengthened body that makes them much heavier than their solid-roof versions.


An exoskeleton or external roll-cage is placed on vehicles to protect the vehicle parts from getting damaged and instead, the external frame takes any such beating. It also saves the occupants during a rollover as the main body does not get heavily crumpled. These type of things are usually done on hard-core off-roading vehicles. However, exoskeletons increase the weight of the vehicle which disturbs the vehicle’s centre of gravity and makes it topple prone. While it is perfectly legal to drive such cars at private events, they are illegal on public roads and can be seized by the police force.

Pressure horns

Not only legally, loud horns should also be be not used morally. Excessively loud horns and pressure horns are a pain for other commuters and passerbys. The Indian government has set a loudness limit of 82 decibels for any vehicle’s horn. All the manufacturer fitted horns in India comply with this norm. However, fitting aftermarket horns which exceed this limit causes noise pollution and are also banned from the market. Always check for the decible rating if you get an aftermarket horn installed or your car can get booked.

Aftermarket Exhausts

Aftermarket Exhaust are another modification which can lead to a seized vehicle. As with horns, the exhausts also are provided with certain guidelines which include its loudness. Anything above the permissible limit can lead you getting in trouble with the cops. Most of the famous exhaust manufacturers sell street legal exhaust that have a maximum decibel rating. However, most of the cheap aftermarket performance-oriented exhausts are extremely loud and are allowed to be used only in a private area, like racing tracks.

Weight change

When a new vehicle is developed, it goes through a procedure and is then approved by ARAl, with its weight mentioned on the Registration Certificate. If upon modifying the vehicles, its weight changes by more than 2% of the original value, you can get in trouble. The weight increase of decrease can happen due to alloy wheel upgrades, performance body parts like carbon fibre bonnet and similar things. Manufacturers make cars after a lot of R&D and big changes to weight can affect its functioning in many ways. However, if done by an expert, the vehicle would not take a hit. Large weight change will be still illegal though.

Power increase

Many people want to increase the power output of the car and there are various ways for that. Tuning boxes, ECU remaps and ECU swaps available in the market that can increase the power of your engine. But it is illegal big time to drive such cars on public roads and these power enhanced cars can be seized by the police. If the engine is much higher powered than the stock, it can put extra pressure on the chassis and can cause big problems. If the cops find out about the higher engine output, they will definitely take the vehicle away from you.

Engine swap

Now engine swapping is a tough job and can only be done by a skilled mechanic. It basically means trading your car’s engine for some other powerful engine. Doing so is also deemed as illegal according to the law and while it may sound like fun, it can lead to the car being towed away to the nearest police station. One other factor to this being illegal is that stolen cars are often robbed of their engine which is then sold separately. If the cops find out that the engine number of the vehicle is different from the one mentioned on the RC, your vehicle can be seized for good.


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