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Most ridiculous (and illegal) car modifications

For some car enthusiasts driving a car straight off an assembly line is boring; they have to tinker with it first! But whilst some car modifications can be fun and are safe, there are plenty that are actually very much illegal. Here five illegal car modifications you should avoid…

1. Distracting Lights

Undercar neon lights were a popular car modification a few years back, and they are not only ridiculous looking but also potentially illegal! If deemed ‘distracting’ by the police then they could potentially be illegal.

Coloured lights such as green and blue are also not allowed, as the Road Vehicle Lighting Regulations 1989 states this must be reserved for emergency vehicles. Looks like this bloke took it one step further when he drove around in a fake police car - it turned out to be a prop from a TV series he was working on, but he was still fined £100 and kept in custody for 14 hours!

2. Dodgy window tints

Super tinted windows might make you look like a mysterious A-lister, but don’t tint them too dark or you’ll risk a hefty fine. To stay legal your front windscreen needs to allow 75% of the light through, and your side windows 70%.

This is causing quite a bit of grief for taxi drivers in Dudley at the moment, where new council safety regulations state that even the rear windows need to let in 40% of the light. The result? Many taxi drivers are being forced to spend money replacing factory-fitted windows. 

3. Confusing number plates

Font geeks be warned: number plates must be easily read, so characters, spacing, format and font should not be modified. It is also important that characters aren’t misrepresented either, by placing covers on certain sections.

And it seems even paying for a number plate doesn’t guarantee complete freedom of expression. The DVLA have recently banned a load of new number plates for being “too rude”.

4. Noisy exhaust pipes

Want to sound like a bad boi? You’re going to need a very loud exhaust pipe! Unfortunately (well, fortunately really!) large exhausts are largely illegal when used on public roads.

Big bore and sport exhaust systems are fitted usually with loud noises in mind and the resulting noise pollution can be deemed an offence. If a police officer suspects your vehicle is too noisy because of your exhaust system, they don’t even have to measure the sound level; their opinion is enough to deem it an offence.

5. Stretch tyres

All the rage in Europe, stretch tyres have recently gained traction (sorry) in the UK. As the name suggests, a stretch tyre is achieved by putting a narrow tyre on a wider wheel. Unfortunately it could affect the handling of your car negatively and therefore negates the Tyre Approval of the vehicle, meaning it is no longer considered fit for purpose.

A word of warning

If you should make any (legal!) modifications to your car, you must tell your insurer about them. If you don’t, and you need to make a claim, chances are you will have invalidated your insurance.

When you let them know of the modifications you have made, you may well experience an increase in your premium and they could even refuse you cover. If that is the case, and you still want to keep your modifications, you should look for a specialist insurance company instead. 

published: 11/12/2015 09:13:21

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