Car Modifications In India | Legal Vs Illegal

Car Modification In India | Legal Vs Illegal
Car Modification In India | Legal Vs Illegal

Bought your first car of your own? Well, kudos to you for that! Buying your first car is always a special feeling, doesn’t matter if it’s a brand new one or a second-hand car. It always remains ‘the special one’ for you.

Now, your car has to match your taste and preferences, isn’t it? So, why not get it a bit modified and have it look a little better and different than the rest of the lot! Well, hold up before you take it straight away to modify into something that you always wanted. Here are some things that you must know before you get your car modified in India.

Are modified cars illegal in India?

The Supreme Court of India on January 2019 ruled that no motor vehicle in the country can be modified or altered in such a way which makes the data about the car differ from the modified version of the car. In layman’s language, you cannot play with the ‘structural features’ of the car in any manner. Any changes to the car’s chassis or engine have also been termed illegal. So, going above and beyond with your imagination and portraying it on your car can now land you into some serious trouble.

Which car modifications are illegal in India?

Any modification that deviates from the manufacturer’s specifications is not legal.

  1. Width of the tyres: This is a no-brainer, bigger tyres do look good on your vehicle but increasing the width of the tyre to an extent where it protrudes the body of the car, is illegal.
  2. Loudness of the horn: Changing the sound and loudness of the horn is a trend nowadays but the government has declared, that to reduce the noise pollution caused by car horns, the horns cannot be louder than 100 decibels.
  3. Width of alloys: Different alloys can give different looks to your tyres but modifying your alloys, where the lip of the alloy protrudes the tyre edge has been banned by the government.
  4. Width and the length of the vehicle: Well everyone wants a limo or an SUV but not everyone can afford it. So, people go on and hinder with the length of their cars to make it look like a Limo or an SUV. Well, that’s not allowed by the government too.
  5. Modification of engine to a higher capacity one: Inter-changing your engine with a better one does give you better horsepower and efficiency but changing the engine to other than the manufacturer’s specifications is banned too.
  6. Tinting the windows: As per The Supreme Court Of India ruling, car window tinting is prohibited in India. The use of window tint of any VLT (Visual Light Transmission) rating on the windscreen (front and rear), side windows is illegal. Tinted windows straight from the car manufacturer is allowed with certain conditions applied.

Also Read: Motor Vehicle Amendment Bill 2019

What are some legal car modifications in India?

Well, all the popular car modifications in India and the addition of basic car accessories or something related to the safety of your car is still permissible. Let’s have a look at what is permissible and can be still modified –

  1. Engine modification: Yes, the engines can be changed but it requires prior permission from the RTO (Regional Transport Office). Failing to follow the protocols set by the RTO can lead to cancellation of a vehicle’s registration.
  2. Tyre modification: One can opt to change the tyres of a car within a permissible range as the car manufacturers usually offer different specs of tyres ranging from the base variant to the top model variant. For example – If you have a mid-range model you can go and opt for tyres available in the higher model of the same car.
  3. Minor modifications: Minor fitments like door protectors, decal, rain guards etc can be added to the car without any illegalities.
  4. Colour modification– You can change the colour of the vehicle. Although the only condition being that the colour has to be the one which is RTO approved.
  5. Engine fuel change: You can get a CNG kit fitment in your car if it’s a petrol or diesel one.
  6. Suspension modification: Suspension of the car can be modified to a high performance one for a quality ride. A difference of a few inches from the stock suspension is not illegal at all.
  7. Headlights and tail-lights modification: LED inserts and auxiliary lamps are safe to be installed and are also not rendered illegal by the government.

Is it legal to vinyl wrap a car in India?

The law about Vinyl wrapping in our country is quite ambiguous. The law or the hearing by the Supreme Court bench headed by Justices Arun Mishra and Vineet Saran said nothing about vinyl wrap on a car. It is always suggested that before doing any sort of modification to the colour of your car, always consult with your region’s RTO just to be sure.

Moreover, the fact remains that a vinyl wrap if does not change the colour or texture of the vehicle as it is mentioned in the registration certificate issued by the company then there’s no point in terming it as something illegal.

Got one of those European Union car number plates? Read this: Types Of Number Plates In India


The Supreme Court and the Government of India came up with these rules and regulations after thorough research and suggestions.
Modification of a vehicle is precisely a hard work and involves some skills but only when done properly and safely.

The ruling by the Supreme Court is surely a welcome change against the roadside modders who modify cars and bikes for a little amount hence posing a safety threat as well as an environmental one to some extent.
This move will surely benefit the companies and organisations which follow the specified protocol in modifying a car and hence keeping the soul of the car alive.