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Do we need to inform the RTO after major modifications to our car’s design?

Some people try to blend in while some try to stand out. Those who modify their cars clearly belong to the second category. A modified car catches everyone’s attention, even that of traffic officials. Thus, it is extremely important to make modifications that are approved by the authorities. There are certain rules to be followed when it comes to car modifications. Read ahead to know details about car modifications and regulations to follow regarding the same.

What does the rule book say?

Do you need to inform the Regional Transport Office (RTO) after major modification to your car’s design? The answer is yes. You need to adhere to Central Motor Vehicle Rules, 1989 regarding car modifications.

The modified vehicle needs to be passed by Government-approved agencies such as Vehicle Research and Development Establishment. This step is as necessary as successful RTO online registration is needed when you purchase your car. There are clearly defined rules regarding changes made to the engine, window, body structure, etc. While getting your car modified, make sure to discuss these rules in detail with your car designer to avoid legal hassles.

What are major modifications?

As a part of RTO application, you have to fill a RTO online form. Such forms generally require your details as well as your car’s details. Upon successful RTO online registration, and passing all the required tests and formalities, you receive your car’s registration certificate.

Minor enhancement pertaining to interiors, wheels, etc. is not a concern but major changes such as changing the car’s color or car’s body need approval. Major changes need to comply with the law and reflect in the car’s registration certificate. Apart from that, your insurance company also needs to be notified about the modifications, your insurance premium might change accordingly.

Usually, people tend to modify the following:

  • Crash Guards

These are huge protective equipment placed in front of your car’s bonnet. Modifying these without prior approval can land you in trouble.

  • Engine

Your car’s registration certificate has its engine number. For some reason, if you choose to change your car’s engine, the new engine’s number needs to be updated in the registration certificate.

  • Lights

Car designers tend to play around a lot with the lights. Be it the headlights, fog lamps or indicators, make sure to keep things within regulations. Anything extravagant is a strict no. Too powerful lights can affect the vision of driver’s driving in the opposite direction of your car.

  • Horns

Beyond a point, horns can get irritating. Certain sirens are reserved for the police, ambulance, etc. those can’t be replicated.

  • Color

Have you seen any olive-green colored private cars on the road? This color is reserved for Defense vehicles, thus cannot be used for private cars. Changes in the car’s color need to be approved by the authorities.

  • Body-style changes

You cannot suddenly turn your hatchback into a sedan. If it needs to be done, the formal process needs to be followed. There are guidelines regarding your car’s exhaust pipe as well.

To modify or not to modify?

Modifications as per law are allowed. However, common sense must prevail while you are thinking of modifying your vehicle. A radical idea such as removing the roof of your car needs to be analyzed practically. Will it make sense to remove the roof of your car if you stay in a locality that has a rainy season for four months? Would you be driving your modified ride with no roof in blistering heat?

Generally, modified cars are hard to resell. If you are cost conscious, you might want to think about car modifications from a resale point of view as well. Not going overboard, thinking logically, and following the rule book should be enough to clear your way regarding car modifications.

Vikas Agarwal
the authorVikas Agarwal
Vikas Agarwal is an IIT-Varanasi graduate in Chemical Engineering. He is the Founder and CEO of - an investment advisory website. He is a Business Development Professional but a Value Investor at heart. He writes articles on Finaacle, which focus on simplifying the art of investing and the causes of human misjudgment when it comes to investing. He also shares his experiences as an investor and lessons from some of the greatest investors of all time.
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