What Modifications Can You Have on Your Car?
Car enthusiasts, or petrol heads, have been modifying their cars in all sorts of ways for decades, some of them legally and others not. But in recent years, car modifications have got a whole lot more sophisticated. While in the 1980s you might have been limited to go-faster stripes and full body kits, nowadays a few clicks on a computer keyboard can remap your entire engine.
Some modifications can have an effect on car insurance premiums and put them up significantly, so if you’re considering any changes, it’s worth contacting your insurer first so that you can factor in the cost.
Most modifications are done to enhance either the appearance or the performance of the car, or in some cases both. So what sort of modifications are legal?
Manufacturers regularly rein in the capabilities of their cars to allow them to release higher-spec models at a later date, and so remapping is one of the most common modifications. As well as simply being able to change locking sequences, it can be used to increase power and fuel efficiency. The engine control unit is simply linked to a computer and its existing settings overwritten.
Another modification that will help to improve performance is upgrading the air filter exhaust, as it allows the engine to breathe more efficiently. If you’re planning on using the car on public roads, you will still need to ensure that you have silencers in place and that the emissions created are within legal limits.
Another modification that has become more sophisticated is changing the colour. Previously requiring a respray, cars are now simply wrapped in a vinyl and heat and pressure are applied to seal it. Although not a complex job, you should employ a skilled and experienced company to do this for you, unless you want to be left with air bubbles in the finish. Alongside wrapping, car enthusiasts often have their windows tinted too.
Changing the tyres and lowering the suspension of a vehicle can greatly improve its handling capability, but if you’re planning on driving your car in suburban estates, watch out for traffic calming measures such as sleeping policemen, as they can seriously damage a lowered suspension.
The addition of LED headlights and under-car lights is another common modification, but there are some legal limitations that you will need to bear in mind. All forward-facing lights should be white or yellow and all rear ones red. Blue is a big no-no, as it’s the reserve of the emergency services. The addition of under-car lighting also serves no real purpose other than making the car look aesthetically pleasing.
Other modifications to enhance the appearance of the car include changing the number plates, and again, you still need to adhere to the regulations with regards to size, spacing and the colour of the numbers and letters, and debadging, which is simply removing the existing badges so that your vehicle can be mistaken for a higher-spec model.
Of course, if you’re not going to be using your car on public roads and it’s only for show or rallying, for example, you can throw regulations out of the window and go wild.
We specialise in insurance for modified cars, so if you have any of the above, or are thinking of making a change to your car, get in touch with our expert brokers.