Car modifications: regulations and insurance
Do you have a car that you want to modify to improve its performance or its aesthetics? Do you want to konw some car modification ways? Car modifications are allowed, but they are under certain conditions. The SAAQ is responsible for ensuring that the vehicles on our roads are safe. For this reason, it sets up and applies a regulation that determines what is prohibited or not to modify on a passenger vehicle. So before you dive into this project, the best is to educate yourself. Why? To have the right information on what you can and cannot change and the impact that such modifications can have on your insurance. Here are our tips to help you make changes to your car that will be safe, legal, and accepted by your insurance.
What it is forbidden to modify on your car
For safety reasons, not all parts and parts of your passenger vehicle can be changed or transformed. Unless you have prior authorization from the SAAQ, according to the Highway Safety Code, you cannot make modifications likely to reduce the stability or braking of a vehicle, including in particular:
– The chassis
– The body
– To a system or mechanism
– Any other element that can convert one type of vehicle to another type of vehicle
But concretely, what does that imply? To help you better understand, here are some examples of what you are prohibited from doing on a vehicle:
– Modify or repair by welding the components of the steering or the chassis
– Lower your car until:
– its tires come into contact with a component of the vehicle or part of the body
– its chassis touches the road in normal driving situation
– Make modifications that do not respect the manufacturer’s parallelism settings
– Decrease the power of your headlights, lights or reflectors
– Remove or deactivate an airbag
– Remove or modify the original seat belts or their anchorages
– Attach a 4 or 5 point belt to the anchor points of the original belt
– Tint the front side windows so that they let in less than 70% of the light
– Install a set of elevation which affects the electronic control of the stability of the tires or wheels and causes them to exceed the body
– Fix tires or wheel rims with a width not recommended by the tire manufacturer
– Set tires which:
– not designed for the road – racing tires
– extend beyond the fenders of the car
– have a diameter exceeding that authorized
– Install HID headlights when your original optical unit is not designed for this type of bulb
– Install doors:
– the hinges located at the rear and which are opened from front to rear – “suicide” doors
– opening upwards – “scissor” doors
– Replace your suspension with a suspension that is too rigid or with insufficient travel
– Substitute your headlights, lights, reflectors and optical block with components without SAE mention
– Change incandescent bulbs for LED bulbs with lenses not created for this job
– Replace your steering wheel with airbag
– Change the color of your headlights, lights and reflectors
– Change the opening and closing or locking system of your doors
What it is allowed to modify on your car
When you modify your vehicle, you have permission to make certain changes, according to the conditions specified by the SAAQ, including for example:
– Install larger tires and rims
– Make a mechanical elevation
– Install rims with a larger diameter
– Set springs shorter than the original ones
– Put a set of springs and shock absorbers
– Replace your shock absorbers with performance shock absorbers
– Change your headlights, lights and reflectors with appropriate parts and with the SAE mention
– Add a seat belt with 4 or 5 anchor points
– Install a fin or stylized underbody skirts
If you are making modifications to your car, remember that it is not a racing car, but a vehicle for the road, and consider using parts:
– Adapted to your car
– From recognized manufacturers
– Certified for road use
Auto enthusiasts across the United States make modifications to their vehicles. Some are simply cosmetic, but others affect the performance of the car. There are tons of modifications that are harmless, but others are likely to slap the car owner with a ticket and a fine because the alteration is not legal on the street.
If you’re new to modifying your car, you’ll be surprised to know that some cosmetic enhancements can get you on the wrong side of the law, but there are plenty of performance improvements that don’t have this problem. On the website equipatuvehiculo, you find infinite accessories to make cool modifications to your car without having to break the law.
Modifications to your legal vehicle
Whether it’s for fashion or wanting to improve performance, many people modify their cars to make them become unique and interesting vehicles in the eyes of others.
We’ll start with the legal ones first. Of course, you should check your state’s laws as they may vary.
1. Suspension improvements
As long as you stay within your state’s limits for vehicle height adjustments, an aftermarket suspension system is completely legal. Also, the right aftermarket suspension system can be a great way to improve your car’s performance.
When done right, your car will handle much better, and you (or a qualified shop) can even fine-tune the suspension to optimize the car for the way you drive. Whether you’re racing in your car or just want to make your commute a little more enjoyable, a good suspension system is worth the investment.
2. Turbochargers and feeders modifications
Adding a turbocharger or supercharger to your car is another popular performance modification. These devices “drive” your engine by forcing more air, thus creating more power.
However, unlike nitrous oxide (see No. 1 for illegal modifications), turbochargers and superchargers are legal as long as they don’t cause your car to fail the emissions inspection or your state’s safety inspection.
Let’s look at California, which is the strictest state when it comes to vehicle pollution standards. Even in California, as long as you don’t alter your emissions system, your upgrades are certified for use in your vehicle’s engine, and you pass the state smog test, you’re ready to go.
3. Sports seats
Seat upgrades are popular vehicle modifications, whether you’re a novice driver or just want to look like one. A set of sports seats looks good, and if you choose the right ones, they can be much more comfortable and supportive than your stock car seat.
Sports seats can even help you improve your driving position. Many manufacturers of real racing seats warn buyers that they are not suitable for streetcars, mainly because racing seats are designed to be used with racing harnesses, which are not legal to use as an alternative to the seat belt. factory safety of a car.
However, some manufacturers, such as Recaro, make sports seats that are legal for street use. Just make sure that you can wear the seat belt from the factory and that installation will not disable any of your car’s airbags.
4. Painting work
A hateful painting may be a crime against good taste, but it is not a real crime. Generally, you can paint your car however you like, or get a similar effect with a vinyl wrap, as long as it doesn’t look like you’re trying to pose as a police officer or an emergency vehicle. There are a few things to keep in mind with the process of repainting your car, however.
It is expensive for a professional to repaint a car, and it is a time-consuming pain to do it yourself. If you decide to paint your car at home, check your local pollution ordinances to make sure you won’t be cited by paint and chemical fumes.
5. Window tint modifications
Some states have very strict laws regarding window tinting. In Illinois, for example, a driver must have a documented medical condition to get away with any tint from the front or side window. Many other states have laws on the books that restrict tint that is reflective or makes it impossible to see inside the car.
However, if you want tinted lenses, you can get away with at least a little tint in most states. Hue is measured based on the percentage of light that can still pass through windows, and states that do not prohibit hue in its entirety generally specify a range of allowable percentages.
Now, the illegal modifications
But before making any modification, it is best to have when any of these are against the laws, which will depend on each state, and therefore it is important to know them before traveling or modifying your vehicle.
6. Nitrous Oxide
If you’ve ever seen a movie about street racing, you’ve probably heard that at least one of the characters refers to nitrous oxide, or NOS. Nitrous oxide tends to wax and decrease in popularity, but there is no doubt that it is a cheap way to add a lot of power to a car. Nitrous oxide works by temporarily increasing oxygen in the engine, allowing it to burn more fuel, and thus extract more power.
It is legal to drive a car that has a nitrous system installed, but in many states, the system has to be disabled for the car to be legal for street use. That is, the bottle containing the nitrous oxide cannot connect to the system. Some jurisdictions suggest that the use of nitrous encourages unsafe driving. In short, it is legal to buy and install a nitrous oxide kit, but if you are stopped, you better be able to prove that you are not using it.
7. Neon lights on the underside of the body
It seems like a long time since the Body Bass Glitter Kits got their 15 minutes of fame, but the trends always come back. If neon lighting is back in fashion, keep in mind that it is illegal in many areas. In some states, you could be accused of trying to impersonate a police officer if you add blue or red light to the exterior of your car, but other colors are fine.
Some states simply ban neon lighting entirely, as it can be a distraction for other drivers. If your state has a general ban on altering the exterior lighting on your vehicle, this would apply to other forms of supplemental lighting as well, such as rally lights or aftermarket fog lights.
8. Racing harnesses adjustments
You might assume that racing harnesses go hand in hand with seat improvements, but that’s not true, at least if you want to keep your car legal on the street. Most race harness manufacturers warn buyers that wearing a harness instead of a factory seat belt is not legal and can put you at risk in a crash.
Although a racing harness is designed to hold it firmly in place in a collision, an unknown harness could delay the ability of an emergency response team to remove it from its vehicle.
If you take your vehicle to the track once in a while, you still have options. Schroth is a brand that manufactures harnesses that can be installed without interfering with the factory seat belts, so you can keep your car safe and on the road.
9. Alteration of emissions or catalytic converter
Once you start modifying your car with performance improvements in mind, it can be tempting to start playing around with your emission controls. Emission modifications are also popular with the diesel trucking community, as some of those drivers like to annoy passers-by and other drivers by blowing up huge plumes of smoke, a practice known as coal rolling.
However, tampering with emissions controls in any way is illegal across the country, as it violates the Clean Air Act. If you upgrade your exhaust system, make sure your catalytic converter stays in place.
10. Excessive suspension height adjustments
Have you ever wondered why someone would lift a truck so high that it practically needs a ladder to climb or drop an old sedan so low that its belly scrapes the ground? Extreme adjustments to a vehicle’s height, either up or down, are prohibited in most states, although each state has its guidelines.
For example, the laws of some states depend on the type of vehicle. In other words, you can lift a truck or SUV higher than a sedan. Other states measure the distance between the bumper and the ground. The simplest way, perhaps, is to say that a vehicle cannot be a certain number of inches higher or lower than the car’s factory travel height – although they will have to know what the height of the cylinder head is.