Car modifications are nothing new – most of us have encountered souped-up versions of common consumer vehicles while out on roads. For some people, those sorts of encounters are enough to tempt them into making their own modifications to their personal cars. If you’re ever that way inclined, though, there are a couple of things you should know first. The consequences of an ill-judged car modification can be severe, ranging from hefty fines to devastating collisions that could even end up prematurely scrapping your car!

What is a car modification?

Basically a car modification is something that changes the appearance or ability of your car, altering it from its original factory condition. There’s an almost endless list of the sorts of modifications that can be made to your car. To name just a few:

  • Bigger or louder exhausts
  • Tinted windows
  • Spoilers
  • Changes to the lights
  • Turbos or superchargers
  • Alterations to the gears or transmission system
  • Brake replacement or modification
  • Tyre alterations
  • Suspension changes
  • Roll bar or roll cage upgrade

Those are just to name a few! Some people like to make modifications to their cars as part of a hobbyist car club or syndicate, whereas others do it as a way of improving their own personal driving experience. However, even the simplest car modifications are rarely straightforward, as they can bring up a lot of practical and legal obstacles.

The problems with car modifications

Some of the issues with certain car modifications are somewhat obvious, but others can create issues that aren’t quite so easy to foresee. It’s worth being aware that whatever kind of modification you make to your car, it’s almost certainly going to increase your insurance. Here are some of the biggest problems you might find:

They affect your fuel economy

Any increase to the size of your wheels is probably going to bring an associated drop in fuel economy, raising your costs. This is similarly true of wide-bore or sports exhausts – it may give you that booming sound some people find satisfying, but in any case it’ll likely make a dent in your car’s actual performance.


They impact your ride and handling

Bigger wheels won’t necessarily make your car more manoeuvrable, and you might find you suddenly struggle to properly make corners or navigate on roads. Sometimes big wheels are fitted with low profile tyres, which can make you even more vulnerable to punctures and similar types of damage.

They increase noise and emissions levels

If you live in a big town or city, you may well have heard the rumble and boom of a wide-bore exhaust down residential roads late at night. It may be satisfying for the driver, but it’s hugely irritating for everyone else – which is why the authorities have strict noise limits in place for vehicles. If a modification exceeds these limits, it automatically disqualifies thecar from roads. Similarly, wide bore exhausts can lead to an increase in emissions which means an automatic MOT fail.

They can cause you security issues

Upgraded stereos and similarly tempting electronics can make your car vastly more attractive to thieves, especially if they’re clear to see from a distance. Drivers who modify their cars don’t always invest in the security they need to protect these modifications, which can lead to some hugely nasty surprises – such as a newly empty parking space. On another note, it’s also worth remembering that these sorts of installations can cause problems with your existing electrical systems, too.