Car modification in the UK is certainly a popular hobby, with many a proud car owner spending hundreds (if not thousands!) on their set of wheels to improve its performance, look and glass-shattering sound system! While keeping a motor that looks great and drives well is certainly a pleasure and a luxury, there are certain parameters of the law that car owners in the UK must stay within when adding modifications to their vehicle to ensure the vehicle is safe for them to drive, as well as not being distracting or hazardous to other road users.
Keeping Your Car in Check
The following are a few common modifications people make to their vehicles in the UK that could land them in hot water with the law; keep in mind that new laws have been introduced in the past to reduce the hazards added to road users by overly-modified cars, and more could well be added again in the future!
Window Tints Tinted windows may add a cooler look to your vehicle, but there’s no denying that they massively reduce visibility, particularly at night or in conditions where visibility is already reduced such as fog, snow or heavy rain. In the UK, cars are required to let a minimum of 75% of light through windscreens and a minimum of 70% through the front side windows. If your vehicle fails to comply with these regulations the police are able to order you off the road until they find your vehicle has had the extra tint removed. As well as this, there is an added possibility of your insurance company refusing to cover a vehicle with excessive window tints, meaning you will be without insurance and uncovered in the case of a collision.
Spoilers Spoilers are an indication that a vehicle has a ‘sports’ edge, and while they are certainly a popular first choice for many road users (particularly younger male motorists) they can also land you in hot water with the law if not used properly. Firstly, the spoiler must be safely and professionally attached to the rear of your vehicle at all times. The positioning of the spoiler is also very important; it must be positioned as to not impair the drive’s field of vision at any time through the rear view mirror. If the police find your spoiler to be too big, they have the power to stop you, and ban your vehicle from the road until the spoiler is removed or replaces with a smaller model.
Registration Plates Customised registration plates are another popular modification adopted by many motorists, but even these small changes must be kept within the parameters of UK law. Firstly, all numbers and letters on a number plate must be kept to the standard size and no custom shapes or symbols are allowed to be added into the design of the plate, aside from national flags. Failure to comply with these parameters could land you a hefty fine of up to £1,000 as well as the vehicle being banned from the road until the plates are changed. The latest registration plate format was introduced in 2001. It consists of:
- 2 letters (these refer to the office in which the number was issued)
- 2 numbers (these tell you specifically when it was issued)
- 3 more letters chosen at random
So, there we have a quick and simple look into some of the UK’s car modification parameters and how to ensure your car complies with these laws when driving in the UK. Drive safe!