Vehicle Modification Rules in India: Navigating the Road of Regulations

vehicle modification rules in India
September 30, 2023

In the dynamic world of automobile enthusiasts, vehicle modification is a passion for many. Whether it’s enhancing performance, adding custom aesthetics, or improving comfort, the desire to personalize one’s vehicle is a common sentiment. However, in India, as in many countries, vehicle modification is subject to regulations to ensure safety, environmental compliance, and road legality. In this article, we will delve into the vehicle modification rules in India, shedding light on what you can and cannot do when it comes to customizing your ride.

Understanding Vehicle Modification

Vehicle modification refers to any alteration made to a vehicle from its original factory specifications. These modifications can encompass a wide range of changes, including but not limited to:

  • Changing the engine or exhaust system
  • Adding aftermarket accessories
  • Modifying the suspension
  • Altering the body or paintwork
  • Installing custom lighting

The Role of the Central Motor Vehicle Rules

In India, vehicle modification is governed primarily by the Central Motor Vehicle Rules (CMVR) under the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988. These rules outline the legal framework for vehicle modifications and establish standards for safety, emissions, and roadworthiness.

Permissible Vehicle Modifications

  1. Exhaust System: You can modify the exhaust system as long as it does not increase the noise level beyond the permissible limits set by the CMVR. Noise pollution is a significant concern, so it’s crucial to ensure your modifications comply with these limits.
  2. Lights and Lighting: Customizing your vehicle’s lighting is allowed, but certain restrictions apply. You cannot use blinding or distracting lights, and the vehicle’s original lighting functions must not be impaired.
  3. Suspension: Modifying the suspension is permitted, but it must not compromise the vehicle’s stability or safety. Suspension alterations should enhance the ride quality without compromising road safety.
  4. Alloy Wheels and Tyres: Upgrading to alloy wheels and changing the tyre size is generally allowed. However, the new tyres must not protrude beyond the wheel arches, as this can affect road safety.

Restricted or Prohibited Vehicle Modifications

  1. Engine Modifications: Changing the engine or significantly modifying it is typically prohibited unless you obtain explicit approval from the Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI) and the Road Transport Ministry.
  2. Chassis and Structure: Altering the chassis or structural components of a vehicle is generally forbidden. This is because such modifications can compromise the vehicle’s safety and roadworthiness.
  3. Color Changes: Changing the color of your vehicle does not usually require permission. However, it’s crucial to inform your Regional Transport Office (RTO) about the color change for updating the vehicle’s records.

Getting Legal Approval

If you plan to make substantial modifications to your vehicle, it is advisable to seek approval from the relevant authorities. For engine swaps or significant structural changes, obtaining clearance from the ARAI and the RTO is essential to ensure your vehicle remains road-legal.

Safety First

Regardless of the modifications you make, safety should always be a top priority. Ensure that any changes you implement do not compromise the safety of your vehicle, passengers, or other road users.


While vehicle modification is a popular way to express one’s individuality and enhance a vehicle’s performance, it must be done within the legal framework set by the Central Motor Vehicle Rules in India. Understanding these regulations and seeking approval when necessary will help you enjoy your customized ride without running afoul of the law. Remember, safe and responsible vehicle modification is not just about personal style but also about ensuring road safety and environmental compliance in India’s diverse and dynamic automotive landscape


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