Three ways to modify your car but keep its warranty and keep it legal!

Personalising your new car with options, accessories and modifications can be one of the most exciting aspects of car ownership. Unfortunately there are a number of pitfalls the over-eager new owner can run into and some of them can cost you points off your license and money from your pocket. 


While there are just about infinite modifications you can do to your car, ever tightening laws and a strong police presence mean that breaking the law with illegal modifications is going to hurt more now than ever. 

Here are some of the most popular modifications you can make to your new car and how you can keep both your warranty and the police happy:

Wheels

Fitting a different or more aggressive set of wheels from the often conservative factory items is one of the most obvious ways to make your car stand out. The key is picking the right diameter, width and offset for your new wheels to ensure you don’t end up in hot water. Personal tastes will obviously vary but the rules are you cannot fit wheels that are more than two inches greater in diameter than the factory wheels that were fitted to the car. 

So if your car came with 15 inch wheels off the lot, the maximum sized rim you can legally fit will be 17 inches. The width and offset of the wheel combine to determine how far in or out of the guard the wheel and tyre will sit – but be warned, although a wheel that “pokes” out past the edge of the guard may look great, it is illegal to do so and you will be defected and fined for it. 

When purchasing a new set of wheels it’s always a good idea to get professional advice from your local wheel and tyre shop to ensure your new fitment is perfectly legal. Most manufacturers will allow the wheels to be changed and have no issues regarding warranty, however it is once again wise to check with the dealer you bought the car from to ensure your warranty isn’t rendered null and void as each manufacturer is different.

Window tint

Like wheels, window tint is a very effective way to make your car look great and stand out as well as helping to keep the cabin cool under the hot sun. Window tint must meet the transport rules that currently apply throughout Queensland which state that window tinting on the side and rear windows is legal, so long as at least 35 percent of the outside light still makes its way into the cabin. 

It is illegal to apply tinting film to more than 10 percent of the windscreen of a vehicle and it would be downright dangerous to do so.

Interior

Adding creature comforts to a car’s interior is a tried and true method for improving your driving experience, after all, the interior is where you spend most of your time! Things like air fresheners and charms are actually illegal to hang from your rear vision mirror if they impair your forward vision, and if the inspecting officer finds your vision is obstructed by a hanging item or something placed on your dash or windscreen, you can be issued with a fine. 

So next time you buy a little tree, think about hanging it from one of your rear grab handles or somewhere that it won’t get in the way of what’s happening on the road. Things like floor mats are generally okay so long as the mats aren’t prone to slipping under the pedals and affecting their proper operation (most aftermarket mats are sold with studs on the bottom to prevent slippage). 

Seat covers are both a great way to personalise your car’s interior and keep your seats clean and free from stains but it is illegal to fit them to any car with front seat airbags as the covers will negatively change the way in which the airbags operate. 

Modifying your car is enjoyable and rewarding and that’s exactly what it’s meant to be, don’t get caught out by doing something that will only get you into trouble! Look cool but stay safe out there!