Don’t waste money on illegal vehicle modifications

Police concerned about maintaining safety standards for juiced-up vehicles.

  • Aug. 1, 2014 5:00 a.m.

Police warn that some vehicle modifications can lead to fines.

Kelowna RMCP say they’re seeing an increasing number of vehicles on the road with illegal modifications in contravention of the Motor Vehicle Act regulations.

That has police concerned on two points: Drivers are wasting their money on illegal additions to their vehicles and road safety issues.

Regarding vehicle modifications, the police want to inform the public about the following:

Doors: All vehicles are required to have doors installed while being operated on a highway, and these doors must meet the standards of the original manufactured doors. Vehicles which have removable doors, such as some Jeep products, can only be operated “off road” with the doors removed. The after-market tube style doors that some Jeep owners are installing on their vehicles do not meet the safety standards of the original manufactured doors, and are illegal for use on B.C. roadways.

Lamp lens covers: A vehicle must be equipped with lights equivalent to those provided by the original manufacturer. Some vehicle owners have been replacing headlamp and tail lamp lenses with darkened ones. The darkened lens covers affect visibility and don’t meet the original standards that are required under both federal and provincial law.

Headlamps: Owners who are considering changing their vehicle headlamps to High Intensity Discharge (HID) lights should consult the vehicle lighting guide on the Commercial Vehicle Safety Enforcement website, or a designated inspection facility to ensure the lighting change is compliant with the Motor Vehicle Act.

Vehicle height: An increasing common modification is the raising or lowering of the height of vehicles. Any modification in height of more than 4 in (10 cm) requires the inspection of the vehicle at an approved designated inspection facility to ensure that the modifications meet safety standards.

Owners who are raising the height of their vehicles need to be aware that the more a rear tire is visible from the rear of the vehicle, the more spray there will be from these tires. To minimize the spray rear mud flaps should be installed. The bottom edge of a truck bumper can be no more than 29.5 in (75 cm) above the ground.

Tires and Wheels: Often related to height modifications is the changing in the size of the vehicles tires. If tires are replaced and extend outward beyond the body of the vehicle, mudguards are required to minimize the spray and splash of water and mud to the rear of the vehicle.

Licence Plates: Cars and trucks in B.C. are required to have the two issued licence plates securely attached, one to the front and one to the rear. Owners who replace the original manufactured front bumpers with bush or winch style bumpers need to remember to replace the front licence plate once they complete the change.

Plate Covers: Owners should remember that licence plates are to be visible, so the covering of licence plates with plastic covers (especially tinted ones) which restrict the visibility of the plate is illegal.

Before you make modifications to your vehicle, make sure the changes are legal so that you are not wasting your money on something you’ll only have to change back and/or on the cost of a violation ticket.

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