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Modified Cars

There are a number of reasons an owner or operator of a vehicle may choose to modify the vehicle with non-standard features. Whether raising the height of a vehicle for recreational purposes, adjusting it to improve access for a disabled passenger, modifying the engine for greater capacity or lowering a vehicle for aesthetic purposes, it is important to ensure that the finished product meets the standards of roadworthiness before it is driven on NSW roads.


Under the Road Transport (Vehicle Registration) 2017, it is an offence to:

  • carry out non-complying modifications to a registered light vehicle. Penalty: $697 fine.
  • use a modified vehicle on the road without a compliance certificate. Penalty: $890 fine.

Defect notices

Police are sure to notice a car that is taller, lower, louder or faster than it should be, and if that modification isn’t officially certified, then the owner will receive a defect notice and may be prohibited from driving the vehicle until the defect has been remedied.

Defect notices can mean one of two things:

  • the vehicle needs to be returned to standard features, or
  • the modification needs to be redone and signed off by a licensed certifier.

The Vehicle Safety Compliance Certification Scheme (VSCCS) authorises a “licensed certifier” to inspect a modified vehicles and issue a compliance certificate if they are satisfied the vehicle complies with the relevant vehicle standards. It is recommended that if you are considering modifying your vehicle you should involve a licensed certifier from the beginning; this will ensure that your vehicle is always compliant with the regulations and so will avoid the cost and disappointment of reversing your work.

Probationary drivers

Further, even if a modified vehicle is registered, probationary licence holders may not be able to drive it. If a modification has been made to the engine of a vehicle, inquiries should be made with Roads and Maritime Services about whether that modification renders the vehicle “prohibited” for probationary drivers. Driving a prohibited vehicle while on a P1 or P2 licence incurs 7 demerit points and a fine of $581. Probationary drivers wanting to drive vehicles that are prohibited need to make an application to the Roads and Maritime Services for exemption from that rule.

For advice or representation in any legal matter, please contact Armstrong Legal.

Michelle Makela

This article was written by Michelle Makela

Michelle has over 15 years experience in the legal industry, working across commercial litigation, criminal law, family law and estate planning.  Michelle has been involved in all practice areas of the firm and in her personal practice has had experience in litigation at all levels (State and Federal Industrial Tribunals, the Supreme Court, Court of Appeal, the Federal Court, Federal...

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