Four common car modifications that might be right for you

Modifying your car is very common in the UK.

Whether it’s getting shiny alloy wheels or changing the suspension, sometimes it’s nice to spend some money on your engine.

Now MoneySuperMarket analyzed car modification insurance requests and revealed those likely to invalidate car insurance.

Alloy wheels were the most common car modification in 2021, accounting for 1 in 7 requests (14%).

While suspension changes were the second most common car modification (9%), followed by exhaust system changes (8%).

So here are the four most popular mods that might cause you a lot of trouble as some might be illegal.

You could invalidate your insurance

1. Window tints

Risk: £50-100 fine, 3 penalty points or court

About 7% of all car modification requests to MoneySuperMarket were for window tinting.

But tinting your windows more than allowed can result in a £50-100 fine, three penalty points or even being reported to court.

The front windshield must be 75% untinted and the side windows 70% untinted.

2. Loud exhausts

Risk: Fine or court

Similarly, MoneySuperMarket recorded more than 8% of auto insurance claims for exhaust system changes.

But exhaust systems cannot exceed the noise limit of 74 decibels.

Again, this can result in a fine or being reported to court, as well as making the vehicle more damaging to the environment.

Fancy rims on a large rack in a specialty store.
Some changes would get you in trouble

3. Spoilers

Risk: police intervention

Spoilers are not necessarily illegal.

They’re popular, with 4% of MoneySuperMarket’s car modification requests asking for a spoiler to be added.

But if not installed properly, it can get you in trouble.

The spoiler must be securely fastened. Otherwise, the police might have the power to remove the dangerous spoiler.

4. Nitrous oxide

Risk: fine of £1,000 to £2,500

Using nitrous oxide to increase your engine speed in a gasoline engine is extremely illegal and dangerous.

Doing this can increase the pressure of the cylinders, if exposed to enough heat it could cause an explosion and costs to you.

Making modifications to the engine in an effort to improve performance could have safety implications and could result in a hefty fine.

Potential penalties are £1,000 for a car and £2,500 for a van, truck or bus.

Remember that your auto insurance policy may be invalidated by the changes.

Jo Thornhill of MoneySuperMarket, said: “You should inform your supplier of any changes to the car, no matter how small.

“It’s because you don’t actually own the car while paying your financial installments on PCP or HP.

“As long as you’re in your contract, the car belongs to the finance company and is their collateral for the loan.”

MoneySuperMarket recommends sticking to your contract and returning the car to its original condition before the deal.

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