Buyers' Guide: Lower your modified risks
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Millions of dollars are spent designing new vehicles, but for some owners, the end result isn’t exactly what they want.
There are always car owners who want to tailor the design of their vehicle to meet their own needs, or to just stand out from the crowd.
When you’re in the market for a new set of wheels, it’s not unusual to come across a car that’s been modified in some way or another, but there are a few things to consider before you invest in one.
WOF and insurance risk
For extensive vehicle modifications, such as adjustable height suspension or engine transplants, a low volume vehicle (LVV) certification is required.
If you suspect a vehicle has been modified, ask the owner to confirm if any work to alter the car has been carried out.
If there are modifications that haven’t been certified, the vehicle could be unsafe and unable to obtain its WoF.
Some modifications, such as cosmetic body kits and components, and aftermarket suspension, springs and shocks don’t always require an LVV certificate, providing they meet certain requirements.
It’s always a good idea to ask for evidence of this, and seek a professional opinion if you have any doubts. Even if a vehicle has been modified and correctly certified, you could face higher insurance costs.
Modifications such as engine transplants can increase a vehicle’s power by more than 20 per cent and you’ll be paying the price for this when it comes to your premium.
Modifications that aren’t disclosed to your insurer in advance may result in a potential insurance claim declared void.
The good v the bad
Sensible and practical modifications can improve the look or performance of a vehicle.
However, it’s wise to be mindful about the money that has been spent by manufacturers during a vehicle’s research and design.
If someone has substituted original parts there should be a good reason behind their decision.
Haphazard modifications outside of the safety regulations can be dangerous.
Once a vehicle part has been substituted, it can make things difficult when it comes to getting a replacement due to general wear and tear.
This is often due to the difficulty of getting hold of identical components and, even if they can be sourced, it’s likely to be costly. This usually forces customers to revert to the manufacturers’ standard equipment as they are easier to obtain and more affordable.
Vehicle modifications come in all shapes and sizes, so it can be hard to know what to look out for.
When you’re searching the market for a new car, you may encounter modifications that suit the vehicle’s practical needs – for example, a towing vehicle with firmer springs.
However there are those on the other end of the spectrum which you may not find so beneficial.
Whether they’re for pleasure or practicality, car modifications shouldn’t affect the safety of a vehicle.
To avoid buying a vehicle that’s unsafe, get a pre-purchase inspection carried out and seek professional advice. It’ll draw your attention to any modifications before it’s too late.