Update Your Automotive Style with Safety

Tips for Modifying Your Car: How to Keep it Legal

If you are planning to modify your car there are 2 big myths that you may have encountered concerning this endeavor. First, that modifying your car instantly voids your car’s warranty. Second, that it’s illegal to modify your car.

True, these are just myths that are not to be taken seriously. However, there are regulatory boards in the automobile industry that you need to consult and some regulations that you need to keep closely in mind before modifying your car.

There are 2 regulatory agencies that oversee the automotive industry – they are the EPA or Environment Protection Agency, and the DOT or the Department of Transportation. Both of these agencies oversee the automotive industry on the federal level.

What Do They Do
Most of the regulatory power that these agencies have is focused primarily on creating and enforcing laws and regulations that deal with safety and emission equipment along with some criteria that a car to be sold in the US needs to meet.

If you’re a car manufacturer, you should take a close look at the guidelines set by these agencies. If you’re a private consumer, however, it’s very improbable that you’ll have direct contact with these federal government agencies.

There is one instance, though, that EPA and DOT actively interferes with your automobile dealings as a consumer – when you buy or bring in a gray market car in the US road for personal use.

Gray Market Car Defined

A gray market car is a model that was never officially sold in the United States. However, these gray market cars have features, bells, and whistles that are so desirable that people like you, who love modifying and turning ordinary vehicles into performance cars, ignore the law or go through a very expensive certification process.

This certification process involves crash testing as well as retrofitting and analyzing emissions and safety features that the gray market car has.

Examples Of Gray Market Cars

2 of the most popular gray market cars that have penetrated the US are the Porsche 959 and the Nissan Skyline GTR. Many enthusiast and car modifying fans have spent a lot of cash, time, and effort in search for these cars and to get them into US soil.

If you’re planning to import a gray market car that you’ll modify and tweak, you need to consult your attorney about the process to make it legal. Don’t even think about ignoring the law. Doing so can result to financial damage as well as jail time. That’s not my definition of fun!