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01 Sep 2007 | Text and photos by Jegan Das Haridas | Category: Car Maintenance Advice

Aftermarket modifications on your car can be a headache when it comes to vehicle inspection. Here are the guidelines for you to better understand the system.

Modifications allowed by LTA
Modifications that require approvals from LTA
Modifications not allowed

Modifications allowed by LTA

List of modifications allowed by LTA
  1. Bumper
  2. Car seats
  3. Fog lamps
  4. Fuel additives
  5. Fuel molecule polarisers
  6. Gear knobs
  7. In-vehicle entertainment system
  8. In-vehicle information and communication systems
  9. Intake air filters
  10. Intake manifolds
  11. Meter and gauges
  12. Radiators
  13. Rollover bars
  14. Roof racks
  15. Seat belts
  16. Spoilers and side skirt
  17. Side windows and partitions for light good vehicles
  18. Spark plugs and spark plug cables
  19. Sports rims
  20. Steering wheels
  21. Sunshades
  22. Suspension system
  23. Tinted film and glass
  24. Tyres
Bumper
The bumper must not have any sharp edges or corners and the design must be approved by the vehicle manufacturer before installation. The installation must be carried out by qualified personnel according to the product manufacturer's recommendation.

Car seats
There are many type of aftermarket car seats like the sport seats and bucket seats. They must be properly secured using the original anchorage points of the vehicle to ensure the safety of the driver and passengers. The aftermarket car seats should not obstruct the driver's view in any way. Consultation with the vehicle manufacturer or agent must be carried out before any modification to original airbag-equipped car seats is made. The installation must be carried out by qualified personnel according to the product manufacturer's recommendation.

Fog lamps
Fog lamps should comply with international recognised standards such as the European ECE Regulations 19 and 48. They should bear approved marking of the recognised standards.

The front fog lamps are allowed to cast a white or yellow light. The rear lamps are only allowed to cast a red light.

The front fog lamps should not be installed more than 40cm from the sides of the vehicle and at least 60cm apart. They must be fitted below the headlights and at least 25cm above the road surface.

The rear fog lamp must be located between 25cm and 100cm above the road surface. The distance from the rear fog lamp to each stop lamp must be greater than 10cm. Single rear fog lamp can only be installed at the centre or offside of the vehicle.

Fuel additives
Fuel additives shall be used according to the product manufacturer's recommendations.

Fuel molecule polarisers
The installation of fuel molecule polarisers must be carried out by qualified personnel according to the product manufactuer's recommendation. The fuel molecule polarisers must not affect the operation of the vehicle fuel system adversely.
Racing seats keep the driver balanced and steady during high-speed driving. However, they can be uncomfortable to sit in.
Installing fog lamps that are not approved by LTA is fine as long as you keep them covered up at all times.

Gear knobs
Aftermarket gear knobs must be securely fastened according to the product manufacturer's recommendation.

In-vehicle entertainment system
The visual display unit of the in-vehicle entertainment system like TV and DVD players should be installed such that it will not be in the view of the driver. Should the visual display unit be in the view of the driver, it should have a function which automatically disable or switch off the visual display when the vehicle is in motion.

The installation of the system must be installed by qualified personnel according to the system manufacturer's recommendations. The system should be adequately protected against fire hazards and should not interfere with existing vehicle controls or instrumentations.

In-vehicle information and communication systems
The design of the in-vehicle information and communication systems, like navigation systems, should not affect the safe operation of the vehicle adversely. The text information on the LCD display should be large and concise. This way, the driver can read the information at a glance without affecting operation. A voice guidance feature should be incorporated into such a system to minimize interaction with the display unit. Driver should use the system only when it is safe to do so.

The installation of the system must be installed by qualified personnel according to the system manufacturer's recommendations. The system should be adequately protected against fire hazards and should not interfere with existing vehicle controls or instrumentations.

Intake air filters
Car owner must consider the structural integrity of the vehicle when replacing the original intake air filters with high flow intake air filters. The replacement of intake air filters must be carried out by qualified personnel according to the product manufacturer's recommendation.

Intake manifolds
The replacement of intake air manifolds must be carried out by qualified personnel according to the product manufacturer's recommendation. They must not affect the exhaust emission characteristics of the vehicle adversely.

Meter and gauges
Installing aftermarket meters or gauges, such as oil temperature gauge, should not obstruct the driver's view in any way. Neither should it interfere with existing vehicle controls or instruction. They must be installed by qualified personnel according to the product manufacturer's recommendations.

Radiators
Installation of the aftermarket radiator must be carried out by qualified personnel according to the product manufacturer's recommendations. The aftermarket radiators must not affect the structural integrity of the vehicle adversely.

Rollover bars
Should aftermarket rollover bars for convertible motor vehicle be installed, they should not obstruct the driver's view. The installation of the aftermarket rollover bars must be carried out by qualified personnel according to the product manufacturer's recommendations.

Roof racks
Roof racks must be installed by qualified personnel according to the product manufacturer recommendation and not protrude from the car body laterally or longitudinally. The cargo should be securely fasted to the roof rack with no part of the cargo or its carrier projecting laterally beyond the vehicle. The load(s) on the roof rack should not exceed the loading capacity of the vehicle or the roof rack.

Seat belts
The aftermarket seat belts must be anchored to proper seat belt anchorage points of the vehicle. Replacement of seat belts must be carried out by qualified personnel according to the seat belt manufacturer's recommendations. The aftermarket seat belts must compy with internationally recognised standards. Devices like belt stopper should not be used as they may hinder the proper operation of the seat belt.

Spoilers and Side skirts
Spoilers and side skirts must be installed by qualified personnel according to the product manufacturer's recommendation and not protrude from the car body laterally or longitudinally.

The spoiler should not have any sharp corners and edges. The spoiler should not obstruct the driver's view.

Side windows and partitions for Light Goods Vehicles
Owners of light goods vehicles are now allowed to install side window in the rear compartment of their vehicles. The side windows must comply with internationally recognised standards and installed by qualified personnel. The addition of side windows will enhance the comfort of passengers at the rear compartment and allow the driver to have a better view.

Apart from installing side window, owners can also choose to remove the partition that separates the driver's cabin and the cargo compartment. The removal of the partition allows passengers at the rear compartment an additional way to escape (through the front doors) in the event of an accident.

Spark plugs and spark plug cables
Aftermarket spark plugs and spark plug cables must be installed by qualified personnel according to the product manufacturer's recommendations. Aftermarket spark plugs should not interfere with existing vehicle controls or instrumentations.

Sports rims
When changing to sports rims, do make sure that they comply with the following requirements:
The size of the sports rims should comply with the car manufacturer's recommendations.
The sports rims should not protrude from the car body laterally.
No alterations are to be made to the overall rolling radius of the original wheels and tyres.
   

Steering wheels
The aftermarket steering wheels must be installed by qualified personnel according to the product manufacturer's recommendations. Consultation with the vehicle manufacturer or agent must be carried out before any modification to original airbag-equipped steering wheels is made.

Sunshades
The graphics and words on the sunshades should not appear in anyway pornographic, obscene or vulgar. The content also must not be seditious or affront any religious belief.

No part of the sunshades should be affixed more than 15cm from the top edge of the front windscreen, and 10 cm from the top edge of the rear windscreen and side windows.

Suspension system
When changing or modifying the suspension system, do make sure that they comply with the following requirements:
The aftermarket suspension systems should not affect the steering characteristics and maneuverability of the vehicle adversely.
The lowest point of the body shall not come in contact with the road surface at any point of time.
No modification should be made to any part of the vehicle bodywork to accommodate the suspension system.
The installation of the aftermarket suspension systems must be carried out by qualified personnel according to the product manufacturer's recommendation.

Tinted film and glass
When installing tinted films and glass, do make sure that they comply with the following requirements:
Tinted glass must comply with internationally recognised standard for safety glass.
The resultant light transmittance for the front windscreen and both front side windows must be at least 70%.
The resultant light transmittance for the rear windscreen and rear passenger windows must be at least 25%.
The front windscreen must not prevent, obstruct or interfere with the transmission of signals between the In-vehicle Unit and the Electronic Road Pricing facility.

* Car owners can send their vehicle for testing at any LTA-authorised vehicle inspection centres to check that their tinted films or glasses comply with the above requirements.

Tyres
When replacing tyres, do make sure that they comply with the following requirements:
Every wheel of a vehicle should be fitted with a pneumatic tyre that must be of the correct width, profile and diameter as recommended by the vehicle manufacturer.
The tyres use not protrude from the vehicle body laterally.
No alterations are to be made to the overall rolling radius of the original wheels and tyres.

* Note that off-road tyres are not allowed for use on normal roads (e.g. cross-country tyres for rugged terrain, etc).

Modifications that require approvals from LTA

List of modifications that require approvals from LTA
  1. Engines
  2. Exhaust system
  3. Hoods or Canopies
  4. Seating arrangements
  5. Sunroofs
  6. Superchargers or Turbochargers
  7. Transmissions or Gearboxes
Engines
LTA allows replacement of engines provided that they are of the same type and engine capacity as the original one. If the engine power output is modified to exceed the original design specifications, the vehicle is likely to endanger its occupants and other road users. Apart from that, other vehicles components like the brakes might not be able to cope with the extra power.

LTA requires the following documentation to be submitted for evaluation:

New or reconditioned engines
Invoice or bill of sales from the supplier of the replacement engine.
Certification from vehicle manufacturer or the local sole agent stating that the replacement is of the same type as the original engine.

Swapping of engines
Swapping engines of same type and engine capacity between two registered vehicles is allowed
One of the vehicles must be scrapped immediately after swapping of engine, while the other must be produced for inspection at LTA.

Exhaust system
The exhaust system consists of the exhaust manifold, catalytic converter and muffler. It is used as part of a vehicle's exhaust emission control system. This ensures that the vehicle exhaust emission meets the environmental requirements. LTA's approval is needed for any modification to the exhaust system.

The following documentation should be submitted to LTA for evaluation:
Certification from the product manufacturer stating that the proposed aftermarket exhaust system is suitable for the make and model of the vehicle.
Certification or test reports from LTA/NEA recognised test laboratories to show that the aftermarket exhaust system complied with prevailing exhaust emission standards when fitted to the vehicles on a per make and mode basis.
Catalytic converters and mufflers should not be removed as they will adversely affect the exhaust emission characteristics of the vehicle.

Hoods or Canopies
Installing hoods or canopies on a vehicle may affect its safety. Therefore, the proposed drawing or sketches of the hood or canopies have to be presented during an inspection at any LTA authorized inspection centres for evaluation.

Seating arrangements
Modifying the seating arrangements like adding or removing seats, may have safety implications such as overloading and obstruction of access to the gangway. Therefore, drawings or sketches of the proposed seating arrangements must be submitted for evaluation by LTA before approval is given.

Sunroofs
The addition of sunroofs may have safety implications. The installed sunroof must comply with one of the recognised international standards e.g. ECE, DOT, BS, JIS. The vehicle installed with the sunroof must also pass an inspection at any LTA authorized inspection centres.

Superchargers or Turbochargers
The addition of superchargers or turbochargers will cause the engine power output to exceed the original design specifications, and this may adversely affect the safe operation and its exhaust emission characteristic.

The following documentation should be submitted to the LTA for evaluation:
Technical specifications and installation details (including pictures and drawings) of the proposed supercharger or turbocharger.
Certification from the vehicle manufacturer stating that the supercharger or turbocharger is suitable for the vehicle on a per make and model of the vehicle.
Certification or test reports from LTA/NEA recognised test laboratories to show that the aftermarket exhaust system complied with prevailing exhaust emission standards when fitted to the vehicles on a per make and mode basis.

Trying to get approval from LTA to install turbochargers and superchargers is like trying to climb Mount Everest without an oxygen tank - almost impossible!

Transmissions or Gearboxes
LTA allows changes in transmissions from manual to auto and vice versa.

The following documentation should be submitted to the LTA for evaluation:
Invoice of the proposed transmission from the supplier.
Certification from the manufacturer stating that the transmission is suitable for the vehicles.

Modifications not allowed

List of modifications not allowed
  1. Airhorns
  2. Chasis
  3. Crash bars
  4. Decorative lamps
  5. Engine capacity
  6. Head lamps
  7. Nitrous injection devices
  8. Spot lamps
  9. Tinting or masking of vehicles lamps
  10. Tow hooks
Air Horns
Air horns emit a loud and shrilll sound which distract and cause nuisance to other road users. The use of air horns is not allowed in Singapore. This includes replacement of existing car horns to air horns.

Chassis
The chassis cannot be re-used when it is badly damaged or beyond repair as it is an integral part of a vehicle. The vehicle will have to be scraped.

Crash bars
Crash bars are commonly installed on vehicles in non-urbanised areas. They protect vehicles from head-on collisions with animals such as kangaroo and deers. Crash bars are not allowed to be installed on vehicles in urbanised cities like Singapore as they can aggravate injuries to pedestrians in the event of a collision.

Decorative lamps
Decorative lamps when fitted to the vehicle may cause confusion and distraction to other road users.
Examples: Wiper washer LEDs, undercarriage neon lights, vehicle interior neon lights, etc.

Engine capacity
Increasing the engine capacity is not allowed as it may lead to premature failure of the engine and othe related components. The increased engine capacity may also adversely affect the exhaust emission characteristics of the vehicle and safety, as components like the brakes might not be able to cope with the extra power.

Head lamps
Aftermarket HD lamp kits may cause unwanted glare and may temporally blind other road users. Therefore, vehicles should only be fitted with factory fitted HID lamps that meet internationally recognised standards.

The replacement bulbs must be of a design and type recommended by the vehicle manufacturer. Higher wattage bulbs may increase the risk of a fire as a greater current is being drawn to power these lamps.

* For more information, refer to LTA guidelines on installation of aftermarket headlamps.

Nitrous injection devices
Nitrous injection devices inject nitrogen oxide gas (which is highly reactive) into the combustion chamber to increase the rate of combustion which may be detrimental to the engine. This may lead to premature failure of engine and its related components, thus adversely affecting the safety and exhaust emission characteristics of the vehicle. These devices are not allowed by the LTA.

Spot lamps
Spot lamps project focused light beams which can cause temporarily blindness to other road users. Spot lamps can only be used in remote areas with limited lighting, as extra sources of light or for emergencies. They must be covered at all times in Singapore, if fitted.

Tinting or masking of vehicle lamps
Tinting or masking of vehicle lamps are not allowed as they may adversely affect the lamps' performance.

Tow hooks
Most vehicles come with towing points for recovery purposes. Tow hooks are not allowed on vehicles because they may aggravate injuries to motorcyclists should they come in contact with the shark and hard surface of the tow hooks in the event of a collision.
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