How to Modify A Vehicle

Modifying a Vehicle

The Department of Transport’s Vehicle Safety and Standards is required to assess applications from people wishing to perform a modification on a vehicle that requires the approval of the Director General of the Department of Transport (Transport).

Many minor vehicle modifications can be carried out without specific approval, as long as they comply with the applicable legislation.

Modifications that do NOT require approval include:

  • Additional lighting
  • Air conditioners
  • Air shock absorbers
  • Alarm systems
  • Badge bars
  • Body markings and speed striping
  • Gearbox (pre 1976)
  • Mesh stone shields for windscreens & lamps
  • Mud spats & pebble guards
  • Optional manufacturing seating
  • Radio & stereo systems
  • Rear-view mirrors
  • Roof racks
  • Seat belts for pre 1969 cars (no full harness types)
  • Single tone air horns
  • Stabiliser bars
  • Sun visors
  • Torque rods & traction bars (not semi-tramp types)
  • Tyre size & aspect ratio
  • Venetian blinds & other internal screening are allowed (subject to a clear view to the rear)
  • Alternative power
  • Body modifications
  • Brakes
  • Electric drive
  • Engines
  • Fuel systems
  • Motorcycles
  • Seating & occupant protection
  • Suspension & steering
  • Test procedures
  • Transmissions
  • Trike guidelines

If the modification you wish to have performed is not on this list, or you are unsure, please contact the Department of Transport for clarification.

Steps to modifying your vehicle

Application Form
Submit your modification application form. This can only be done via post.

Application Processing
From our experience this first submission takes around 4 weeks. Transport works on its own schedule and will not give or guarantee completion dates. Patience is needed.

Approval in Principal
If your application is successful you will receive an “Approval in Principle” letter and a file number.

Undertaking Modifications
At this point, you can modify the vehicle.

Engineers Report
80% of modifications requires an engineers report. Our Beyond Custom appointed engineer is familiar with modified cars. The engineer then re-submits your application with his report seeking final approval. There is no guarantee an engineer will pass the mods even if you have received “Approval in Principle”. It is similar to ‘pre-approval’ for a bank loan.

Final Approval Letter
When the mods have been approved, you will receive a letter of “Final Approval”

Vehicle Exam
With this “Final Approval”, you can undertake a Transport vehicle examination. A fee is payable to the Department of Transport. An examination report may instruct you to make some changes and then re-exam.

Modification Permit
You will be issued with a modification permit or other form of approval guaranteeing that the modifications conform to Transport regulations.

Estimated Time Schedule
First form submission – approximately 4 weeks.
Second form submission – approximately 4 weeks.

This time approximation is dependant upon how many modification applications the Department of Transport has at a given time. Transport will not confirm how long your application will take.

Let Beyond Custom do the work for you!
Simply book your car in for a modification, and we will fill in, submit, and track your application form. When we have received “Approval in Principle”, we will make the modifications or upgrades to your car and return it to you. We will then notify you of “Final Approval” and book a vehicle exam at a time that suits you. A small paperwork fee will be added to your final bill. Too easy!