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General Guidelines and Regulations For Car Modification in NSW: A Summary

General Guidelines and Regulations For Car Modification in NSW

Are you a light vehicle enthusiast in New South Wales (NSW)?

If so, you should be well-informed about the regulations outlined in the Vehicle Standards Information (VSI) No.6.

This comprehensive guide is intended “to help vehicle owners and modifiers determine what modifications to vehicles up to and including 4.5 tonnes gross vehicle mass require certification.”

In this article, we’ve provided a general summary of these rules for you to consider.

Disclaimer: this is not a comprehensive explanation, nor should it be taken as legal advice.

Engine Modifications

Engine Modifications

When it comes to modifying your vehicle’s engine, it’s important to note that changes affecting the engine’s capacity, type, or number of cylinders will require certification. This includes engine swaps that result in a significant change in performance, emissions, or compatibility with the original vehicle.

Transmission and Driveline

In short, modifications to the transmission and driveline of your vehicle are subject to certification if they involve fitting a non-original transmission or transaxle that requires altering the vehicle’s structure.

Additionally, any alterations that affect speedometer accuracy need certification. However, changes within original specifications or the addition of aftermarket internal components generally don’t require certification.


When it comes to steering, any modifications that involve fabrication, altering mountings, or fitting non-original components require certification in NSW.

While this includes conversions from steering box to steering rack, minor upgrades like fitting bolt-on steering dampers generally don’t need certification.


In NSW, when altering a vehicle’s ride height, if the change exceeds one-third of the manufacturer’s suspension travel, certification is required. Other major suspension modifications such as changing suspension configuration or using different designs will also need certification. Yet, installing uprated roll bars, shock absorbers, springs, and struts typically don’t need certification if they meet or exceed the manufacturer’s minimum specifications.

Wheels and Tyres

Replacing tyres that change the overall diameter by more than 7% requires certification in NSW. Similarly, fitting wheels where the rim width exceeds the manufacturer’s specification by more than 25 mm needs certification.

That said, using alternative wheels and tyres that comply with load-carrying capacity specifications generally doesn’t require certification.


Modifying brakes that deviate from the manufacturer’s options requires certification. This includes substituting brake components with non-equivalent ones or altering brake balance and pressure limiting devices. Alternatively, replacing brakes with equivalent components doesn’t usually need certification.

Body and Chassis

In NSW, structural modifications to the chassis, altering body style, or changing seating capacity may require certification. Fitting body mountings, lift kits, and other mountings not designed by the manufacturer generally don’t need certification unless they impact structural integrity.

Seat and Occupant Protection

Similar to structural modifications, changes to seat anchorages, seat belts, and occupant restraint systems require certification. This includes modifications to seat belt location or replacing original seat belts with non-compliant ones.

Fuel System

In NSW, fuel system modifications affecting emission standards will require certification. This encompasses changes to the fuel system’s design or components. However, conversion to alternative fuels by an approved gas installer typically doesn’t need certification.

Motorbike Modifications

Motorcycle modifications also fall under the VSI light vehicle guidelines. Changes such as altering front forks, adding side-cars, or modifying frames may require certification. That said, attachments like tow couplings and non-original fittings may or may not require certification based on specific circumstances, so it’s important to seek out professional guidance.

Still need assistance?

Understanding the Vehicle Standards Information is crucial for anyone considering vehicle modifications in NSW to ensure your safety, that you comply with regulations, and that you maintain the integrity of the vehicle.

Always remember to seek professional guidance when undertaking any modifications to your vehicle.

So, if you have further about these standards, simply reach out to us for a chat.

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Top 5 safety tips for driving this Easter Long Weekend

Planning a road trip this Easter long weekend? You’re not alone. With the four day weekend coinciding with the school holidays in most states, it’s a busy time of year to travel. 

But, it’s also one of our deadliest. Last year in NSW alone, there were 7 fatalities recorded from Thursday to Easter Monday, and more than 4,500 drivers were hit with fines. An estimated 4 million Aussies travelled by air and road around the country. So, how can you stay safe on the road?

Driving on road easter long weekend

Stay alert while driving this Easter Long Weekend

1. Plan to avoid the traffic

The Easter break starts this year on the 9th of April, which is Good Friday, and runs until Monday, 10th of April. However, many travellers choose to begin their break on Thursday in a bid to beat the traffic.

While leaving the day before should be quieter on the roads, don’t make the mistake of leaving straight from work.

2. Check your car is safe

Your tyres legally must have at least 1.4mm tread depth. Incorrect tyre pressure can speed up tyre wear, so before your big trip, check your wheels. Lift the bonnet and check the oil level doesn’t need topping up and walk around the car to check the lights and blinkers work.

Fill up the tank the day before you depart and check the windscreen washer bottle and coolant is full. 

3. Stop revive survive

Plan your route with places you’d like to stop for a break. The highway may be the most direct route. But, often the time passes quicker when you plan the trip on smaller roads and through small towns. 

Every two hours, take a break from concentration and stretch your legs. If you need to stop and there isn’t a town, perhaps look out for one of the many Driver Reviver spots.

4. Put your phone away

If you’re using the GPS on your phone, make sure the phone is secured in a commercially designed holder fixed to the car. It’s against the law to touch the phone once you start driving, so enter your final destination before pulling away from the curb.

5. Store your luggage securely

Loose items can become hazardous projectiles if you brake too suddenly. If you’re carrying items on top of the car, regularly stop to check the straps are holding the items securely. Even dogs can be secured with a specially designed dog seat belt. 


If you’re thinking of purchasing a reliable car to get around the country, get in touch with us. We can discuss your needs and find the right car for you.

Travelling with a Roof-Top Tent

Got your trusty Outback or Forester, maybe a Patrol or even a new Cherokee?  Then you’re likely ready for a bit of an adventure!  Haven’t we got the country just for you?  Australia is filled with many wonderful things to see, places to explore, and amazing wildlife and flora to enjoy.  It’s surprising how many decent vehicles we can actually use to get around Australia; space and practicality being the main factors contributing to the type of vehicle we end up using.

Of course, the other factor will be how 4x4ish and AWDish you’ll want/need the vehicle to be – because the further you go off-road, then the more likely you’ll be driving an SUV with 4WD ability or even a true blue 4×4 brute to get you anywhere.

Next question I’d be asking would be: Will you want to be staying in motels and B&Bs, towing a caravan, or staying in a tent?  If you want to ditch the vacancy/no-vacancy signs for a lot more freedom and a lower price tag, then caravanning and tenting are very decent options.

What I wanted to focus attention on was the types of tents that can be mounted on the roof of a vehicle.  Roof-top tents are a means of accommodation that are great while you’re on the move around Australia.  They keep you up off the ground and away from the creepy crawlies, or at least minimalizing their access!  A pop-top roof tent is a neat and inexpensive way of giving you your sleeping space while travelling around Australia.

Some of the advantages of having a roof top tent include:

You can camp in as many places as your vehicle can take you – think off-road and a rugged 4×4 vehicle!

The roof-top tent is usually designed to be fast and easy set up and store away at a campsite.  Usually, they can take as little as 1 – 5 minutes to set up.  This is a brief!

The roof-top tent is off the ground, thus keeping you off the wet ground and mud, and away from insects, snakes, and other animals.

Many pop out roof-tents are designed with the mattress already included in the fold out design.  This makes camping life even easier.

The biggest disadvantages of a fold out roof tent would include:

Older folk may struggle getting in and out of the tent via the ladder.

The tent’s maximum body capacity and height are limited, so there’s no way for you to stand up to your full height.  You also won’t be able to hold a party of any great number inside.

Lifting the tent to the roof of the car can be a little more challenging depending on the set-up and weight involved.

Unfortunately, not every vehicle is made for carrying a hefty weight on the roof, and some simply cannot handle the additional weight.  As a general rule of thumb, your car should have cargo racks and be able to withstand at least 80–100 kg of weight. They should accommodate for the weight of your tent and everyone inside.  However, if you’re thinking of buying a four-person roof top tent, you’ll need a sturdier SUV or a pickup truck/ute.  Some sedans and town cars may be able to handle one- or two-person pop-top roof tents.

Roof-top tents have been an Australia thing for many, many decades, but the first one was invented between 1957 and 1958 by Giuseppe Dionisio.  Roof top tents are now available right around the world, and the variety of roof-top tent models is staggering.

For your first ever roof top tent experience, a softshell tent might be the best choice.  It is lighter, cheaper, and more familiar to most people for setting up at a campsite. However, if you’re ready to go all in and have the money to spare, a hard shell roof top tent is a more luxurious (and usually more convenient) option.

Thule and Kings roof-top tents would be a great place to start if you want to take a look and try out the camping lifestyle with a view.  Camping life with a bit of freedom is hard to beat!

Young Drivers

Safety Tips for Young Drivers.

  • Get supervised driving experience in all types of weather conditions and road surfaces (clear weather, dawn/dusk, rain, high winds, dust, gravel, hill climbs, descents, etc.).
  • Get someone who is an experienced driver to supervise you lots while driving town/city rush hour traffic, around roundabouts, out on the motorway, changing lanes, urban and rural driving. etc. Don’t just practise in an urban area, make sure you get experience driving on all types of roads with a confident driver alongside to guide you as and when you may need it.
  • Be courteous when driving and think of other road users.
  • Look as far ahead as possible, and not just at the taillights of the car in front of you, which is how nose-to-tail accidents happen.
  • Put your phone away when you’re driving, or at least where you can’t see or reach for it. Driver distraction is a leading cause of crashes.
  • Don’t let passengers push you beyond your comfort zone. It’s your responsibility as the driver to stay alert, ensure how safe is safe for you, the safety of yourself, the safety of passengers, and the safety of others while driving.
  • When choosing a car, look for solid cars with technology like ABS, airbags, and pre-tensioning seatbelts.
  • Get a car with great visibility about the car.
  • Parents, family members, and those with driving experience should supervise you (the young driver/learner) as much as possible.

As a parent or guardian, let your young learners drive, even if it’s just for short distances each time. It is so important to help them get experience behind the wheel while being supervised as much as is possible and practical.

In 2008, OECD data revealed that the United Kingdom (UK) had the lowest fatalities per billion vehicle kilometres travelled when compared with other countries who were OECD members.  In this survey, the graphed data showed Australia as being 9th out of the 13 countries involved in the survey.  Where the UK had 4.9 fatalities per billion vehicle kilometres travelled, Australia had 6.9.  Denmark held the highest with 8.22.

Recently, Top Tests, UK, revealed data on various driving statistics.  Top Test’s 2018 data showed that drivers aged 16–19 were still 38% more likely to be killed or seriously injured than drivers aged 40–49, and drivers aged 20–29 were 65% more likely to be killed or seriously injured than drivers aged 40–49.  When 1000 drivers were quizzed in 2018, Top Tests found that 42% of the drivers aged 18–34 admitted to experiencing road rage at least once a week, and 14% of younger drivers experienced road rage every day that they drove.  (Source:

Across the ditch in NZ, AMI insurance claims data reveal that drivers under the age of 25-years old are most at risk of having an accident.  In the United State, motor vehicle crashes are the second leading cause of death for U.S. teens.  Here in Australia, the government has kept a close eye on road statistics as well, and rightly so.  According to 2021 reports, there were a total of 1133 road fatalities for the 2021 year, where speeding remained the top cause of accidents; this was followed by driver distraction, and then driver fatigue.  Those aged 17 – 25 year old were the second-highest age bracket impacted by road deaths.  The 40 – 64 age group had the most road accident deaths, however it was young men who were more likely to be involved in a crash.

By March this year (2022), New South Wales had recorded the most fatal road accidents for the year (25), an increase from 2021 with (19). Queensland followed (20), Victoria (18), Western Australia (15), South Australia (7), Tasmania (6), Northern Territory (3), and the Australian Capital Territory (0)

Whether it’s travelling too fast for the conditions, using smartphones, vaping or smoking, eating, applying makeup, checking the texts – all while driving – these are the leading causes for road fatalities on Australian roads.  Driving while fatigued and, of course, drink driving or driving under the influence of some drug also causes road fatalities.

It’s sad that anyone should die, however it is the young drivers that are the top culprits for using their mobile phones while they are driving, which leads to serious and tragic accidents.  In Australia, 18 – 24 and 25 – 39 age groups reported the highest application of using mobile phones while driving.  18 – 24 year old drivers are twice as likely to receive a speeding fine.

Hamish Piercy, Fleet Risk Manager for AMI, and former New Zealand Police Officer with the serious crash unit, has over 33 years of crash investigation experience.  Hamish was unsurprised that, in New Zealand, AMI received such a high number of claims for drivers under the age of 25.  He commented: “There are a lot of great young drivers out there, and some excellent driver education programmes, but these statistics show that we can’t be complacent when it comes to driver safety. It’s an unavoidable fact that to gain experience, you have to drive. So, as a society we need to look at how we can enable that in safe ways.”

If possible, try to enrol your young family member that’s embarking on getting a driver’s license to run through a local driver training course.  Good driving courses will focus on key areas like core driving skills, reading the road ahead, distraction, inattention, and speed.  Courses that can impart crucial driving skills will enable your youngster to gain confidence, gain good driving skills and driving habits, and get plenty of positive encouragement.  These are all essential for getting out on the road to drive as safely as possible.

Safe driving everyone!