If one can spend a few lakh of rupees on a vehicle, why not carry out a few modifications on it? It is common for buyers to spend Rs 3,000-4,000 on modifications when one buys an Royal Enfield Bullet.
Mainly, enthusiasts remove their silencers and these are the people who get caught for illegal modifications. The next favorite modification is changing the handle bar. People change them according to their tastes and styles. There are people who go for new tires, lights and horn.
When people started complaining about such vehicles, the Motor Vehicles Department has tightened their inspections. Tens of thousands of rupees are now flowing into the coffers of the department. The experts in the field too admit that the time is not good for the "beauty parlors" of vehicles.
After the impact of GST and demonetization, the new headache for them is the motor vehicles department.
With the department tightening the screws, many Bullet lovers are keeping a low profile. The reason is simple - if caught, the owner of a Bullet without a silencer has to cough up Rs 2,000-3,000 fine.
Most Bullet lovers opt to remove their silencers. With each owner spending around Rs 3,000 to modify sound, thousands are spent every month. Though not in the scale of two-wheelers, car owners too are not far behind in modifying their vehicles.
Recently, a Maruti Baleno was "converted" into a Benz and was caught in Malappuram. High-intensity headlights, wider tires that stick out of the vehicle and thumping sounds are all a big NO.
In cars, the modifications that are common include changing tires, lights and horn.
A large chunk of consumers is of the view that modifications that don't fiddle with the safety and security aspects of the vehicle but enhances convenience of users should be allowed. Isn't it better to fix the handlebar according to the height of a user, they ask. They also seek a system to certify legal modifications as is prevalent in several foreign countries.
According to the Motor Vehicle Act, the basic design of the vehicle can't be altered. Manufacturers design cars to perform to set standards and changes could have dangerous consequences. Any modification that does not alter the basic design of the car is accepted by the Motor Vehicles Department. And, modified vehicles should also get the approval from the department.
An owner even has the right to change the engine of a vehicle. But the engine has to be sourced from a car manufacturer and the customer has to present a bill too.
Mostly, those who own old vehicles and those who want a distinct identity opt for modifications. But, since it affects the resale value, most people don't attempt to modify their vehicles, say officials.
The department mostly gets applications to change the color of the vehicle. For this they have to pay a charge. For motorcycles the charge is Rs 190 and for cars it is Rs 340. Earlier, the fee was a flat Rs 90.