Simple car modifications can take many forms such as upgrading the brakes, to adjusting your front and rear suspension to the more complex mounting of frames and bolts.
The UAE has set a regulatory system known as the cabinet decision 45 of 2016, specifying requirements for the modification of passenger vehicles in the country. This came into effect in June 2017. The Emirates Authority for Standardisation and Metrology (ESMA) announced the set of regulations in an effort to reduce harmful vehicle emissions and distracting noise and to ensure all drivers remain safe while on the UAE roads. It also states that modified car owners should get approval for parts they have altered.
Other changes that can be considered as modification and require approval include changing of the order of seats, installing searchlights or high-performance brake, using mufflers or internal entertainment sound system, suspension lifting or low-riding, changing the engine ignition and radiation, replacing tyres and vehicle wheel rims, and upgrading the main engine, among many others.
However, trailers, motorcycles, tractors and caravans are among those exempted from getting approvals for modifications.
Early this year, the new car modification campaign came into force, which aims at educating young and new drivers of the dangers of modifying their cars. Not following the requirements related to vehicle modifications can result in bigger penalties and hefty fines. Therefore, before driving around Dubai, or planning a trip to another emirate, be sure to check if any alterations to your vehicle comply with the UAE laws and regulations.
If you wish to obtain a modification licence, you will need to take your modified vehicle to the vehicle inspection modification centre for examination and inspection. After inspection, a checklist of changes or any declining of alterations will be submitted to ESMA. The governing body will review the paper prior to issuing the licence.
The same requirements are also distributed to car workshops across the UAE as a guide prior to making any changes to any car, and car owners with existing modified vehicles will also have to apply for a modification certificate from ESMA.
The law and penalties
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