Modify a light vehicle

Find out what modifications you can undertake to a light vehicle in Western Australia without approval from the Department, and what to do when approval is required.

Before you commence

Before you commence any light vehicle modifications it is important to understand your obligations to inform or seek approval from the Department of Transport (DoT). In some cases no approval or vehicle inspection is required, in other cases approval and/or inspections are compulsory. The three types of vehicle modification are categorised as follows:

  • Those modifications that can be completed without approval and inspection.
  • Modifications that can be completed without approval but need to pass a DoT vehicle inspection.
  • Modifications that require an application and DoT approval before the modification can commence. These modifications also need to pass a DoT Inspection.

  Modifications that DO NOT require approval or inspection

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.
  • Change of vehicle colour.
  • Gearbox (pre-1976).
  • Mesh stone shields for wind screens and lamps.
  • Mud spats and pebble guards.
  • Optional manufacturer seating.
  • Radio and 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 and traction bars (not semi-tramp types).
  • Tyre size and aspect ratio.
  • Venetian blinds and other internal screening systems are allowed, subject to a clear view to the rear.

  Modifications that DO NOT require approval but DO need to be inspected

The following modifications do not need written pre-approval from the DoT and can be assessed by an Authorised Inspection Station (AIS) vehicle examiner at time of the inspection. A Modification Permit will be issued by the AIS approving your particular modification

Before you book with AIS to have your modified vehicle inspected, the following must be completed:

  • You must pre-pay for the modification permit before you present the vehicle for inspection.
  • You must present your receipt at the time of the inspection.

Vehicle permit and modification fees

Fee type Fee
Temporary movement permits (all class except Class 6) $29.80 [^]
Temporary movement permits (Class 6) $24.80 [^]
Vehicle modification permit $19.80

[^] Includes Motor Injury Insurance (MII), Vehicle Licence Duty and GST.

Pre-pay a vehicle modification permit fee

  Body and interior modifications

  • Installation of Category 2 or 3 child seats.
  • Installation of Child restraint anchorage points (not fitted by a DoT Type 2 Fitting Station). Please refer to: IB-118 or visit Child restraint fitting stations - Type 2.
  • Seating reduction seat and seat belt removal.

The following National Code of Practice VSB14 checklists must be supplied at time of inspection. The checklists must be completed and signed by the holder of a Motor Vehicle Repairers Certificate or a DoT recognised signatory.

  • LK1 checklist: Seat and seatbelt installation/removal.
  • LK6 checklist: Child restraint anchorage installation.

The checklists may be found on the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development: Vehicle Standards Bulletins (VSB) website.

LBU_VS_IB_118.pdf icon IB-118H: Child restraint fitting stations - Type 2 (Information Bulletin) Kb

  Driveline modifications

  • Gearbox change - Manual to Automatic manufacturer's option provided all the manufacturers' option components are used.
  • Rear Axle substitution - Manufacturer's option provided all the manufacturers' option components are used

The following National Code of Practice VSB14 checklists must be supplied at time of inspection. The checklists must be completed and signed by the holder of a Motor Vehicle Repairers Certificate or a DoT recognised signatory.

  • LB1: Transmission substitution checklist.
  • LB2: Rear axle substitution checklist.

The checklists may be found on the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development: Vehicle Standards Bulletins (VSB) website.

External Link Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development: Vehicle Standards Bulletins (VSB)

  Electrical modifications

  • Battery relocation.

  Engine modifications

  • Fitment of a manufacturer's option engine provided all the manufacturers' option components are used
  • Fitment of aftermarket extractors.
  • Fitment of aftermarket turbo charges to OEM turbo diesel with mechanical pumps only.
  • Fitment of an aftermarket camshaft pre 89 vehicle.
  • Fitment of intercooler.
  • Fitment of over the radiator air intake without emissions control removed.
  • Fitment of pod air filter.

The following National Code of Practice VSB14 checklist must be supplied at time of inspection. The checklists must be completed and signed by the holder of a Motor Vehicle Repairers Certificate or a DoT recognised signatory.

  • LA1- Equivalent Engine Installation checklist.

The checklists may be found on the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development: Vehicle Standards Bulletins (VSB) website.

External Link Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development: Vehicle Standards Bulletins (VSB)

  Fuel system modifications

  • Fitment of aftermarket fuel tanks.

The following National Code of Practice VSB14 checklists must be supplied at time of inspection. The checklists must be completed and signed by the holder of a Motor Vehicle Repairers Certificate or a DoT recognised signatory.

  • LM1: Fuel tank alterations checklist.

The checklists may be found on the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development: Vehicle Standards Bulletins (VSB) website.

External Link Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development: Vehicle Standards Bulletins (VSB)

  Steering modifications

  • Aftermarket steering wheel marked as complying with Australian design Rule 10/00 (pre-airbag and minimum size 330 mm).
  • Basic steering wheel spinner knob without any controls (for persons with disabilities only).

  Suspension modifications

  • Fitment of adjustable coil over suspension, provided suspension travel is not reduced by more than one third of the manufacturer's specifications. The brake lines and ABS sensor wires must be securely attached.
  • Fitment of Air Assist Airbag suspension as per IB-126.
LBU_VS_IB_126.pdf icon IB-126B: Air bag suspension (Information Bulletin) Kb

  Vehicle modifications for persons with disabilities

  • Basic steering wheel spinner knob without any controls.
  • Hand controls for the brake and accelerator only (as long as the original pedals are in place, can be used and does not impede the operation of a knee airbag (if fitted).
  • Right to left accelerator pedal modification (as long as the original pedal is left on the right or has the ability to have a pedal on the right).
External Link Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development: Vehicle Standards Bulletins (VSB)

  Modifications that DO require an application, DoT approval and must be inspected

The Department of Transport's (DoT) Vehicle Safety and Standards (VSS) is required to assess applications from people wishing to perform a modification on a vehicle that requires the approval of the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the DoT.

As part of this process applicants are required to complete an online application, unless the modification is one that has been gazetted as a modification not requiring formal approval as mentioned previously.

LBU_P_VL_Online_Mod_Application_Light_vehicles_notes.pdf icon Modification application light (production) vehicles (Guidelines) Kb

  Modifications that DO require approval (limitations and conditions)

For information on the following modifications please refer to the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development Vehicle Standards Bulletin: National Code of Practice for Light Vehicle Construction and Modification (VSB14):

  • Alternative power.
  • Body modifications.
  • Brakes *.
  • Electric drive.
  • Engines.
  • Fuel systems.
  • Motorcycles.
  • Seating and occupant protection.
  • Suspension and steering.
  • Test procedures.
  • Transmissions.
  • Trike guidelines.

* Note about brake modifications:

Modifications to the braking system of a motor vehicle are permissible only where listed by the vehicle manufacturer as an option for the particular model. However, the fitting of a suitable power booster unit to a brake system is in order where it is an option listed by the vehicle manufacturer or is recommended by a qualified brake specialist.

Passenger vehicles and their derivatives manufactured to comply with ADR 31 - Hydraulic Braking Systems, and ADR 35 - Commercial Vehicle Braking Systems, must not be modified without prior written approval from the department.

Seat belt replacement and repairs.

  • Please refer to the documents below.

Bull bars.

  • Please refer to the document below.
LBU_VS_CI_112.pdf icon CI-112C: Bull bar construction guidelines (Circular to Industry) Kb
LBU_VS_CI_109.pdf icon CI-109C: Guidelines for seat belt repairers (Circular to Industry) Kb
LBU_VS_IB_110.pdf icon IB-110F: Seat belt repairers - Accepted organisations (Information Bulletin) Kb
LBU_VS_IB_113.pdf icon IB-113B: Seat belt replacement (Information Bulletin) Kb
LBU_F_VL_E7_SelfBuiltVehicleDec.pdf icon Self-built vehicle declaration (Form E7) Kb
External Link Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development: Australian Design Rules
External Link Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development: Vehicle Standards Bulletins (VSB)

  If your modification requires approval, apply online

Please read the following five stages to having your modification approved and a permit issued before proceeding to completing the application form.

Stage 1: Apply online

Before you can commence any vehicle modifications that require approval you must complete a modification application.

We will assess your application and advise you whether you have been granted approval in principle to proceed.

  • Read the guidelines document below before proceeding to complete the online light vehicle modification form. The guidelines provide you with information in respect to your proposed modifications and refer to the relevant industry bulletins for light vehicle modifications.
  • Please note that you will receive a return email copy of your application once it has been submitted. If you wish to provide photographs or drawings to support your application, please send them via the email address on your response.

Vehicle permit and modification fees

Fee type Fee
Temporary movement permits (all class except Class 6) $29.80 [^]
Temporary movement permits (Class 6) $24.80 [^]
Vehicle modification permit $19.80

[^] Includes Motor Injury Insurance (MII), Vehicle Licence Duty and GST.

LBU_P_VL_Online_Mod_Application_Light_vehicles_notes.pdf icon Modification application light (production) vehicles (Guidelines) Kb

Stage 2: Have your modification application processed

  • Your application will be processed by the Department as soon as possible. However, you should allow a reasonable time for processing.
  • In some cases you may be asked to get engineering approval for your proposed modifications.

Stage 3: Once your application has been assessed and approved

  • Once your application has been assessed and approved by the Department, you will be issued with letter containing an Approval number.
  • Once you have received this approval you can commence to undertake your modifications.

Stage 4: Complete your modifications and a vehicle inspection

  • Once your modifications have been finalised, you will need to undertake a vehicle inspection. Please note an inspection fee is payable.

Before you book with AIS to have your modified vehicle inspected, the following must be completed:

  • You must pre-pay for the modification permit before you present the vehicle for inspection.
  • You must present your receipt at the time of the inspection.
Pre-pay a vehicle modification permit fee

 

Stage 5: You are issued with modification permit

  • If you vehicle passes the inspection and you have paid the required fee, we will issue a modification permit guaranteeing that the modification conforms to the regulations.
  • We recommend you keep these documents inside the vehicle, with copies in a safe place. These documents are proof that the vehicle is safe when used as the conditions on the permit dictate. When your vehicle is sold they must be given to the new owner.
  • It is also recommended that you discuss any modifications you have carried out or intend to make with your insurer, including those listed as modifications not requiring approval. Failure to do this could result in a subsequent insurance claim being denied.

  Applicable legislation (modify a light vehicle)

Whatever the reason for a modification, the vehicle in question must conform to the following regulations and rules.

  • Australian Design Rules.
  • Road Traffic (Vehicles) Act 2012.
  • Road Traffic (Vehicles) Regulations 2014.

Many minor vehicle modifications can be carried out without our approval. However, they must still comply with the relevant regulations.

External Link Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development: Australian Design Rules
Opens in a new window Department of Justice: Road Traffic (Vehicles) Act 2012

  Engineering or modification reports and certificates

Engineering and recognised signatories

The document below provides a list of persons who are recognised by the Department as able to issue engineering or modification reports or certificates for vehicles modified by themselves or under their personal supervision.

LBU_VS_IB_102.pdf icon IB-102R: Engineering and recognised signatories (Information Bulletin) Kb

 

Page last updated: Wed Jun 20 2018 11:23:16 AM