Q&A - Making Vehicle Modifications

Q&A ImageQuestion: I am wondering about the rules for making vehicle modifications. There are many custom trucks and 4x4s of all sorts on the highway with big tires and lift kits. I would like to modify a vehicle by building custom control arms.

vehicle modifications: upper control arm image

Having said that, I don't want a peace officer to pull me over and tell me I'm breaking rules. I also don't want someone to crash into me and have ICBC tell me because my truck is modified my insurance is void.

Are lift kits that are manufactured legal? Can someone legally make their own lift kit?

I downloaded and paid for the vehicle inspection manual and can only find one thing that would effect my plans:

Reject if

b) control arms b) bent, loose, cracked, welded, bushings loose

Many factory vehicle control arms are welded. If I make a control arm that is welded, does it mean its OK? It has not been fixed by welding but it has been manufactured by welding.

The rules seem very vague to me and open to interpretation. I know that I can build them stronger and better than the stock ones that are on my truck.

With bigger tires the ball joints don't last very long with the OEM design.

There doesn't seem to be any rules for vehicle modifications other than bumper heights and light heights.


The rules for vehicle modifications are essentially the Motor Vehicle Act, the Regulations and the Superintendent's Standards for the Approval of a Motor Vehicle. The standards you have a copy of with your purchase of the inspection manual.

Some Vehicle Modifications Are Possible

Some modifications may be made according to these rules without having to have the vehicle inspected to insure that they have been done properly. However, as soon as you adjust your vehicle's ride height up or down by more than 10 cm. you are automatically required to attend a designated inspection station and pass inspection before you can legally drive the vehicle again. The inspection station will use the inspection manual to guide their examination of the vehicle.

Plan Your Vehicle Modifications

If you plan on modifying your vehicle enough to require inspection when completed, I suggest that you visit the inspection station that you plan to use before you start. Outline to them what you plan to do and ask their advice on making the mods so that they will accept them and pass the vehicle.

For Off Road Use Only

Beware of modification kits available in local businesses. They are often marked "for off road use only" in small print somewhere other than where you would normally look. This is your first clue that using them will be a problem. Depending on where you buy parts like this, the employees may or may not be able to give you reliable information on their safety or legality. Fabricating your own parts is not a problem as long as you use the correct materials and are skilled enough to build them properly.

Keep The Inspection Documents

When they do the final inspection, have them document all the modifications that they have inspected on letterhead for you and keep a copy of that along with the pass document in your glovebox. If you are stopped by police, this will go a long way to showing that your mods were done carefully and each has passed. It may save you being subject to an inspection order, or provide you with a justification for disagreement if you do receive one.

Where to Find Help

You may find the Highways and Motor Vehicle Laws forum at BC4X4.com useful. The people that frequent the forum are experienced and are willing to provide their advice.

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