Q&A: Buying a Modified Vehicle

Q&A ImageI'm in the process of buying a lifted Jeep YJ and don't know much about the restrictions such as the maximum suspension or body lift. Can you give me general information on raised 4x4 trucks and SUVs?

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ANSWER

Any vehicle that has had its suspension height altered by more than 10 cm either up or down is required to be taken to an inspection facility and passed before it is used on the highway in British Columbia. The facility issues a document showing the pass and the owner of this vehicle should have a copy to show you. Failing that, he may be able to tell you when and where it was inspected and the facility may have the record instead. I usually tell people that if they modify a vehicle, they should have the inspection done and have the facility list the modifications that they have approved on letterhead attached to the inspection form. This way you can show a curious police officer the list and satisfy them that all is as it should be. It is illegal for anyone to sell a vehicle intended to be used on the highway if that vehicle is not equipped in all respects in compliance with the Motor Vehicle Act and Regulations. There used to be a space on the APV9T transfer form to indicate if the vehicle was roadworthy, but I don't see that on the current form. It would be best to have this stated in a contract of sale between you and the seller. You may wish to have the sale contingent on passing an inspection if you don't get proof of it from the seller. I have seen many instances of raised vehicles with serious problems, including things like frame rails cracked at the steering box, tires that rubbed in the fender wells, rear differentials that rotated when the vehicle was accelerated and illegal modifications to the frame. As with any significant purchase, be very careful what you spend your money on. If you don't have the necessary knowledge to see problems on your own, make sure that you hire someone that does. The inspection fee may seem trivial to buying a vehicle that needs expensive repairs before you can drive it legally.

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