Understanding Vehicle Compliance and Modifications for Imported Cars 

24 Jul 2023

Importing cars is becoming increasingly popular, given the demand for and scarcity of certain models in the Australian automotive market. When importing cars, it’s important to understand how to comply with local laws when modifications have been made to the car. Local regulations ensure cars are safe to use for both drivers, passengers and other cars on the road. In the following article we discuss how to ensure your imported modified vehicle is compliant with local legislation. 

What is Vehicle Compliance? 

There are two main facets of vehicle compliance which affect owners’ ability to legally import cars into Australia. Australian Design Rules and a local certification process must be catered to before an import model with modifications can drive on Australian roads. Australian Design Rules set minimum safety, environmental and technical requirements for Australian cars. They ensure cars have the necessary safety features built into them, don’t pollute too much and aren’t too powerful; thereby posing a risk to other drivers. The certification process is performed by authorised compliance facilities to ensure cars are compliant with Australian Design Rules. The process must be performed when importing a modified car into Australia. 

Understanding Vehicle Modifications 

Vehicles manufactured to international standards may not necessarily be compliant with Australian rules. Safety and technical modifications, including: headlights, adjusting speedometers or emissions equipment must pass the certification process if they are to be used in Australia. If existing modifications do not pass the certification process, they must be replaced with local components that do. This often happens when left-hand-drive cars are imported. 

The Import Approval Process 

When importing a modified car into Australia, there are three criteria which the owners of the vehicle must meet: 

  1. Vehicle import approval must be gained from the Department of Infrastructure. Transport, Regional Development and Communications, 
  2. A registered automotive workshop must sign off on the certification process to show that modifications to a car are legal and 
  3. A compliance plate must be purchased to demonstrate that the car meets Australian standards and regulations. 

Post-Compliance Considerations 

Following successful and legal importation of a modified car into Australia, there are several post-compliance considerations that must be factored into the car’s lifespan. Vehicle inspections should be carried out regularly to ensure vehicles remain safe for use on Australian roads. Appropriate insurance coverage and state registration must also be obtained each year. Finally, continued compliance with Australian Design Rules must be maintained to ensure the car stays within the bounds of the law. 

Why Ship With Dolphin Shipping Australia?   

As well as understanding the regulations governing compliance with Australian modification laws, Dolphin Cargo offers premium door-to-door shipment of cars, motorcycles and other vehicles. Enjoy peace of mind by using Dolphin Shipping Australia: you’re in good hands.