What is allowed – and what is not allowed – when tuning a car

Deep bodywork, blacked-out windows, big wheels. Individuality and optimization of the standard condition are very important to tuningfans. With big wheels you want to make the handling sportier or with the sport exhaust system you want to increase the performance and improve the sound.

Electronic chassis with numerous adjustment options ranging from comfort to sport are currently in vogue. Alloy wheels and reinforced lightweight forged wheels are still in demand. "the individual car will continue to play an important role for motorists," says harald schmidtke of the association of automotive tuners (VDAT).

Although many manufacturers offer an extensive tuning program ex works, including body parts such as spoilers and underride guards, adaptive suspensions, large wheels and performance enhancements, they are also able to offer a wide range of options. But: "These tuning measures are geared to mainstream customers, and only the aftermarket offers individuality."

Loud engines and quiet electric cars

Germany’s leading tuning trade show, the essen motor show, celebrates its 50th anniversary. Birthday. But it’s not just roaring engines that are on show this time – electric cars are striking quieter notes in the scene.

Source: N24/daniela will

Thomas caasmann from the german technical inspection agency (gtu) sees a trend in optical modifications. Foiling changes more than just the color of the vehicle. "modern foiling films can be printed like paper. There are no limits to the graphic design of the vehicles."

There is also a small revival of the wide-body vehicles from the 1980s. The trend is spreading from the asian region back to europe. In the field of lighting technology, fans are increasingly opting for headlights with LED bulbs and tail lights with a flat light design.

Important for all modifications: a valid general operating permit (ABE) or a visit to the vehicle inspector’s office. "modifications to vehicles are often subject to statutory regulations. If these are not observed, the operating license (BE) may expire," says schmidtke. Cars without BE are prohibited on public roads, insurance coverage can be cancelled, and in the event of a check, warning fines or fines and points are incurred.

Misinformation about warranty and guarantee

Schmidtke advises to inform oneself about the regulations and legislation prior to the conversion. "reputable suppliers deliver the products with the necessary certificates and/or approvals, so that acceptance of modifications is usually not a particular challenge."extensive appraisals, such as after total conversions, must be carried out by officially recognized experts.

After tuning and registration in the vehicle documents, the insurance company should be informed so that the data of the insured risk is the same and there are no discussions in the event of a claim.

There is often misinformation about warranties and guarantees. "it’s not true that all warranty claims are void if aftermarket accessories are installed," says schmidtke. "even though the warranty is a voluntary service provided by the manufacturer or dealer, whereas the guarantee has a statutory basis."

There must be a causal connection between the tuning installed and the defect. However, the vehicle warranty can be voided by tuning measures, for example in the case of subsequent engine tuning on the engine and drive unit.

Anything that is not part of the vehicle’s operating permit is a technical modification, i.e. a subsequent tuning. Technical modifications to the car must be legally compliant and often require approval and/or registration.

"Drivers should urgently ensure that the components are accompanied by the appropriate test certificates," says thorsten rechtien from TuV rheinland. valid test certificates are ABE or parts certificates. However, this also means that the requirements of the test certificate must be complied with and that the components have been correctly installed.

Tuning ex works has advantages

The conversions must be generally permissible and legal to use within the scope of the road traffic licensing regulations (stvzo). The safety level remains unchanged only through professional tuning and proper acceptance, otherwise acceptance or registration would not be possible.

many tuning measures today are limited to the chassis including wheel-tire combinations as well as add-on parts for the optics. "optimizing or fine-tuning the vehicle, which used to be the origin of tuning, is rather rare nowadays," says rechtien. Because most of the manufacturers already offer cars from the factory that can be highly customized.

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