Every car would have to be inspected at some point in its life. These are necessary to ensure the cars on our roads meet stringent international safety standards.
This is to protect us from ourselves; 'illegally' tweaked cars can operate at parameters far outside what the designers and engineers have manufactured for.
However, with the correct aftermarket supporting mods, there is no reason why a highly tuned car cannot be safe.
However, not every tuner can work to that standard. This is why LTA car inspections are present - to make sure cars do not sport modifications that can endanger the lives of their occupants, the people around them or the environment.
So just what is the path of least resistance in clearing an LTA car inspection?
Not Modifying Your Car At All
You can't be penalised for 'illegal' modifications if your car has none to begin with.
The LTA folks are pretty keen on you not using aftermarket componentry that has not been pre-approved by them, even though these items may be an improvement over the original parts, and have been homologated for use in other markets.
The list of items patrolled by the inspection centre can include things as minute as non-OEM head and taillights, or even exhaust systems from third-party manufacturers.
But even if your car is bog stock, the LTA will still have grounds to fail you if it isn't in the best operating condition. So if have doubts about the integrity of your powertrain...
Send For A Check-Up Before Your Car Inspection
You can fail your car inspection over annoying small faults. These are factors you can minimise simply by getting your car checked over before heading over to the inspection centre.
If you routinely maintain your car (which you should be doing), and it is in good operating condition with no atypical squeaks and rattles, perhaps this step is not needed.
However, you should still ensure that all of your external lights are in good working order, that your tyres have some life left in them, and also that your oily bits are in a clean bill of health generally.
Modify, But Keep With LTA Guidelines
As we all know, the LTA does allow us to modify our cars. But there's a catch - you can only do so if they deem it is safe to. They will not allow you to add gobs of power legally, or cut up chunks of your car to turn it into a track-day weapon.
And for obvious reason. Still, that is not to say you can't go chasing lap time with your daily. Instead of adding power, which is achieved typically through means that run afoul of LTA regulations, you can opt to remove weight.
Afterall, there is a three-pronged approach to performance (Power, Weight & Handling) - if you can't add power, you can always optimise the other two factors! Also, modify your 'driving skill'.
Consider investing in a simulator wheel, or perhaps spend some time at your local kart track. Better driving skills will translate into quicker lap times, but also more ability to regain control should you lose it whilst commuting!
Swapping Out Illegal Parts For OEM Items Pre-Inspection
This is slightly naughty, but many car owners still do it anyway.
If you've caught the car mod bug, and it is an itch that you simply have to scratch, this perhaps is the only viable alternative.
Whilst your car will pass its inspection with ease (you've replaced all parts back to factory for the sake of the test), you'll still have to stress and fret over every LTA officer you pass on the road.
You may want to either get good at DIY, or become best buddies with your mechanic - the many trips to a workshop cannot be that kind on your wallet!
Now That My Car Is Ready For It, Which Inspection Centre Should I Head To?
The LTA has authorised three independent inspection companies to carry out these tests on its behalf. They are JIC, STA, and VICOM.
JIC has a branch in Ang Mo Kio, and another in Jurong. STA also has two, with one in Boon Lay and the other in Sin Ming. VICOM has five locations, in Bukit Batok, Changi, Kaki Bukit, Sin Ming and Yishun.
How Often Do I Need To Get My Car Inspected?
The answer is it depends. New cars, the definition being cars under the age of three, do not need to be inspected at all. From three to ten years, cars need to be inspected biannually. Once a car passes the decade mark, you'll have to get it inspected annually.
But if you've been caught flouting the stringent car modification regulations, you'll have to get your car tested more regularly.
Cars caught with an illegally altered engine or exhaust systems will have to be checked every six months for two years. More frequent offenders will need to do so once every three months for two years.
Car Inspection Costs
An inspection is S$64.20, and a retest is S$32.10.
Petrol-powered cars registered before the 1st of April 2014 will have to undergo an extra emissions test that will cost you S$1.07. Petrol cars registered after will be subjected to other tests that come up to S$6.42.
Modifying Your Car
Is a way to make your ride truly your own. There are many schools of thought when it comes to this multi-billion dollar global industry.
There are the hardcore, track day guys, who would give up creature comforts in the pursuit of quicker lap times.
There are those who like to create almost aesthetic pieces, or cars so pretty and tastefully done up that you'd struggle with your conscience to daily it.
Regardless, as long as you keep it within the realms of our law, you can rest easy knowing that you will not need to suffer from cumbersome retests. Also, it isn't only illegal car mods that can get you in trouble with the law.
Keeping your car well maintained is a great way to ensure mechanical longevity, but also means a peace of mind come inspection time.
You can have your car looked over, and kept in the pink of health with one of our trusted workshop partners!
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