Performance Upgrades and Tuning laws in Germany
Contrary to English language, the German term of car tuning has vast meaning. Many performance upgrades, computer chip and design modifications come under tuning.
Car modification, either for performance or better-looking design is a complex topic in Germany and often needs a permission. “Straßenverkehrszulassungsordnung (StVZO)” (Road Traffic Act and Authorization of Vehicles for Road Transport) section 19 para 2 and 3 explain the modification rules.
According to Road Traffic Act and Authorization of Vehicles for Road Transport (StVZO) section 19 para 3, there are three kinds of modifications that need permission.
- The vehicle type approved in the vehicle class is changed,
- a danger to road users is to be expected or
- the exhaust or noise behavior is deteriorated.
Before any modification in the vehicle, it is always safer to ask about the law from the people working in modification and performance firms as they are working in the field and know better. These people have contacts with inspection firms as well. There are more than 400 tuning and performance firms registered in Germany. Information on modification can also be discussed with inspection company or officials at vehicle registration office (Fahrzeug Zulassungsstelle).
Inspection companies like TÜV and Dekra inspect the modification. After the approval from the inspection company the modification is mentioned in official papers (Fahrzeugbrief and Fahrzeugschein) of vehicle, or an additional paper (Zusatzblatt) can be issued in some cases. If the modification is apparently visible, police may stop and ask for permission papers. Some common modifications are:
Display modifications: e.g. tires and rims. Tire size is written on vehicle documents. Tires of other sizes are not allowed. To change the size of tires, permission is necessary. Similarly, modifications that change the driving behavior at low or high speed would need permission, for example, spoiler.
Sound modification: Noise level of every vehicle is registered. If the exhaust modification increases the noise from its original level, it needs permission.
Performance modification: Power increase also changes the behavior on the road so it would need permit. For example, change of engine. If the engine of another vehicle is fitted in a vehicle it would need a permission.
Interior modifications like seat change etc are allowed without any permission.
Important! After the vehicle has been modified and paperwork has been done, make sure to inform
the insurance about modification.
If not informed, payment through insurance company can cause complications in case of any accidents.
To find a tuning & performance shop near you please visit: Performance Firms in Germany