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Light vehicle modifications

This page provides information for vehicle owners or vehicle modifiers wishing to modify light vehicles (gross vehicle mass of not more than 4.5t) from the manufacturer’s original specifications. Following these requirements will ensure that your vehicle meets all applicable Queensland regulations and its safety levels are maintained.

To answer the most commonly asked questions about modifications to vehicles, the department has developed a list of frequently asked questions and answers that is available here. The Minor Modifications publication also provides information about the most commonly performed modifications. 

Modifications to light vehicles can be generally classified in 4 ways:

Minor modifications

Many minor modifications can be carried out without obtaining written approval.

Commonly, minor modifications involve the installation of an accessory (e.g. long range aerial, tow bars, roof racks etc) and provided the vehicle continues to meet the vehicle standards, do not require approval.

For light vehicles, further information about minor modifications can be found in section 3.14 of the Introduction part of the National Code of Practice for Light Vehicle Construction and Modification (the NCOP).

Basic modifications

Basic modifications are changes to a vehicle that are more significant than a minor modification, but not significant enough to require formal approval from an Approved Person or the Department of Transport and Main Roads.

The technical requirements for basic modifications are provided in the NCOP. Any person performing a basic modification must ensure they meet all the requirements listed in the NCOP, and any applicable requirements of the Australian Design Rules and the vehicle standards.

Modifications under a Code of Practice

Complex modifications such as engine upgrades, gearbox and rear axle changes, vehicle body modifications and steering and brake replacements are significant modifications to a vehicle and can seriously affect the safety of a vehicle if not performed properly.

Complex modifications to light vehicles must be certified by approved persons, providing the modifications have been performed in accordance with an approved code of practice.

The approved codes of practice are based on accepted vehicle engineering practices and the requirements of the Australian Design Rules for Motor Vehicle Safety. It is intended to supplement the recommendations of the original vehicle manufacturer in relation to vehicle modification techniques or standards. It is important to note that the Australian Design Rules and the original manufacturer’s modification guidelines take precedence over the codes of practice.

In Queensland, there are currently 2 approved codes of practice for modifications to light vehicles:

Please note: Since 1 May 2013, the Code of Practice: Light Motor Vehicles is no longer an approved code of practice for light vehicle modifications and no Approved Person is accredited to issue certifications under this code.

From 1 May 2013, the National Code of Practice for Light Vehicle Construction and Modification and the Queensland Code of Practice: Vehicle Modifications are the approved codes of practice for light vehicle modifications.

National Code of Practice for Light Vehicle Construction and Modification

The National Code of Practice for Light Vehicle Construction and Modification (the NCOP) is the first step towards providing consistent technical requirements for light vehicle modifications around Australia.

The NCOP is a live document, meaning that over time, changes can be made to improve the document or include requirements for new modifications.

Vehicle owners wishing to modify their vehicles under the NCOP are encouraged to consult with an Approved Person who is able to certify the modifications.

Please Note: Not all parts of the NCOP have been accepted for use in Queensland, with variations applied for certain sections. For further information about these variations, please refer to the following Vehicle Standards Instructions:

  • VSI L19—Vehicle lifts under the Queensland Code of Practice — Vehicle Modifications
  • VSI L20—Engine modifications under the National Code of Practice for Light Vehicle Construction and Modification
  • VSI L21—Certification of Street Rods under the Queensland Code of Practice – Vehicle Modifications
  • VSI L22—Gas system installations under the National Code of Practice for Light Vehicle Construction and Modification.

The NCOP, as approved for use in Queensland, is available for download:

Note: The LA section that applies in Queensland is different from the national version. For more information about these variations, please refer to Vehicle Standards Instruction L 20.

Note: Sections LM2 and LM3 have not been adopted for use in Queensland. For further information please refer to Vehicle Standards Instruction L22.

Note: Codes LS7 and LS8 have not been adopted for use in Queensland and are not included in this section. For the requirements for vehicle lifts that apply in Queensland, please refer to the LS9 and LS10 sections of the Queensland Code of Practice: Vehicle Modifications.

Queensland Code of Practice: Vehicle Modifications

The Queensland Code of Practice: Vehicle Modifications (the QCOP) is an approved code of practice that provides the requirements for modifications that are unique to Queensland, and are not be included in the NCOP.

These modifications are:

  • LC1—Dual-controls for driver trainer vehicles (Design)
  • LC2—Dual-controls for driver trainer vehicles (Modification)
  • LC3—Vehicle controls for persons with a disability (Design)
  • LC4—Vehicle controls for persons with a disability (Modification)
  • LH9 – Street Rod Certification (Concessional)
  • LH10 – Street Rod Certification (Full)
  • LS9 – High Lift – 50mm-125mm (Design)
  • LS10 - High Lift – 50mm-125mm (Modification)

The Queensland Code of Practice is available for download.

Specific modifications

Some owners require approval for vehicle modifications which may be outside the scope of the approved codes of practice and approval by an Approved Person and must be approved by the department.

The Motor Vehicle Modification Application form (F1854) must be used when applying to the Department of Transport and Main Roads for a specific modification. A fee is payable for the evaluation of plans. Gaining approval before commencing any specific modifications is strongly recommended. Please send the application form and your submission to:

Vehicle Standards
Department of Transport and Main Roads
PO Box 673
Fortitude Valley, QLD 4006

Applicants should supply as much vehicle and engineering detail as possible to allow the modification to be assessed and avoid delays in processing of submissions.

Please note: Applications to modify a vehicle outside the requirements of an approved code of practice will only be considered by Transport and Main Roads if there is a genuine operational need for the modification.

For further advice regarding vehicle modifications, call the Vehicle Standards and Modifications Advice Team on (07) 3114 5844.

Young drivers

Research shows a greater crash risk for young drivers when driving high-powered and performance vehicles. Before modifying or purchasing a modified vehicle check the eligibility of the vehicle for young drivers – Provisional licence holders (P1 and P2) and high-powered and performance vehicles.

Last updated
01 April 2015