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Viral TikTok trend could land you with huge fine and invalidate insurance

A TikTok user has gone viral for tinting his car windows with maple syrup and charcoal toothpaste after the video received over 110 million views and 6 million likes. But experts are warning that tinting your car’s windows could result in a hefty fine, points on your license or even a court appearance.

While you are able to modify your car, there are some modifications that are illegal.

1) Window tints

Risk: £50-100 fine, 3 penalty points or court

7% of all car modification enquiries to MoneySuperMarket were about window tinting. However, tinting your windows more than allowed can result in a £50 to £100 fine, three penalty points or even being reported to court. The front windscreen needs to be 75% tint-free, and the side windows 70% tint-free.

2) Loud exhausts

Risk: Fine or court

Likewise, MoneySuperMarket recorded over 8% of car insurance enquiries for exhaust system changes. But exhaust systems cannot go over the noise limit of 74 decibels. Again, this can result in a fine or reported to court, as well as making the vehicle more damaging to the environment.

3) Spoilers

Risk: Police intervention

Spoilers aren’t necessarily illegal. They are popular, with 4% of MoneySuperMarket’s car modification enquiries about adding a spoiler. But, if not installed correctly, it can get you into trouble. The spoiler needs to be fastened safely. If not, the police could have the power to remove the unsafe spoiler .

4) Nitrous oxide

Risk: £1,000-£2,500 fine

Using Nitrous Oxide to boost your motor speed in a gasoline engine is extremely illegal and dangerous. Doing this can increase cylinder pressure, if they are exposed to enough heat, which could see the nitrous expand within and shatter the cylinders, causing an explosion and costs for you. Making changes to the engine in an attempt to improve performance could result in safety implications landing you a hefty fine. The potential penalties are £1,000 for a car and £2,500 for a van, lorry or bus.

Any change that makes the vehicle different to when it left the factory counts as a modification and may affect and invalidate car finance PCP and HP agreements.

Jo Thornhill from MoneySuperMarket said: “You need to let your finance provider know of any changes to the car, no matter how small. That’s because you don’t actually own the car while paying your finance instalments on PCP or HP. As long as you are within your contract, the car belongs to the finance company and is their security for the loan.”

“Therefore, the finance company can place restrictions on the car while they are the owner. If they need to recoup their losses due to you not being able to make repayments, they can take the car and sell it. But modifications to a car can affect its value; they can either improve it or lower it. In your eyes, you might have improved it, but the finance company may think differently.”