Car modification and legalities of it.

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Jaminio
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Car modification and legalities of it.

Postby Jaminio » Fri May 11, 2018 10:36 am

Hi all,

I'm new to this forum, but have been reading info from it for a number of years. Anyway, despite internet searches and discussions with lawyers in Spain and UK garages I can't get an answer...so pretty sure this subject doesn't get covered much.

Maybe someone here knows where to look for a definitive yes/no answer.

I bought a BMW in Germany and I plan to modify/upgrade it.

Don't think boy racer here - it would be done properly. So better brakes, wheels/tires, suspension and genuine factory sports body basically. Unlikely to add power to it. Also, I was going to change the Auto gearbox to a Manual.

This makes it a better car and safer overall, BUT I've been told doing so may make it impossible to register in Spain as it won't meet what's written down on the CoC form.
In the UK all this is done for many cars all the time without issue, but i've learnt recently that they should (maybe?) have an IVA test done - although when speaking to UK garages/performance shops... no one knows about this. They think it's ok to just tell the insurance company. Apparently not!?

My idea was to register it in the UK and then carry out this work there as know/have access to better mechanics who I trust - I can't find good ones here (dangerous ones are easy to find but that's another story).

So the work would all be done by appropriately skilled people, then the car would be brought to Spain to be registered on Spanish plates.
Before I do this...I'd like to be sure I can get it registered here.
I think when it arrives it will need a special Homologation Engineers report (which costs how much?) and then is (maybe) approved for ITV/registration.

I've been told people don't really modify cars here in Spain, so the system doesn't really understand it. I've been told the ITV is a tick box exercise...not a safety check...

Finally, I was told that if you modify a car in the UK and have it pass the UK IVA test then MAYBE it will be accepted in Spain without further inspections but it's a risk to do all the work on a 'MAYBE'.

What I'd like to find is someone who really knows the rules/regs so I don't fall foul of the law and am able correctly register it here.

Thanks in advance for any help you can give.

Cheers

James

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peteroldracer
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Re: Car modification and legalities of it.

Postby peteroldracer » Fri May 11, 2018 12:42 pm

You would be giving yourself potentially an awful lot of trouble and strife, let alone possibly a lot on money. Would you not do better to simply buy a better car nearer to your desired specification?
I had a friend who built a Cobra replica with a Jag engine etc then brought it here. He had to send the car on a transporter to a specialist engineer in the Basque country, obtain lots of paperwork with official Spanish translations and ended up with a car of little value as it was totally unsuited to the roads in the campo, and the whole exercise took nearly a year. I believe the final bill including plates, the car transporter, plates and so on was in excess of 4000 Euro - and getting it insured was another expensive saga. Maybe there could be better ways to spend your time in Spain?
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Re: Car modification and legalities of it.

Postby El Cid » Fri May 11, 2018 12:56 pm

I agree with Peter. It could turn out to be a complete nightmare.

I can't agree with the comments about the ITV test being a "tick box" exercise. It is getting more difficult all the time. They are now connecting into the car's diagnostic plug to carry out tests. One puff of smoke from the exhaust is now a failure.

As for non standard parts, don't even think about getting a bigger set of wheels and tyres. I know of someone who was failed as he had fitted those little door reflectors as they were not factory fitted.


I'm not saying it can't be done, but I doubt it will be worth the effort and cost.


Sid

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Re: Car modification and legalities of it.

Postby olive » Fri May 11, 2018 1:30 pm

I agree with the others. Buy a suitable spec car and then bring it over. I suspect that the odd one or two modded cars you see here revert to standard spec wheels for their ITV (MOT).

I also agree that the ITV test is fairly rigorous but I have had things pass that would have been a UK fail.

Yesterday I had the dubious joy of moving a Spanish friends car from one part of the campo to another. There were a handful of obvious ITV fails amongst a huge list of dubious items. The best was the dash with loose parts holding switches. In fact two main switches were hanging out loose. He said for the ITV he carefully wedges a piece of dash in place and went to show me the parts but the glove compartment wouldn't open. The boot wouldn't shut. The air bag fitment on the steering wheel was held in place with miles of duct tape. The steering wheel rubber moved on the steering wheel frame. Gear knob broken in half. Seat adjustment gone - permanently on lowest setting.

TorreDelAguila
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Re: Car modification and legalities of it.

Postby TorreDelAguila » Fri May 11, 2018 3:38 pm

Agree with all the above.

Whereas UK is fairly kit-car and modded-car friendly (if you are sensible), Spain really isn't. Even such things as 'standard' VW Beetle beach buggy conversions have been rejected, as there is no conformance standard.

We even had our 1996 Citroen XM initially rejected by the system, because the VIN number - according to ITV Admin - lacked one digit. It didn't . . . the extra EU digit was added between 1996 (when the car was built) and 1998 (when it was first registered). ITV worked on the second date, so, naturally, the digit was 'missing' - and a refusal to accept for test. A letter from Citroen would put everything right, but not as far as Algarrobo was concerned....they dug their heels in and refused again to test it. On advice, the matriculation (plating) test was shifted to Rincon La Cala, where they were delighted to process the car. Subsequent testing has been at Algarrobo; already matriculated, so not a problem!

So, same advice: don't risk it - get hold of a ready-made. As part of the first (matriculation) test, the car will be thoroughly scrutinised and measured, and if it is fitted with significant non-standard parts, it will be rejected.
Last edited by TorreDelAguila on Fri May 11, 2018 4:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Car modification and legalities of it.

Postby costakid » Fri May 11, 2018 4:03 pm

If you fit a tow bar without having it added to the COC it will not pass an itv. Don’t even think of modify a car to your spec.

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Re: Car modification and legalities of it.

Postby costakid » Fri May 11, 2018 4:06 pm

olive wrote:Yesterday I had the dubious joy of moving a Spanish friends car from one part of the campo to another. There were a handful of obvious ITV fails amongst a huge list of dubious items. The best was the dash with loose parts holding switches. In fact two main switches were hanging out loose. He said for the ITV he carefully wedges a piece of dash in place and went to show me the parts but the glove compartment wouldn't open. The boot wouldn't shut. The air bag fitment on the steering wheel was held in place with miles of duct tape. The steering wheel rubber moved on the steering wheel frame. Gear knob broken in half. Seat adjustment gone - permanently on lowest setting.


He is a good friend. Do me favour, drive my wreck of a car for me and if you get stopped you will be fined and not me.

olive
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Re: Car modification and legalities of it.

Postby olive » Fri May 11, 2018 5:38 pm

Not much chance of being stopped by the police here. In ten years havent seen a single police car.

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Re: Car modification and legalities of it.

Postby TorreDelAguila » Fri May 11, 2018 6:33 pm

They're all down here, Olive. Some of them sometimes look quite busy . . . but normally only in the mornings . . . :think:
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Re: Car modification and legalities of it.

Postby Manchesteral » Fri May 11, 2018 6:40 pm

I enquired last year, about bringing a Westfield 7 to Gran Canaria, a friend/aquaintence of mine who is a mechanic here told me not to bother as I would probably end up being sectioned :-)

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Re: Car modification and legalities of it.

Postby Jaminio » Fri May 11, 2018 7:58 pm

Thanks for all the replies, although the news is fairly negative.

@peteroldracer... The car is the specification I want, the only issue is the gearbox. I prefer manual, but couldn't find a good condition low mileage option so bought the auto. Swapping out gearboxes is an easy enough job.

Would changing gearbox config only be possible then? Spanish rules wise?
Maybe if I import the car as is to get it on spanish plates. Then in the future, when the auto box fails I change it to manual for a more reliable unit?

I could leave out the other upgrades, just like working on my toys as maintaining/modifying cars/bikes is a hobby of mine. Have other ways to use my free time of course, this is just one of my interests.

Your friends 4000 euro 'trip' is for sure not one i want to replicate, but it means it is possible at least. Maybe? Could it be a case of the right contacts in Spain?

@El Cid... Not trying to trivialise the ITV as such, but they seem (in my experience) to be following a set of rules regardless of safety etc.
I had just bought a Toyota Hilux which needed an ITV, the car was in great condition but, as the previous owner was a commercial user it had a reverse light which beeped when reverse gear is selected.
Im not a commercial user... so when it beeped in reverse gear for me...it failed the ITV.
I had no idea beeping is unsafe if you're not running a business. I simply pulled the light out, pulled off the wire connected to the buzzer, put the light back in.... and waited 3 hours more for the guy to pass it the second time.

Re wheels, I was actually thinking of smaller wheels (less weight so better handling, braking, accelerating etc) or just leaving them the same. But did hear that for wheels you can get them 'homologated' and then they are allowed... no idea of the cost for this or how to do it mind.

@TorreDelAguila & Manchesteral... Another planned project is to build a Mirage GT kit car when my son is old enough to help... I guess that idea is dead in the water already? Is there no Kit Car scene here in Spain?

@Costakid... A colleague of mine had his towbar fit by the factory (Audi)...his car was bought in Holland and then work moved him here.... he had to angle grind off the towbar as it was part of the chassis before they allowed his car to pass the ITV....then... re weld it by an approved mechanic (who put it back on skewed- less safe) and then passed because paperwork was 'correct'.


ANYWAY..... I do appreciate the replies, just looking for any glimmer of hope...

The car itself is the best option available so not possible to find a more suitable car...I'd just like to improve it in a few areas where the manufacture decided to compromise on components and cut costs...as all cars a built to a cost to sell to the public (to make a profit), they are no way near being the best that is possible.

So I think the plan will have to be to bring the car to Spain as it currently is, then find a mechanic/engineer who works with the Spanish homologation rules.... so does anyone know where to start looking?

Also, If a UK car is modified and is fully legal for use in the UK/Germany, but the Spanish won't accept it... what happens with the 3-6 months allowance for use in Spain? You'd be in a grey zone where you can't register it in Spain but it is roadworthy...
Do you have to take it out of the country (with evidence) and then come back in? If so...not so much of a problem as i do a few trips each year moving motorbikes around for friends.

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Re: Car modification and legalities of it.

Postby El Cid » Fri May 11, 2018 8:21 pm

olive wrote:Not much chance of being stopped by the police here. In ten years havent seen a single police car.

You need to get out more! They are pretty busy here, saw a road block this morning coming off the motorway. Try downloading the “social drive” app for your phone. It tells you where all the speed traps and road blocks are as well as the helicopters. It also shows all the accidents and road closures. It’s real time as the users report all the sightings.

You would be surprised just how active the police are now. They are now buying unmarked motorcycles and drones. They have just spent €6million on new motorbikes which all carry radar traps, breathalysers and even drug testing kits.

They are thinking about following the latest UK idea which is unmarked HGV Cabs with all round cameras to catch people with no belts or using their phones.

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olive
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Re: Car modification and legalities of it.

Postby olive » Fri May 11, 2018 9:54 pm

Social drive sounds good.

A smart phone sounds good

Getting out more sounds good. I will start withGranada tomorrow.

The police have also deployed mobile speed cameras thatgo roadside under the Armco . Thank goodness for adaptive cruise control.

TorreDelAguila
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Re: Car modification and legalities of it.

Postby TorreDelAguila » Sat May 12, 2018 7:29 am

Jaminio,
You shouldn't have an issue with swapping an auto box for manual (or vice-versa), provided it is done so that it appears to be the standard factory item. The car's ficha technica document records basics like size, weight, permitted wheel/tyre sizes, engine type, etc., but not transmission type. ITV checks include spotting non-factory items, so if it's not visible, it almost certainly won't get pulled up.

On fittings like a towbar, it is possible to get an earlier fitting "certificated": there is a simple form (which ITV stations can give you) which allows "the qualified fitter" to certify that the bar was of approved type, properly fitted and by them. The bar needs to carry Approval markings, and you'll need a copy of the manufacturer's Approval certificate. All this more or less rules out fitting by owners themselves, and the fitting of towbars without markings.

With wheels/tyres, the ficha technica (or manufacturer data) will list permitted wheel/tyre sizes, and the specified speed rating of the tyres. On the latter, it is a common source of failure if lesser tyres are fitted. Good tyre fitters will caution you if you ask for such.
Chris

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Re: Car modification and legalities of it.

Postby Devils Advocate » Sat May 12, 2018 8:33 am

As for the kit car comments there are a lot of Spanish plated Caterhams in Spain, and in particular Andalucia. There's even one I see in the Competa area along with a couple of Cobras although the latter I don't recall what plates they are on.

A far better chance of getting a Caterham registered from uk plates to Spanish than a Westfield, probably because a lot more are factory built and have EU type approval. I sold one to France a few years back and it got its ticket there with ease, another I tried to sell there last summer never stood a chance and remained in the UK.
Property owner in Andalucia since 2002. How time flies.

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Re: Car modification and legalities of it.

Postby TorreDelAguila » Sat May 12, 2018 10:22 am

Somewhere on the web (DGT, Veiasa?) there's a list of 'recognised' cars/models for Spain.
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Re: Car modification and legalities of it.

Postby Manchesteral » Sat May 12, 2018 10:59 am

I'm going to attempt to expand this debate with a question that's bothered me for a long time:

Following the many posts on this site regarding cars, itv's, modifications, import rules etc, I understand that there are a number of rules which must be adhered to with regard to importing and using different spec vehicles in Spain, for example another poster has suggested that it may be difficult to bring in and drive certain types vehicle.
My question is this, If I attempt to bring (import) an "unapproved" car to Spain and am rejected, ok, I get that however if as a tourist on say a three week touring holiday I cross the frontier from say France to Spain in my "unapproved" vehicle with suitcases and other tourist paraphanalia, do they apply the same rules ? and if not why not ?
when I was a younger man I often drove through various areas of Europe, mostly Spain and France with few restrictions and certainly the make, model and condition of my car was never a factor !

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Re: Car modification and legalities of it.

Postby TorreDelAguila » Sat May 12, 2018 11:23 am

There is free movement of vehicles across the EU by EU citizens/drivers/owners etc. If vehicles then get 'imported', that's another matter. The EU has very recently ruled that a vehicle test pass in one EU country (eg UK MoT) must be recognised in another member state.

SFAIK, actually driving a vehicle which doesn't have EU type approval on European roads is not an offence in itself, but that vehicle may not be able to be re-registered/matriculated/plated in (some) EU member states, for 'permanent' use there.

Excessive emissions, size, weight or dangerous parts may override all of this, and constitute a moving traffic offence, of course. Massive USA tractor units have been taken off British roads for this reason.

So, as a temporary tourist, from wherever you come, provided that traffic laws are not infringed, local (or EU) type-approval is not an issue. That's my understanding.
Chris

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Re: Car modification and legalities of it.

Postby El Cid » Sat May 12, 2018 1:48 pm

TorreDelAguila wrote:Somewhere on the web (DGT, Veiasa?) there's a list of 'recognised' cars/models for Spain.


This is the official list of car valuations for tax purposes. I think it is probably the definitive list of cars that are available/have been available in Spain.

http://www.boe.es/buscar/doc.php?id=BOE-A-2017-15284

Sid

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Re: Car modification and legalities of it.

Postby TorreDelAguila » Sat May 12, 2018 4:05 pm

That was the list - well done finding that, Sid. :thumbup:
Chris


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