Can I Modify My Car If I Have Car Finance?
Picture a ‘modified car’: what comes to mind is flashy race car seats, huge wheels, gold or multicoloured paint jobs, and eye-catching rims… But modifying your car can come down to some very subtle changes like upgrading your stereo, or installing LED headlights. So, you’re wondering what you’re allowed to modify on your financed car, even if it’s not something outrageous. Let’s find out: can I modify my car on finance? 🤔
Can You Modify Your Car on HP or PCP Finance
You’ve got a car on finance, and now you’re looking into making a few adjustments to personalise your car. You’re thinking: can you modify a car on finance in the UK? We get it, it’s great to feel like you’re making it your own. However, most often, if you take a deeper look at your car finance agreement in detail, you might notice that your loan provider won’t accept any modifications.
Think about it - with most car finance deals, including HP and PCP you won’t actually truly own the car until your final repayment amount has been made and you’ve settled the entire loan. With this in mind, it’s easier to understand the lender’s perspective. When you modify your can before you’ve finished paying for it, you’re essentially modifying your lender’s property.
Until it’s fully paid for, your car will be considered as “collateral”, i.e. the loan is secured against the car itself, so if you stop paying all of a sudden, your finance provider has the right to take the car back. And that’s why they don’t want you to make any modifications, because that will have altered the actual value of the car.
So, in most cases, whether it’s brand new or second-hand, if the car was purchased through car finance, it has to stay as is and without changes to its original parts.
What if the Modifications Increase the Car’s Value?
If the changes you’ll make to the car will actually increase the value, then that should be advantageous to the car finance company, right? Well, it’s not that simple. When you upgrade parts of the car, be it performance upgrades or aesthetic changes, it might be more powerful or more beautiful than it was.
However, there lies the problem. The car finance company will end up having a hard time calculating the value of the vehicle now that it has been modified. Also, since the car is no longer in its original state, the number of potential buyers could be reduced, because you’ve modified it based on your personal preferences.
What Is Considered to Be a Modification?
This is actually a pretty tough question. The true definition of vehicle modification is a change made to a car to make it different than the manufacturer's original factory specification. Modifications alter the appearance or performance of your car. All in all though, modifications can be considered as so many different things. The bottom line is that you should check with your car finance provider before you make any decisions surrounding modification, so that you can be confident you’re not violating any rules. Some examples of car modifications include:
- Changes to your car’s exhaust system
- Alterations of transmissions or gearboxes
- Installation of turbos or superchargers
- Amendments of wheel arches
- Changes in light (normal to LED for example)
- Replacement of brakes
- The tinting of windows
- Racing seat or bucket seat installation
- Any alteration of the dashboard
- Air filter upgrades
- Amendments of the wheel arches or body kit
- The addition of spoilers
- The change of suspension
- The installation of a sunroof
- The alteration of the air conditioning system
- Altered or specialised paint work
- The fitting of alloy wheels
- The addition of a tow-bar and/or battery upgrades
- Upgraded stereos, screens, or software
Why It’s Important to Always Check Your Contract
Whenever you have questions regarding your car, always refer to your finance contract, especially if it could impact the value of your car or even incur penalties. Don’t be afraid to ask the lender if you can make changes to the car. It’s important that you can communicate well with them. If you have something in mind, consult with the car finance company and explain to them what you intend to do. This will give you the chance to hear the answer straight from them, so you don’t have to do any guessing.
Even before you actually buy the car, you can already ask the lender about the possibility of doing modifications, especially if you have something in mind. There’s no harm in doing this because it can prevent you from breaking any rules on your contract in case the lender says that there shouldn’t be any changes at all to the vehicle.
If you are still thinking, "If I finance a car can modify it?" you might be wondering if there is a way around this problem. Well if you can secure a personal loan which is unconnected to the car - that is it's not a loan secured against the car then the car is yours to own from day one. But be aware personal loans can be higher interest rates and also you will need an excellent credit score to be successful in getting one.
Car modification while under a finance contract is a tricky thing. To be on the safe side, it’s best not to make any changes to the car until you’ve made the final payment and the car is completely yours. However, if it’s really important to you, you can always have a chat with your finance provider about the modification you have in mind.
Modifications made on the car while it’s still being paid off may result in a dispute between you and the lender. It’s possible that the car finance company will demand that you pay for the car in full within 14 days. They may also repossess the vehicle if you cannot meet their demand for full payment.
So, to be sure about everything you do to the financed car, ask your lender first. It’s a small step to take to avoid the consequences of violating your car finance agreement.
Here at Carmoola, we’re car finance specialists and we love helping people get their dream cars. So naturally, you can come to us to discuss any modifications you’re thinking about. We’re open 24/7, so we’re always available for a chat. Car finance doesn’t have to be a headache-incurring nightmare, it can be fun, personalised, and freeing. Download Carmoola today!