Abu Dhabi Police crackdown on modified cars

Abu Dhabi Police crackdown on modified cars

According to the Abu Dhabi Police, owners of modified vehicles, even including those who’ve changed only their exhaust system, have been put on notice as part of a new “awareness campaign” that will crack down on aftermarket-tuned cars.

The initiative will be launched on June 10, and is likely the result of the recent antics perpetrated by the runaway motorist whose accelerator jammed at 160 kph on the Abu Dhabi-Al Ain highway, leading to 45 minutes of police-escorted mayhem. The “defective” car, which was eventually handbraked to a stop, was said to be modified for speed.

According to Gulf News, those caught with “unauthorised” additions or other modifications that may “cause harm to themselves or others” will be given a Dhs 900 fine, while motorists who have modified their exhausts will be fined Dhs 500, and those who have modified their engine “without the correct licence” will be issued a Dhs 400 fine. Drivers who are caught will have their vehicles impounded for a month.

Police say these illegal modifications are a danger due to bad workmanship, leading to dangerous situations such as accidents and fires. Incidentally, Sharjah Police have initiated a similar crackdown on modified cars already, the only difference being that they will not return the confiscated cars. Modified cars are technically banned in Dubai and other Emirates already, but many get around the rules one way or another.

What do you think?



  1. Author

    We anticipated this years ago, which is why we stayed away from modified cars when we went sports-car shopping, even those with just an aftermarket exhaust.

  2. if i have hamman bmw which makes lots of exhaust noise still they will give me fine??????very confused

    • No if it’s from the agency itself they don’t give you any fine. The issue here is people going to cheap garages to modify their cars which ultimately cause faults.

    • What’s the difference between a HAMANN Modified BMW exhaust and a Sharjah Garage exhaust? both of them made “Noise” and it’s what you called “Noise Pollution”! So definitely there’s stil a difference here between the so called “RICH and the POOR”. by the way, i live in JBR. the so called “NOISE” from whoever it is on weekends, barely give me some sleep..

  3. its just a way to create a source of revenue to Dubai…that place is becoming hungry for money day by day

  4. What about the fake rims that almost everyone has nowadays?

  5. Does this also count for SUV’s & Pickups that are modified to enhance their off-road capability?!…I think this will cause a lot of confusion.

  6. I think DriveArabia and other prominent sports car or aftermarket car parts companies, or other car magazines should all help and try to create awareness among authorities regarding modifications of vehicles. What is safe and what is not safe, and should help them so they an establish ground rule and laws. I believe authorities should authorize certain shops that pass their safety regulations to modify vehicles so owners can modifiy with peace of mind.

  7. If it’s illegal to modify one’s car at cheap garages, does it mean there are places where we can do it legally? Can we get a list of places where it can be done legally and how do we obtain permission/get “the correct licence”??

  8. Being an expat, I should expect the authorities to automatically respect the rules and laws of the country. I have a performance exhaust on my car, straight from the agency, however, it is time for it to be replaced. Now, I dread the same.

    The law should never be vague. Because, if it is vague, then there could be misinterpretations all over. A patrol officer may see the car as not too loud and another as too loud. This is why we need specifications, e.g. How many dB in a controlled environment? etc. etc.

    Also, what is not clear is the statement: “without the correct licence”. How does one apply for specific upgrades like a cold air intake and a performance exhaust?

    Also, what is the classification of legal and illegal?

    All I can say that this is a very disturbing piece of news.

    • the action being made by sharjah government is very good but i hope they must make studies first on how punishments will be implemented… by taking cars and no chance given to the owner of correcting the flaws made is totally inhuman not to mention the wide gray area of the law. Imagine if the car is under a bank loan… while Abu Dhabi has intelligent and fair approach when it comes to implementing the law specially regards to the punishment.

    • Tassadar, what is happening in Sharjah is not the right approach to the whole issue. Samething in Abu Dhabi, they are not solving the problem. I mean do they really expect by stopping mods and still leaving mods in a grey area that it will reduce accidents ? The difference is the same cars acceleration is slower but the driver will be able to get up to the same speed in longer period. People will now try to hide the mods with automatic exhaust silencers, hidden turbos, and im sure they will figure out how to hide other mods. What should happen is that they should regulate mods, because some mods are actually safer, and some mods are NO different than dealership modifications done on the same chassis and same car. They need to AUTHORIZE specific garages to carry on with the mods, especially since most available modifications such as RIPP super chargers , KING shocks, engine swap kits, etc….of known companies have been engineered and tested for that specific vehicle. They would not have been approved if it was otherwise. I suggest that companies in the community should push to legalize and regulate modifications with the authorities. Proper Garages, and vendors will be negatively affected by these laws. they need to come together with the community and educate authorities.

  9. I agree 100% with MuscleCar. Rules and laws regarding modifications are extremely vague and a grey area. It all depends on the officers mood. There needs to be proper regulations and properly authorized shops. Instead of a campaign to drivers regarding the hazards of modifications, there should be a counter campaign in which we create awareness to authorities on how to approach this issue and how to create proper guidlines for modifications similar to countries such as US and CANADA.

  10. UAE is a country with a lot of tolerance in several respects, including automotive rules and regulations. However, some do their best to take advantage of the law and cause mayhem, which is why they have decided to be more stringent. We can never deny their efficiency. It may take a while for them to implement clear-cut rules and regulations, and it is only a matter of some time. The new road regulations are just a start towards making the roads in the UAE a safer and better place to drive.

  11. I agree with you Vivek that the UAE is ver tolerant, and it is due to afew individuals who are breaking this tolerance. However even during the tolerant times every single modification enthusiast crossed his fingers when renewing his vehicle because he/she didnt know what is legal and what is not. Plus most of the engineers in muroor, or the traffic employees are not knowledgeable in modifications at all and might not be qualified to judge what is safe or not.A simple solution as i previously mentioned is that the aftermarket industry must make the initiative to speak and educate authorities and help them create proper guidelines, besides it is to the benefit of the industry to legalize mods. Moreover, a simple way is to authorize certain garages to do modifications. That is a simple yet effective solution.

  12. What if I modified my car from .. let’s say I have a VW Golf GTI and I modified my car from a very well known company like ABT?

    I remember I saw a video about a Nissan Patrol modified by HKS (official company) but it was in Japan .. I wonder if HKS parts are accepted here as well.

  13. what cold air intake?? coz its the only thing in my car changed..
    even many officers dont know much about car mods coz couple of months back a police caught a car of my friend n thought cold air intake to be a turbo..

  14. It’s legal to modify cars from certified aftermarket brands. Illegal is applied to those cars that are modified by cheap garages who aren’t licensed or qualified to carry out performance modifications. In addition to modding cars with dangerous things such as flamethrower kits and backfire spark plugs which aren’t part of a professional modification brand.
    I live in Fujairah and there are many garages that secretly offer flamethrower kit installations.

  15. ok seriously
    this is now going too far

    sharjah are ufff ! they pass the law gave no time to remove exhaust and impounded cars the next morning itself !!

    abu dhabi
    the capital of UAE

    obviously doing what they want ….

    dubai are good comparatively

    but what the authorities should see it

    my air filter increased my mileage
    and exhaust decreased the CO produced !

    over all i have XENON lights never got fined in uae
    BUT SHJ wow they need to grow some brains!

    they call it lancer
    but what i have is an LANCER EVOLUTION

    some things idiots wont know the difference !

  16. Better delete that post dafuq or they coming for u too for insulting in public forum. It’s for real.

  17. Does that mean that I can’t put bigger alloys in my car ??
    WTH is that !

  18. The thing is this is only the way to produce revenue modified cars are illegle what about lamborgini,ferrari,GTR skyline,and there are so many other brands car have stock noisey sound. and i have seen so many locals have noisey sound cars what about them.in sharja i have seen police give fine only poor peoples like pakistani,indians,bangladish,and etc but they dont fine locals, before they apply the law on out siders they should have apply on their local first, and as well as they should give awearness their police they dont even know properly about the law and also they cant even speck properly. no problem Allah is wathing them and they will hit very soon Inshallah such as they allready been hited by the crices.

    • Well dear Faisal, let me clear you the misconception about not fining the locals and fining the expats. I am from Al Ain and I do have a lot of interaction with locals. The most fine locals gets no one else gets that much. One of my local friend Nissan Patrol was impounded for a month, reason? Loud Noise. Speeding fines, Locals top them.
      When it comes to mod, it depends how much and what is modified?. With Great Power comes Great Responsibility. The suggestions given by other readers are fair enough. For exhaust system!! ofcourse the patrol officer should have “dB” gauge . The government should define the allowed dB reading.. Above that reading, you should be fined.
      Most smart phones can have the application which detects the sound strength in dBs.
      I have a Mustang GT 2008, planning to modified it with Borla S-Type Cat back. Ofcourse I won’t throttle it in the city roads.

  19. guys…. is a “cold air intake” say by k&n/injen/takeda legal in dubai?

  20. oh btw….i got fined 200 dhs for having aftermarket daytime running leds(DRLs).How unsafe can that be?And the whole idea of having drls is for safety if i’m not mistaken.I argued with the cop for like 15 mins trying to explain that this is supposed to be for safety and every car has them these days & he like no i dunt care….its aftermarket….end of topic!

  21. They should make a DO and DONTs list so that we can know what is legal. I heard even racing stripes are not allowed. But not sure if its true or not.

    • Racing Stripes are illegal.
      They fine you marking it as trying to change color/appearance of vehicle. My friend got fined in AbuDhabi once. After which he went and got the design approved from RTA for a minimal fee. Now its legal & he has the papers to show he has them approved!

  22. got a G37.

    i respect the law pay my fines everytime i get fined.

    planning to get K&N cold air Typhoon intake.

    Borla/Magnaflow exahust

    and Ceramic brakes.

    all the while im not touching the body to make it look in anyway moded….

    cops would get suspicious when you DRIVE like an idiot and do foolish things on the high way and inner sub roads.

    obay the law of driving and you have nothing to worry about.

    however, after all the modes i think i would require taxis to head to Sharjah…

    my point is dont be too loud in your driving and i dont think you have a problem, want to mode then handle the concequense i know i am.


  23. I got a challenger 2012 im planning to change the stock exhaust into something like magnaflow or flowmaster which wont make tht much noise on the roads. Do i need permission from the dubai RTA for this?? The other option i hve to cvhange my exhaust is through the showroom for which ill hve to pay 13000 dhs to get the system from them once i do it from the showroom they will give me an authorisation letter then the cops cant fine me. But this is too expensive for me. Any suggestion

  24. I have a question. We are planning to buy a Toyota Hilux in our company name. Since it will be used for a maintenance purposes, we want to put a fence on the open space at the back of the pickup. Do we need a permission from Police or Municipality?

  25. is it true that we can take approval on modifications from the police/cid.. and if they give approvals. on what kind of modifications do they approve???

  26. i hav abu dhabi licenced plate , i want to change colour of my car so do i need to go to abu dhabi vehical testing center or i cant get the permission in rta dubai ? do i neeed to go to abudhabi or it can be done in dubai it self ?
    becz i stay in dubai !!!

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