The desire for tuning: consistently exhausting all legal possibilities


The desire for tuning: consistently exhausting all legal possibilities


Tuning has almost become a popular sport. In the classic categories of speed, styling, and power, almost any means will do to get you noticed. Whether it's an elaborate increase in displacement, special chameleon paint jobs, a bubbling sports exhaust or, say, super-light carbon crankshafts: the main thing is that your own vehicle is really pimped out.

The investments often run into the tens of thousands for passionate tuning fans. However, if speed freaks and hard-core mechanics do not adhere to the rules, frustration instead of pleasure is the result.

Official approval for equipment components

Even with individual tuning, however, rules must be observed. Everything that pleases is far from being allowed. This is then also explicitly formulated in the Road Traffic Licensing Regulations (here: § 22 a StVZO) analogously. Accordingly, certain equipment components of a vehicle must generally conform to an officially approved design type. No question about it, but it makes sense.

Because certain parts often have an elementary influence on the general traffic safety of a car or a vehicle. Tuning experiments are therefore out of place here, as the risks would increase with regard to the danger to drivers, passengers and other road users.

Tires, headlights and co.: Nothing works without an official test mark

According to the legislator, headlights, tires, films for windows, frontal protection systems as well as lights and bulbs are precisely those components that have an influence on safety. Therefore, these parts may only be offered, sold or purchased for use in public road traffic if an official test mark is available.

Whoever violates this legal requirement, acts according to § 69 a StVZO against the regulations. Here it is important to weigh up exactly which tuning parts are used. In any case, it is advisable to find out explicitly in advance what the situation is with regard to the planned conversions.

Tuning example Xenon headlights: Get tips from experts

Retrofitting with Xenon headlights, for example, can have fatal consequences. If, for example, only xenon bulbs are inserted into the original headlight bulb holder, this is an illegal procedure.

And this will inevitably lead to the expiration of the respective operating license. In fact, the basic rule here is: According to STVZO, a xenon retrofit basically requires that the new headlight has the appropriate approval, the xenon light has been tested, appropriate xenon burners are installed and an automatic headlight range adjustment and a headlight cleaning system have been retrofitted. On topic-specific pages of renowned companies, such as on, tips and advice on this subject can be accessed at any time.

Operating license may expire with certain modifications

If modifications are to be made to a vehicle as part of a comprehensive tuning, it is always essential to check the extent to which the modification affects the operating permit. Because certain changes can lead to the expiry of the operating permit. However, a vehicle may no longer participate in public road traffic without an operating license. Thus, an operating license expires whenever ..

… the type of vehicle has changed,

… a traffic hazard is possible resp. are to be expected,

… the noise and exhaust behavior has worsened,

… no acceptance according to § 19 StVZO has taken place.

ABE parts have a special status – note special cases

However, if the newly installed components have a type approval (§ 22 a StVZO) or a type approval (§ 22 a StVZO), this is not required. via a German or EU-wide operating permit, the respective tuning parts can be used legitimately. The so-called ABE parts have a special status here. Vehicle parts with this designation have a general operating license.

Therefore, these ABE parts may be both installed and used without the need for an approved expert to give them an extra or. individually decreases. It is important that the corresponding ABE papers are always carried along when driving. However, there is a special case to consider. If changes or modifications are to be expected as part of tuning measures, the insurance company must be informed. If the chassis is modified or if special aerodynamic components are used, an additional inspection by an expert is always required after installation.

Combination of parts may require official approval

The same applies if there is a combination of different ABE parts. Also in such a case often an acceptance obligation is triggered. If, for example, new wheels are installed together with a sports steering wheel, difficulties can arise in this constellation, as the steering forces can change decisively. In principle, all extensions or conversions that are approved by an expert are entered in the vehicle registration document. Then the tuning conversions no longer have any influence on the vehicle operating permit.

Also inform the insurance company of tuning measures

In addition, it is strongly recommended that the car insurance company also be informed of any tuning measures that have taken place. Without appropriate information, the insured runs the risk that in the event of an insurance claim, benefits will be denied or at least limited.

The reason for this is simple: if the risk situation changes due to tuning measures, the insurance company then also adjusts the premium to the new circumstances. Without information about the changes to the vehicle, this adjustment is not possible, so then the performance of the respective insurer is also in question. In practice, insurance companies have drivers or. Owners who did not report the tuning done to the insurance company are consistently held liable due to the increase in risk.

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