Torque shop

I was thinking of modifying my car's engine to enjoy more power. But I was told that modifying the engine is against the law and the car's roadworthiness certification may be revoked during the mandatory regular inspection. Why do the authorities disallow engine modification?

Every car that is imported into Singapore undergoes a homologation procedure as in most countries, which is when the manufacturer's specifications are verified.

Manufacturers spend millions of dollars designing, testing and producing a car model. Every component is ideally suited to the rest of the assembly and, as a whole, the car satisfies performance, safety and environmental regulations that are internationally recognised.

As far as power output is concerned, car engines are not built to their maximum potential. Hence, it is possible to make certain modifications to extract more power.

However, any modification must have technical documents through an accredited organisation and subsequently meet the approval of the authorities.

The problem with extracting more power is the added stress brought about by the increased performance, especially when this was not considered by the carmaker at the design stage.

Every dynamic component begins to experience increased stress in the form of torque, force or friction, which will affect the transmission, brakes, suspension and even the engine's own lubrication and cooling systems.

Most critically, the brakes and suspension may not be able to cope with the increased acceleration and speed, directly compromising safety. Other components may wear out faster too.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 03, 2017, with the headline 'Torque shop'. Print Edition | Subscribe