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UK firm fitting ‘pop bang’ aftermarket exhausts fined in landmark court case

A successful court action against a workshop advertising and fitting non-standard exhaust parts is ‘a lesson for businesses’ from the DVSA

MINI Hatch exhaust

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) has won a crucial first court victory that will be music to the ears of anyone bothered by rowdy exhaust noises on the street.

In what has been described as the first case of its kind, the DVSA says it has won an action brought against a Kirklees firm called AET Motorsport for fitting an “unsuitable part to a vehicle which would make it illegal to be used on the road”. 

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The magistrates in the case handed down a conviction and an order for fines and costs totalling £7,234, after finding the firm guilty of fitting what it termed a “Pop and Bang Remap Software Upgrade” to a vehicle belonging to a customer.

According to the DVSA, an investigation by its Market Surveillance Unit into the West Yorkshire company found it had been “openly advertising illegal alterations to vehicles likely to be used on the road.” Specifically, it says, the firm carried out work to remove a catalytic converter on a car, and also modified its ECU software to increase the exhaust noise levels.

The DVSA points out that removing the catalytic converter and replacing it with a so-called ‘delete pipe’ immediately rendered the vehicle illegal for road use. Its investigators booked a car into AET Motorsport to have the conversion work carried out, and said that at no time did anyone at the company warn that the vehicle was no longer road legal and would fail an MoT.

Subsequent DVSA testing revealed the ‘Pop and Bang Remap’ had been effective, as it directly caused an increase in noise emissions that put the car over the legal limit.

During sentencing, the magistrates told the company that this case was rightly brought by DVSA and it’s a lesson that any business owner has an obligation to know what the law is. 

The court victory is likely to be welcomed by the large numbers of UK drivers who recently told the RAC they supported new ‘noise cameras’ being trialled here by the Department for Transport. Police are currently able to issue £50 on-the-spot fines for exhaust noise offences.

Christopher Dormand, DVSA’s Head of the Market Surveillance Unit, said: “DVSA’s Market Surveillance Unit ensures vehicles, vehicle parts and vehicle accessories sold in the UK meet required specifications and are safe for people to buy. This investigation shows DVSA takes this activity seriously and we will continue to take strong action on offenders,” he warns.

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Current affairs and features editor

Chris covers all aspects of motoring life for Auto Express. Over a long career he has contributed news and car reviews to brands such as Autocar, WhatCar?, PistonHeads, Goodwood and The Motor Trader.

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