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A car customisation trend has caught on of late, and is becoming more common – “body wrap” or full body stickers that effectively gives the car a new colour, whether gloss or matte. Some wraps even give the car a livery, and some cars become a canvas for airbrushed art. The limits are endless, really.

But is the practice legal in the eyes of the authorities? We pose the main question (and some supplementary ones) to the director of the JPJ’s automotive engineering department, Datuk Mohamad Dalib.

Yes, it’s legal, provided the new colour is declared to JPJ. “The first thing that needs to be put clear is: are these vehicles declared (to JPJ) after the colour change? Every change to a vehicle has to be reported to the nearest JPJ office within seven days. If it is declared, it doesn’t matter what colour is used,” he explained.

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Now, how does one declare his car’s new colour? Owners will need to furnish a notice letter on the colour change, along with the vehicle’s original registration card (geran), to JPJ for the department to update its records. If the owner uses a representative or runner, an extra verification letter is needed. It is better for the owner to show up himself. More info on the declaration process can be found at JPJ offices.

If the car’s new skin is multi-coloured or has various tones, which colour should the owner declare? The key is to determine the dominant colour, one that covers 60% of the car body. Each time a car “changes its skin”, it has to be declared to JPJ. Matte and chrome wraps are also legal, but there’s a question of whether the latter is safe, such as when sunlight reflects off the surface.

What if the owner fails to declare the new colour of his car? According to Mohamad Dalib, this is illegal and will only inconvenience the owner. “For example, if your car gets an AES summons and your car colour differs from the colour listed in JPJ’s records, you will be waiting for two summonses – one for speeding and another for changing the colour of your car without permission.”

Another potential problem is with insurance. “If a car gets into an accident, and the insurance company finds out that the car’s colour is different from the original colour, there’s a big possibility that it won’t bear the costs involved,” the JPJ man added.

So there you have it, a green light from the JPJ. Go ahead and personalise your ride, but remember to declare your car’s flashy new colour with the authorities.