Schmidt, Sethi & Akmajian Blog

Beware Aftermarket Vehicle Modifications

Posted by Dev Sethi | Mar 04, 2022 | 0 Comments

The SEMA Show brings thousands of enthusiasts to Las Vegas each year for a look at aftermarket vehicle modification trends and products. For outdoor adventurers, the Overland Expo, held in every corner of the United States, focuses on customizing vehicles for off the road, and often off the grid, experiences.  Restyling vehicles – modifying their appearance or performance – is a growing business and is booming in popularity. But these aftermarket modifications often result in Frankenstein monster like vehicles that have been cut apart and pieced back together without blueprints, safety specifications, or testing. The modifications often remove essentially, purpose-built safety features and replace them with nothing.

In general, the automotive aftermarket includes vehicle parts, equipment, replacement tires, service repairs, collision repairs, and accessories sold after the sale of the original vehicle. Often the aftermarket parts are not produced by the original equipment manufacturer (OEM), nor are they up to OEM standards. When it comes to the move toward aftermarket modifications, those may include things like lift-kits for Jeeps, SUVs turned into stretch limousines, or vans converted into mini, mobile studio apartments.

Why do aftermarket modifications cause safety issues?

Safety problems result when vehicles are modified from their original design and build specifications because:

  • Aftermarket vehicle builders may not be required to comply with the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards;
  • Many aftermarket fabricators and builders do not have an engineer on staff or have their plans reviewed by an engineer before making modifications;
  • These modified vehicles are never tested, including crash-tested, in their final configuration;
  • Often aftermarket modifiers fail to have a safety department that ensures design and safety compliance, and they lack a standardized process of quality control.


Aftermarket vehicles could include RVs and camping trailers; ambulances and patient transport vehicles; large group transport vans; limousines; conversion vans; wheelchair accessible vehicles. If you have questions or a case that involves a modified vehicle, please contact us at [email protected] or call at 520-545-1663.

About the Author

Dev Sethi

Dev Sethi litigates and tries a wide-range of complex injury and death cases throughout Arizona. He has Martindale Hubbell's highest rating, AV, and he is listed in "Best Lawyers." Dev is also recognized as an Arizona Super Lawyer in the area of plaintiff's products liability litigation.Dev has been at the forefront of auto product defect litigation. He played a key role in uncovering the Goodyear Load Range E tire scandal and worked to hold Ford Motor Company responsible for the danger posed by their now notorious 15-passenger vans. Dev is currently representing families in product liability suits against the nation's largest corporations including General Motors, Ford, Pentair Pools and Invacare.


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