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Is It Legal To Build Your Own Car?

is it legal to build your own car

Almost everyone has their vision of their dream car, especially if you are a car enthusiast. Yes, there are many respectable car manufacturers out there who build jaw-dropping vehicles. But if you want your car to stand out,  a self-made car would be your best bet. Yes you heard right, build your own car!

But the question is, would it be legal to do so? And even if you made one, can you drive it out in public?

The Legality of Building a Car

So is it legal to build your own car? To put it simply, yes, you can build your own car, especially in most western countries like the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada. The most important thing you’d need to look out for is if your car has passed all the safety requirements.

Your car will also need to pass the emission regulations and go through to the right authority for the necessary inspection. You can find plenty of car kits available in the market to get you started with your project. But do thorough research regarding car height, seat belts, bumpers, crash beams, etc., to ensure everything goes smoothly.

Can You Drive Your Self-Made Car?

Now, this is the most important question. What good would your car be if you can’t drive it outside your garage? Fortunately, you can drive your car without government interference if you do so only on your private property. But you’ll need to ensure that you fenced your property to separate it from public and other private properties. You won’t even need a license if you are on private land.

But if you wish to drive your car on public roads, you’ll need to ask your government’s permission because they need to ensure that your car is no threat to public property and human lives.

Typically, all they’ll ask from you is to obtain a car license, registration, and certification. So the government can permit you to drive your self-made car. 

Some Steps You’ll Need To Make When Making Your Car

Building a car will have its own set of problems. You could be working on a badly damaged sedan or an old SUV. But what’s essential is the bond you’ll make with your car because that is what will give you passion in creating it.

Nonetheless, you’ll still need to follow some steps to start your project.

Set a Goal

Without the proper goals, you might spend time and money not achieving desired results. Since it will take some time to finish your project, planning would be the best approach.

Decide the purpose of your car first. Is it for city roads or off-road? Do you just want a good-looking car? Or value performance more? Have you decided on what the final look is? Answering these questions will give you a clear path on your project.

Choose the Right Car

Once you have thought of everything, you can now choose what type of car you want. But if this is your first build, it would be best to try using iconic models to give you some experience without too much hassle and costs. Parts of discontinued ones are hard to find, and classic models can be expensive.

Ensure there isn’t any rust or corrosion when you buy your model. Corroded and rusted models can sometimes be hard to restore.

Plan Out the Phases

As was said, building your car can take some time, which can be overwhelming, especially if you have other things going on in your life. So, to make it a little easy for yourself, it would be best to build your car in stages to reduce complications. You can start working on simple tasks first. And then move on to the next phase. Seeing the changes you made, even small ones, will motivate you to finish your project.

Budget Realistically

Your budget is essential if you want to make your car, which can include maintenance and other future modifications. While there’s nothing wrong with being optimistic, try to be realistic to avoid disappointments. It can be highly demotivating to work on something you can barely afford.

So plan your budget accordingly to prepare yourself for worst-case scenarios. Building project cars can cost more than what you previously estimated. Besides the engine, bodywork, and car transmission system, small expenses can also add up.

Seek Guidance

You may be a car enthusiast, but you’ll need mechanical and technical knowledge if you want to build your car. If this is your first project, it would be best to get some ideas and inspiration from people who have the right knowledge and experience. 

Remember, you don’t have to do everything on your own. You are not a one-man-machine-shop. Sometimes asking for help from experts will help you save time and money, ensuring that no mistakes will happen. 

If you are adamant about doing everything on your own, seeking guidance from other sources like technical manuals should give you the right amount of knowledge to finish your project. There is also plenty of information available on the internet, like videos of people doing the same thing you want.

Get the Right Tools

A craftsman is nothing without his tools. So you’ll need the right ones if you want to finish your project. 

So, below are some of the possible tools you’ll need to make your car:

  • Screwdriver set
  • Hammer
  • Pliers and cutters
  • Socket and wrench set
  • Hydraulic jack
  • Spanners and adjustable wrenches
  • Diagnostic scanner (obd scanner)
  • Digital multimeter

Learn the Laws Regarding Self-Made Cars

Not every place will have the same laws on self-made cars. Each will have various tests regarding your car safety before you can drive it in public. So study them carefully to ensure your self-made car can pass all of them.


Building a car can give you flexibility on what modifications you want to install. But you can’t just wake up one day and start building. You will need careful planning and thorough research to start and finish this project. And this includes laws. So if you know anyone who wants to build a car, share this article to let them know what to expect.

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