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Safe driving tips

High powered vehicles

High powered vehicle restrictions apply:

  • if you hold a provisional licence and are under the age of 25
  • if you obtained your P1 on or after 4 September 2010
  • if you were disqualified and returned to driving on a P1 licence on or after 4 September 2010.

High powered vehicle restrictions do not apply:

  • if you are 25 years of age or older
  • if you obtained your P1 or P2 licence before 4 September 2010
  • if you have an exemption certificate.

Breaking the rules

The penalty for driving a high powered vehicle includes paying an expiation fine and you will incur demerit points.

Changes to High Powered Vehicles Restrictions

On 1 March 2014, the definition of high powered vehicles changed for vehicles manufactured from 1 January 2010 onwards. This allows all types of vehicles, regardless of the number of cylinders, fuel type, being turbo or super charged, to be driven by provisional licence holders, on the condition that the vehicle power to weight ratio is not greater than 130 kilowatts per tonne in tare mass, and no modification is made to alter engine performance.

For vehicles manufactured before 1 January 2010, a HPV is defined as a light vehicle (GVM 4500kg or less) that has:

  • 8 cylinders or more
  • A turbocharged or supercharged engine (except diesel powered vehicles with less than 8 cylinders), or
  • A vehicle that has been modified to increase engine performance (other than vehicles that have been so modified by the manufacturer in the course of manufacture of the vehicle), or
  • Been nominated as a HPV as listed in the South Australian Government Gazette.

Excluded vehicles - vehicles listed under the list of Vehicles Excluded in the High powered vehicles notice below have turbo charged or supercharged engines for fuel efficiency improvements and therefore are not classified as high performance vehicles.

High powered vehicles notice (PDF 708 KB) (updated April 2015)

For vehicles manufactured on or after 1 January 2010, a HPV is defined as a light vehicle (GVM 4500kg or less) that has:

  • A power to weight ratio greater than 130 kilowatts per tonne in tare mass, or
  • Any modification to vary engine performance (other than vehicles that have been so modified by the manufacturer in the course of the manufacture of the vehicle).

Heads up!

Use the HPV check to find out if a vehicle manufactured in 2010 or later is a high-powered vehicle or download the EzyReg mobile app.

Vehicle modifications to increase engine performance

High powered vehicle restrictions apply to vehicles that have been modified to increase engine performance. The following information may help to determine the type of modifcations that may be included in this definition but may not be exhaustive and should not be taken as a precise interpretation of the law.

Vehicle attributes include:

  • Induction system
  • Fuel system
  • Engine
  • Exhaust system

Note: under no circumstances should any of the above be modified or replaced with parts or components unapproved by the vehicle manufacturer, unless it is deemed essential during routine maintenance or failure rectification, see examples below:

Essential modifications

There may be instances when something fails during the course of its operational life. In these instances the affected parts or systems will need to be modified. Examples:

AllowedAn engine cylinder head with a damaged head gasket will require skimming and the intake and exhaust valves potentially replaced or re-seated. In this instance the cylinder head may be skimmed to the minimum required to provide a flat surface for sealing purposes only, and if valves are replaced they must be of the same diameter and shape as the original part.
Camshafts can wear out prematurely if the lubrication system fails or the incorrect engine oil is used. They may be replaced with original camshafts from the vehicle manufacturer or camshaft that have the same profile i.e. lift and duration as the original design for that vehicle.
ProhibitedAny unnecessary removal or polishing of material either from the cylinder head sealing surface or intake and/or exhaust tracks.
Camshafts that have a higher lift, longer duration (aggressive profile) than the original fitted to the vehicle at the time of manufacture.
Any modifications to the vehicle's computer system with regards to airflow rates, fuel delivery rates or ignition timing etc.

Essential replacements

There may be instances when something fails during the course of its operational life. In these instances the affected part or system will need to be replaced. If a non-original (aftermarket) part is used then it must be a direct replacement for the original and designed to fit within the current housing and/or mounting system and operate within the vehicle manufacturer's specifications. Examples:

AllowedAn exhaust system that is corroded beyond repair must be replaced with either a new original replacement from the vehicle manufacturer or an equivalent non-original (aftermarket) system that meets approval standards for emissions and noise.
Replacing the air filter with a non-original (aftermarket) equivalent is acceptable as long as designed to be a direct replacement and fits correctly within the original air filter housing.
ProhibitedFree flow extractors and/or mufflers and/or the removal of the catalyst (if originally fitted with one).
Any type of induction kit that will increase airflow to the engine above that of the original system.
Replacing the vehicle's computer system with anything other than the original specified by the vehicle manufacturer for that engine.

Exemptions may be approved in special circumstances by completing the Application for Exemption from High Powered Vehicle Restrictions (MR1329 PDF). Your driving offence history, the availability of public transport and of other vehicles that may be available to you will be taken into account when determining your application.

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