After my IU power re-wiring, my motorcycle could now rest for more than 6 weeks without starting up and the battery is still good for firing up the engine. I’m happy now. However, in the meantime, I’ve received several well-meaning advise from fellow motorcycle riders that such a modification – the re-wiring of the power of the IU to only come on when the ignition is turned on – is not allowed / illegal under the Singapore Land Transport Authority (LTA) rules.
I tried searching online to find out if there is any truth in this. But search as I might, I couldn’t find any official rule or law stating whether this modification is legal or not. LTA does publish a list of allowable and non-allowable (illegal) modifications one can perform on their private vehicle, but the IU power wiring was stated nowhere. The only “sources” (if I could even call it a proper source) that I found were forum postings of people discussing the legality of the modification. There were even some forumers who claimed that LTA informed them that the modification makes the vehicle illegal and will fail the (required) annual inspection when brought in to one of the inspection centres.
Honestly, unless the government’s goal is to be “big brother” and wants to track the vehicle 24/7 (if that is even possible with the current generation of IU units), I cannot phantom why such a re-wiring – for the purpose of conserving battery on a lightly used vehicle – would be illegal. So, not satisfied and not wanting to get into any legal trouble with the authorities, I wrote in to LTA and enquired.
Quite quickly, I received a response from them – through a phonecall. And this is what I found out:
- The re-wiring of the IU to only power on when the vehicle’s ignition is turned on is NOT illegal.
- Such a configuration WILL NOT FAIL the annual inspection required of the motorcycle. In fact, testing of the IU is not even part of the annual inspection requirement.
- Following point (2), it is NOT EVEN NECESSARY to have an IU unit installed onto the vehicle if you do not intend to utilise roads that have electronic road pricing active (although it will be highly inconvenient – especially when using ERP-style carparks in Singapore.)
So how then does this notion of it being an illegal or not-allowable modification come about?
The answer lies in the warranty of the unit. The IU units are manufactured by a third party manufacturer, and comes with a 5 (FIVE) year warranty. Amongst others, one of the condition for this 5-year warranty to be valid – as prescribed by the manufacturer – is that the IU must be connected directly to the battery of the vehicle.
So, if for any reasons, you need to have your IU inspected (not to be confused with the vehicle inspection), and that the wiring is performed in such a manner that it is not connected directly to the battery, this IU inspection will fail and the warranty (if any) will be disqualified. Simply means, you’d need to fork out $150+GST to buy a new unit if your existing unit is found faulty (failed IU inspection).
In summary, go ahead and make that wiring modification – it is NOT illegal. The LTA officers will not harass you, and the Traffic Police will not harass you, and you certainly will not fail your annual vehicle inspection because of this re-wiring as it is not even an inspection item.
Note, that **you will lose your warranty** by doing so though.
But then again, if I ever have to send my IU for an inspection, wiring it back to the battery will leave absolutely no trace of the modification.