Can I Make My Car ULEZ Compliant?

Can I Make My Car ULEZ Compliant?

The ULEZ or ultra-low emission zone was expanded in August 2023, to include all of the areas of Greater London. This change affected millions of drivers in the city, meaning they will have to pay a daily charge or replace their vehicles.  

As the ULEZ restrictions are based on emissions, we set out to ask if it’s possible to make your car ULEZ-compliant and if it’s even worth the hassle. 

What is the ULEZ Charge? 

To drive in the ULEZ, you’ll need to pay a fee of £12.50 per day. Charges are operated all year round and 24 hours a day. The one exemption is 25th December; Christmas day, where both the ULEZ and Congestion charges are waived. 

The charging periods run from midnight to midnight, meaning if you drive in a zone from 23:45, until 00:15, you will be charged twice. 

What cars are affected by the ULEZ Expansion? 

In essence, most petrol cars produced before 2006, and most Diesel cars made before 2015 will be subject to ULEZ fees. EVs and hybrids are all except, and drivers who hold a ‘blue badge’ are afforded a grace period until 2017. 

For more info on what cars and why are affected, read our extensive guide on ULEZ-affected cars 

There are some changes you can make to your car, but for the majority of drivers in the UK, there is no cost-effective way to make your car ULEZ-compliant, but the story is different for vans. 

How can I check if my car is ULEZ-compliant? 

Thankfully there are more definitive ways to check if your car is compliant than having to check its emission or Euro status.  

TFL has an online checking service, where you enter your registration plate and receive information on what charges you will have to pay. Click here to check if your car is ULEZ-compliant.  

How to avoid paying ULEZ charges 

If your car is not compliant, there isn’t much you can do, but there are a few options for alternative transport, check out our guide here for more information.

Can I Make My Car ULEZ Compliant? 

Unfortunately, there are no approved ULEZ modification methods available that don’t require costly emissions testing afterwards. 

As the ULEZ restrictions are based around a car's emissions, and these can be improved by way of modification, you might think it possible to make your car ULEZ-compliant but our experience in garages has taught us otherwise. It’s not worth trying to make your car ULEZ-compliant unless you have a lot of money to spare. 

Can I Make my Van ULEZ Compliant? 

If your van has a diesel engine and is Euro 5 rated, you may be able to modify it to be compliant. 

Bespoke modifications such as installing DPF systems can reduce the emissions enough to be below the ULEZ standard, but the van would need extensive testing to formally re-classify it.  

However, there is a scheme set up by the government called the Clean Vehicle Retrofit Accreditation Scheme or CVRAS. This body approves systems for retrofitting older vehicles to reduce their emissions without needing subsequent emissions testing after. 

To find out if your van is eligible, check out the CVRAS site here. 

How much does it cost to make my van ULEZ-compliant?  

If your van can be fitted with a CVRAS-approved system, it is likely to cost £6,000 and upwards.  

So, unless your van is indispensable due to other modifications or features, it may still be worth replacing it entirely.  

Will an LPG system make my car ULEZ-compliant?  

LPG or liquid petroleum gas is an alternative fuel for petrol cars, it requires a separate gas tank to be installed and some modification of the car’s fuel injection system. Unfortunately, LPG systems do not reclassify your car's emissions standard, and as such will not make a vehicle ULEZ compliant. 

LPG can however enable a reduction in road tax rate (VED) and reduce fuel costs. However, installation costs of such a system would be more than £1,500 so there would be some calculations needed to assess viability.  

Can I Make My Old Car ULEZ-compliant? 

Unfortunately, the story is much the same with older cars too, both petrol and diesel. There are no CVRAS-approved systems on the market currently. But, depending on the age of your car, it might already be ULEZ-exempt.  

Cars that are 40 years old qualify for historic classification with the DVLA, and as such are exempt from having to pay road tax (VED) or ULEZ charges. 

So that’s the roundup on making your car ULEZ compliant, with the unfortunate answer for most being that it just isn’t worth it. There are other ways to avoid the daily ULEZ fee, such as taking public transportation and upgrading your car, for some ideas on what ULEZ car to buy, check our guide here

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