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Québec Hellaflush Guidelines and the Future of Eurokracy

 

As many have recently heard, the Québec government road transport division SAAQ has published an article titled Hellaflush where it outlines not only what “Hellaflush” means, but what qualifies as an illegal modification to your car.

Published without any public discussion, this new guideline is ruffling a lot of feathers both locally and around the world.

You can read the original article herehttp://www.saaq.gouv.qc.ca/securite_routiere/vehicules_technologies/hellaflush/index.php

Roughly translated into English, it states:

Hellaflush

Hellaflush is an aesthetic practice achieved at the expense of handling and maneuverability of a vehicle. This is a method which comprises:

1. The lowering of the suspension of a vehicle;
2. Installation of oversized wheels and higher than the original offset rims;
3. The mounting of tires that are too narrow for the rim (stretching).

These changes, which affect the suspension geometry of the vehicle, are usually observed by the presence of exaggerated negative camber. Here is an overview of the main changes resulting from Hellaflush and why this practice is prohibited.

Changes to the suspension geometry

The majority of vehicles have anomalies caused by the adjustment of suspension. Indeed, the adjustment of camber is not recommended on several vehicle models, making it impossible to align the wheels of the vehicle according to the manufacturer’s specifications. To compensate, the suspension has to work outside the range for which it was designed, reducing the handling and stability of the vehicle and the area of contact with the road.

Changing the geometry of the suspension of a vehicle reduces its maneuverability and safety. Furthermore, it is prohibited to use suspension components too rigid or with insufficient travel. It is also forbidden to modify a vehicle to the point where the tires touch a vehicle component or part of the vehicle body touches the road in normal driving conditions.

Stretched tires

Tire manufacturers set the size of the wheels can be used for each type of tire to ensure optimum performance and safety. It is forbidden to use a combination rims and tires that do not meet the manufacturer’s recommendations, as this practice is dangerous and undermines the safety of all road users for several reasons.

Thus, a bad combination wheels and tires:

1. Causes bending of the tire in places that are not designed to support it. Like stretching interferes with the natural movement of the sidewall and the tread, the tire must withstand high stress that can cause an increase in the rubber temperature;
2. Reduces the contact area between the road and the tire, reducing road grip and deteriorating road behavior;
3. Increases the risk of tire failure and the tendency of the tire to come off of the rim;
4. Increases the risk of deformation of the inner side of the tire (not visible from the outside), which can lead to its destruction;
5. Accelerates the deterioration of the tire due to an overload on a tire load rating, resulting in a rapid and non-uniform tread wear.
The use of flammable or very high pressures to seat a tire on a rim assembly techniques are not recommended because they are very dangerous and can cause permanent damage to the tire. The manufacturer’s recommended tire pressure is visible on its side.

Did you know that some insurance companies will not compensate their client when it is shown that the vehicle has been modified with non-compliant components? For your safety and that of others, follow the recommendations for tire manufacturers to avoid tragic consequences. Remember that your tires are your only contact with the road.

Increasing a rim’s offset (offset) generally increases the stresses in the suspension components and steering. The space inside the wheel is limited by the mechanical components (suspension, steering, braking system, etc.), the excess is pushed out, hence the need to increase the offset rim. However, this increases the leverage between the wheel and its bearings as the wheel is farther away from its usual fulcrum. These additional constraints will eventually change the camber of the axles, decrease vehicle stability and accelerate tire wear and other operating components.

The use of wider wheels may require modification to the bodywork. To avoid this, some will install a narrow tire stretched to the maximum. Also, the installation of a rim that exceeds the fender, while the tire tread remains inside is dangerous.

Obviously, this practice is prohibited because road vehicles shall be equipped with tires according to established standards. For more information, see your tire vendor manufacturer or the website of the Tire and Rim Association.

What does this mean for me?

For the 9 months out of the year when you are legally allowed to have summer tires on your car you will no longer be legally allowed to have excessively stretched tires, extremely high offset wheels, massive amounts of negative camber, or ridiculously lowered suspensions. Possessing any of these components can earn you a one way ticket to an inspection station where you may, or may not be forced to revert back to stock specs.

Furthermore, an insurance company can now legally refuse to compensate an owner of an illegally modified vehicle based on the new SAAQ guidelines if he or she has an accident.

What can we do to change this?

It’s important to call the media and your local representatives and make them aware of your position on the subject. Only an active and informed public can counter ignorance, and it’s all of our jobs to make sure that everyone is informed about the impact that these new guidelines will have to our economy via tourism and investing in local businesses.

Cabinet of the Minister of Transport :

700, boul. René-Lévesque Est,
29e étage
Québec (Québec) G1R 5H1
Telephone: 418 643-6980
Fax: 418 643-2033

500, boul. René-Lévesque Ouest
16e étage
Montréal (Québec) H4Z 1W7
Telephone: 514 873-3444
Fax: 514 873-7886

Office of the Deputy Minister of Transport :

700, boul. René-Lévesque Est,
28e étage
Québec (Québec) G1R 5H1
Telephone: 418 643-6740
Fax: 418 643-9836

500, boul. René-Lévesque Ouest
16e étage
Montréal (Québec) H4Z 1W7
Telephone: 514 873-4172
Fax: 514 864-2836

Newspapers:

Le Journal de Montréal – http://www.journaldemontreal.com/contactez-nous
La Presse – http://www.lapresse.ca/contact/
Montreal Gazette – http://www.montrealgazette.com/about-montreal-gazette/contactus.html
Le Devoir – http://www.ledevoir.com/le-devoir/nous-joindre
Le Journal de Québec – http://www.journaldequebec.com/contactez-nous

Television:

CTV Montreal – http://montreal.ctvnews.ca/more/contact-us
TVA Nouvelles – http://tvanouvelles.ca/contact/
CBC News – http://www.cbc.ca/montreal/contact/

Radio:

CJAD – http://www.cjad.com/contactus.aspx
Première Chaine – http://ici.radio-canada.ca/apropos/nous_joindre/stations_regionales/

What does this mean for the community?

It’s still too early to tell how this will affect the Québec modified car scene as most of these rules have been on the books for years, but only recently quantified into a single set of guidelines. Being pulled over and sent to a vehicle inspection was something that every driver assumed could happen to them if they modified their cars regardless of whether it was written as law or not.

Police officers acting as agents of the state will be forced to enforce these new amalgamated sets of rules whether they personally agree or disagree with the guidelines themselves. Showing respect to these officers is still something that must be observed as they are the ones enforcing rules set by bureaucrats far removed from the front lines.

When tires first began being stretched to allow wider wheels the capability to fit inside of stock fenders, it was done as more of a practical modification than anything else. Wider tire treads with narrow sidewalls ensured that the optimal surface contact of a tire was still being achieved. As time has passed, drivers have constantly pushed the limits of their cars to the point where nowadays skinny tires pulled over massive wheels turned them into somewhat unsafe and downright dangerous vehicles.

These select few individuals who rode on lesser and lesser contact surface naturally hurt the rest of the community’s ability to follow the trends of our generation by being easy scape goats for government officials with an increasingly itchy trigger finger to remove individual liberties in favor of big government solutions.

Where do we go from here?

As someone who has been involved with the Volkswagen & Audi community for nearly a decade, and seeing many fads come and go, we personally see this as an opportunity not only for Eurokracy, but for all of Québec as a whole.

What makes the Québec European automotive community so special is that we are not trend followers, we are trend setters. Our VW & Audi scene is recognized as being one of the most notorious in the world for the high levels of craziness, creativity, and passion that come out of garages in Montréal, Trois-Rivières, Québec City, and everywhere else across the province.

For years we traveled with hundreds of you to VW & Audi shows across North America where year after year you have earned the title of “Crazy Canadians” for hotel party burnouts that last from sundown until sunrise. Your building of internationally acclaimed cars featured in international publications such as Performance VW and Performance BMW magazine and taking home awards across the United States and Canada have expanded our reach around the world. We are so infamous that instead of traveling to other countries for recognition, outsiders are traveling to Eurokracy just to get a peek at what we’re up to and to be judged by us.

Instead of following trends set by others in areas of the world where quality pavement and endless summer are the norm, we can now be free to create our own trends, our own values, and develop our own culture yet again.

We are all going to have to pull together and unite as a whole to weather the storm until we figure out what kind of community we are going to be. Are we going to be followers, or are we going to once again be leaders?

Eurokracy 2015 will be our proving ground, and I for one am excited to see what we all have to show. Eurokracy is here to stay.

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