In Nigeria, driving a right-hand drive (RHD) car is illegal and poses significant risks to the safety of drivers, passengers, and other road users. This comprehensive guide delves into the dangers of driving an RHD car. It gives some insight regarding left-hand drive (LHD) cars in Nigeria, highlighting the legal implications, road infrastructure challenges, and potential hazards associated with the conversion process.

Why is car steering conversion from RHD To LHD not worth it?

Car steering conversion from RHD to LHD is not worth it due to high costs, risks of compromising safety features like airbags, potential steering failures, reduced component strength, and the complexity of modifying critical systems by non-experts.

The Dangers of Driving a Right-Hand Drive Car in Nigeria - Left-hand drive (LHD) better : A Comprehensive Guide

This declaration was a yardstick to restrict the importation or use of right-hand drive cars in the country.

The constructors design every highway in Nigeria with left-hand drive cars in mind, which means driving a right-hand drive can pose a serious safety issue due to reduced visibility.

Why? Because roadways are designed to position the driver on the inside of the road, the driver has the best ability to see oncoming traffic. If you drive a right-hand car, you will be incorrectly positioned as a driver.

Read also → Importing Right-hand Drive Cars To Places With Left-hand Drive System.

Trend Of Steering System Conversion

In Nigeria, importers bring in different cars daily, making it a large market. Before, the high demand for vehicles led to steering system conversion because of the cheapness of right-hand drive acquisition and the belief that conversion from RHD to LHD is cheap, easy, and reliable.

This steering system conversion trend has infused auto-quacks into the auto-engineering industry, which has caused so many dear life accidents and deaths in transit. This has become a severe issue in our everyday motoring.

“Most early motor cars had the driver’s seat in the middle. Later, some manufacturers chose to have the driver’s seat nearest the road’s center to look out for oncoming traffic. In contrast, others choose to put the seat on the other side so that the drivers could avoid damaging their vehicles on walls, hedges, roadside gutters, and other unseen obstacles” Wikipedia column.

Purpose Of Steering System

The steering system lets the driver control the vehicle’s direction by turning the front wheels. Most counties’ steering wheel positioning differs, giving us two issues: which side of the road you wish to drive on and which side of the car you would sit on? When traveling to any country, please familiarize yourself with its city.

Conversion Process From RHD To LHD For Cars

The question goes, is it even worth buying RHD cars in Nigeria for conversion? Conversion from a right-hand side to a left-hand side is not so simple. It has high risk and cost implications.

Experts must handle the steering conversion process because it involves modifying critical internal features such as the braking system, steering wheel, car engine, and transmission. The process will also damage other safety car components like the airbag and the gear selector.

Nonetheless, when performed by the car manufacturer, your car can be just as good as new. Converting an RHD steering system to an LHD steering system poses a greater risk to car users without them knowing. It is indeed fun to see your RHD car converted, but have you taken the time to digest the risks?

The following steering conversion processes involved are:

  • First, replace the RHD dashboard with an LHD dashboard.
  •  Next, replace the Steering Rack assembly with an LHD one.
  •  Save and invert (turn around) the wiring harness behind the dashboard. This may affect safety airbags.
  •  Reposition and re-line the Brake Master Cylinder.
  •  Remove and transfer the Pedal assembly.
  •  Replace door panels and door-mounted Electric Controls (depending on the car) with LHD door panels and controls. (Vehicles with electric power in the center console may not have this problem.)
  •  Reposition or replace the wiper motor and mechanism.
  •  Remove the engine and transmission to access the firewall and accessories.

Dangers Convert A Right-hand Car To A Left-hand Car Poses

With this case scenario, let us highlight the risks of converting a vehicle from RHD to LHD.

A client who shipped an RHD Mercedes C230 Kompressor (2004 Coupe model) to Nigeria needed a conversion to the LHD system again. An auto mechanic he consulted assured him a good conversion in two days.

After two days, he retrieved his newly converted car. He paid for the service and took his car home with all gladness. However, the following day, while driving, he noticed a funny smell. The dashboard lights would not go out, and the car doors locked and unlocked sequentially.

After much drag with the previous auto mechanic, he took the car to a Mercedes Benz repair center to save his car. They plugged into the OBD-II (onboard diagnostic) diagnostic port but did not communicate with the Electronic Control Unit (ECU) and other electronic modules.

3 Possible Errors That Could Be Identified As A Result Of The Conversion:

  • The entire wiring behind the dashboard, the primary central distribution source for the fuse box and relay plate, melted and burnt out completely. Additionally, all wiring suffered from electric tape and crude joints during conversion.
  •  The complete air-conditioning system sustained destruction.
  •  Poorly welded steering column brackets hold their place.

Also, see → Importing Right-hand Drive Cars To Places With Left-hand Drive

  1. Steering Risk – Steering can disengage during motion, lose control, and cause an accident, and that conversion is never 100% successful.
  2.  Reduced Component Strength – Loads applied in an emergency, e.g., panic stop or loss of power assistance to steering, can be very high. Therefore, a remodified car component that does not retain the strength of its original design may operate unsatisfactorily under everyday driving loads. However, under high loads, it may fail catastrophically.
  3.  Susceptibility to Fatigue Failure – A poor conversion design can cause the steering component to experience fatigue failure, even if it performs satisfactorily for several days after modification. Car manufacturers invest a lot of time and money in producing parts through design, material selection, manufacturing controls, and endurance testing, using manufacturing techniques that are not readily adaptable to low-volume modification procedures. The question is, is your car conversion tested afterward? Think again!
  4.  Reduced Primary Safety – Modifications to steering can radically alter a vehicle’s handling by introducing undesirable traits such as increased bump steer and poor self-centering.
  5.  Alterations to braking components can reduce the system’s braking effectiveness.

Consider Your Safety Before Buying Or Converting RHD Car To LHD

The solution involved obtaining a complete air conditioner, heater assembly, and aluminum pipes bent to adapt to the LHD. However, these bends suffered fractures and leaked refrigerant gas into the car.

To make the vehicle safe and drivable again, acquiring these parts plus labor left a whopping massive sum of money; only if the car owner had bought an LHD at first would these not have occurred.

Consider your safety before importing a cheap RHD car for conversion to LHD later; getting a left-hand drive auto is simple.


7 Ways To Recognize Right-Hand Steering Converted To Left

  1. Wipers end in front of the drivers.
  2.  Control panel on the door, often on the passenger’s door.
  3.  A manual radio antenna is often not accessible to the driver.
  4.  The fuel tank is on the reverse side of the original left-hand version,
  5.  The exhaust is on the other side of the original left-hand version.
  6.  The fuse box is on the other side of the original left-hand version.
  7.  The battery compartment is on the other side of the original left.

10 Reasons Why You May Not Buy Or Import A Right-Hand Drive Car To Nigeria

  • Left-hand turns: If cars turn left from the opposite direction, it won’t be easy to see around them to ensure the road is clear before turning.
  •  T-junctions: Your visibility across the junction is not good because cross-traffic comes from a sharper angle. It can help set the passenger seat slightly behind the driver’s, so you are not trying to look through the passenger’s head.
  •  Overtaking: Especially on a one-lane road, is terrifying and dangerous, as one will have difficulty overtaking.
  •  Shifting gears with the wrong hand: You must learn how to shift gears with your left hand. This is hard, as the shift pattern is not reversed from the left-hand drive layout. “Every swordsman hangs his sword on the left-hand side.”
  •  Passenger safety: Your front-seat passenger is in the most dangerous spot closest to the incoming traffic, and he would have to exit your car on the traffic side when parked at the curb.
  •  Rules and regulations: As it is not the standard side for your country, you never know when the laws and regulations might change.
  •  Grabbing tickets from an automated parking garage gate can be a challenge. You must crawl through the car, pull the key out, and scramble back before the gate closes. Very funny.
  •  Drive-thru: If, for any reason, you are going into the fuel filling station or cafeteria, driving through will be difficult to access, especially when you have a lower car.
  •  Parts: Some parts for RHD vehicles may be challenging to find, especially locally. Car parts are directly from the manufacturer in the country where the vehicle was manufactured, which will cost you more.
  •  Resale value: In a country like Nigeria with a standard left-hand drive, selling your right-hand drive car might not be easy, or you might not get the price you are asking for. Therefore, you might need to settle for a lower price as the demand is low.


No one must tell you that driving an RHD in Nigeria is wrong. It is a law. Ideally, you buy the correct type of car to avoid unnecessary embarrassment from law enforcement agents. German cars are LHD, no need for conversion. Indeed, how much do you expect to save from buying an RHD instead of an LHD?

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