mods not working
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Fact is that not only can you install and spawn cars from the mods folder, but that's the recommended way to do it.
The reason it works with your game folder?
Possibly because your mods folder is in the wrong location. Or the update folder, or dlcpacks, or all your folders for mods.
Possibly a syntax error in your mod version of dlclist.xml that didn't occur in the game version
Possibly you selected the wrong version of dlclist.xml, there are 4
You didn't provide any useful info, such as did you ever use the mods folder, but hope above helps, or link below.