Thinking of modifying your car? This guide explains everything you need to know about installing car modifications.
Why modify your car?
Before modifying your car, you should always ask yourself ‘why?’. It’s important to understand your purpose so that you invest in the right type of modifications.
Most people modify their car because they simply want it to look cool. Other modifications may be more practical such as making a car safer or more fuel-efficient. If you’re going to use your car for commercial purposes, you may even decide to invest in modifications for marketing purposes such as branded vinyl wrapping.
Performance upgrades are very popular. However, you should consider why you want to improve factors like speed or handling. Unless you’re taking a vehicle on a track, you probably don’t want to invest too much money into performance modifications, especially if they could end up negatively affecting regular driving.
What types of modifications are there?
It’s worth weighing up all the different types of modifications. Some of the most popular modifications are listed and detailed below:
These are upgrades that affect the look of your vehicle, but not necessarily the performance. Things like new rims, vinyl wraps, LED lights and window tints typically fall into this category (although you could argue that there are some practical benefits to many of them). These upgrades usually aren’t very expensive. You may even be able to install some of them yourself.
There are all kinds of ways to modify the interior of a car – the most common being to upgrade the radio or sound system. You could also consider adding seat covers to protect the seats, or you could even rip out seats to reduce weight if you’re modifying a car for the track. You can also consider upgrades such as a new steering wheel, new pedals or new gear level. Modifications such as new seat belts can meanwhile be used to improve safety.
There are all kinds of ways to modify a car engine. Most of these upgrades are carried out to improve power and generate more speed. A few examples of engine modifications include superchargers, cold air intake kits, new air filters, new camshafts, engine remaps and performance chips. You can even reduce the weight of your engine to improve speed.
You could consider looking into transmissions upgrades. Along with engine mods, these can help your car to achieve more power and speed. Transmission mods are typically quite expensive, but are worthwhile if you’re modifying a car to compete on the track.
Better brakes could help you to stop faster, making them a good safety upgrade. Improving your brakes could also be useful if you’re modifying a car for racing. It’s important that you choose the right brakes fo your car.
Tire upgrades are very popular. A lot of people change their tires in the winter to get a better grip on the snow and ice. Off-road tires are also a useful upgrade if you’re likely to be driving your car on rougher terrain. Meanwhile, other tires are built for speed. When upgrading your tires, it’s best to replace them all at once.
A lot of people also modify their car’s suspension. This could include altering the ride height, adding shock absorbers, adding adjustable top mounts or even adding a roll cage. Suspension upgrades typically allow for better handling. Certain suspension upgrades are better suited for handling rough terrain (such as going off-road). Others are better for achieving speed and fast turns. Work out which suspension upgrades are truly right for you.
You can also get extra power by upgrading your car’s exhaust. This could include swapping out heavy cast manifolds for tubular headers. Exhaust upgrades can also be used to reduce noise (such as adding a more improved muffler).
There are so many other niche modifications to consider. A common practical example is adding a roof rack or a bike rack to your car. A tow hitch is also another common modification for those that want to carry a caravan or trailer. Some people even add winches to their cars, which can be useful for pulling yourself or another car out of a ditch.
Things to be wary of…
While there may be clear advantages to modifying your car, you do need to be wary of a few things. The first thing to consider is the cost. Most modifications are not cheap – if you’re planning lots of modifications, you could find that you end up spending a lot of money. The most affordable modifications are typically things like new pedals and racing stripes (which you can purchase for less than $20), while the most expensive mods are usually engine swaps and suspension upgrades that cost several thousands of dollars.
On top of the cost of installing these modifications, you need to be prepared for increased insurance costs – aside from safety upgrades, most mods will impact the price of your insurance. Certain modifications may also bring down the value of your car if you ever plan to sell it (although some restorative upgrades in classic cars may increase the value).
Modifications need to be legal and practical. There are many modifications that are not legal such as using certain colored lights or removing the catalytic converter. When it comes to impractical modifications, avoid things like lowering your car to the point that you cannot park on a curb or choosing brakes that your tires can’t handle (all the parts of your car need to still be able to work in harmony – if you don’t take this into account, modifications coud end up just causing more problems than perks). It could be worth seeking out advice from car modification experts before you add any modifications. Also, make sure that you choose a reputable mechanic that knows what they’re doing.