Are Car Modifications Worth Your Money?
It’s no surprise that the lovers of the Fast and the Furious flicks, and the fans of the Need for Speed games, love car mods. Not only do these individuals have an appreciation for car modifications seen on the big screen, they love them in person too. In fact, some may even have a few upgrades to their own cars. But that gives way to a question: “Are car mods really worth it?” Although anyone can argue for either their value or vanity, it’s worth taking an objective look at what these mods are capable of. Like all things auto-related, you’ll find that it isn’t easy to place all car mods into a box.
Not All Mods Are Built the Same
To put things plainly, it’s safe to say that some car mods are worth it, while others offer little if any advantage to car performance. Many add-ons are merely for style. There are people who love the idea of street racing, and there are those who just want a car that looks intimidating. For these individuals, the idea of what’s worth it and what’s not will differ from those who actually want to improve their vehicle’s performance. If you’re reading this article, you’re probably somewhere in the middle. You might want to give your car a bit of a boost (pun unintended), but at the same time, you might not want to turn your vehicle into a cop magnet.
Give Em’ a Try
Let’s say you want to improve your engine’s efficiency, handling or safety. You might think you’ll just have to buy a better car that’s renowned for those features. However, there are mods out there which actually work to improve these features. And you don’t have to walk into some hidden shop located in the back alleys of a bad neighbourhood to find them.
Car Mods Worth their Salt
- Cold Air Intake Kit – The temperature in your car does more than determine how cold or hot your seats will feel. It also can increase or decrease your vehicle’s efficiency. Fortunately, you can make the temperature accomplish the former by means of a cold air intake kit. Cold air is denser than warm air, meaning it contains more oxygen. More oxygen means greater combustion in the engine and therefore, more power. A cold air intake kit works by pulling cold air into your engine, so that it receives more of the oxygen it needs to produce the power you crave.
- Performance Seats – Have you ever seen the driver’s seat of a racing car? Well, if you wanted to feel like a professional race car driver, you can install one of these seats in your car. The beauty is it does a lot more than just look cool. These seats actually increase your performance as a driver since its body support allows for better steering and pedal handling. This is a great mod for the fact that it focuses on you, rather than the car alone.
- High performance shocks – Driving in a city littered with bumpy roads and potholes (ie. Toronto) takes a toll on your vehicle. Fortunately, you can reduce a great deal of the bumps by means of high performance shocks. Installing them doesn’t give you the license to drive wild, but they can come in handy if you accidentally hit a bump or pothole.
- Sway Bars upgrades – Your vehicle’s sway bar (anti-roll bar) is designed to keep your car level when turning, to prevent it from tilting. However, it’s common to find cars with preset sway bars that are somewhat “lax”. If you want to ensure that your vehicle remains level at all times while turning, investing in a sway bar upgrade is right for you.
Look the Other Way
- Large Muffler – How do you feel when you hear a car with an insanely loud muffler? If it gets you riled up and you’ve always asked, “what’s the point?”, then here’s some ammo for your argument – large mufflers are merely for show. They do enhance a car’s performance if the entire exhaust system is altered. However, if installed by itself, a wide muffler is all noise and no action.
- Wider Wheels & Tires – You’ve probably seen some SUVs and high-performance trucks with large wheels and tires slapped on. In some cases, they are so large, they make the vehicle resemble a monster truck. Technically, this mod sits in a grey area, because large wheels can improve the look of certain vehicles. But you might want to avoid them if you have hopes of improving your vehicle’s performance. Wider wheels can put stress on your vehicle, particularly the engine and suspension, and they can make turning around tight corners more difficult to pull off.
- Big Spoilers – Wings (a.k.a spoilers) found on sports cars make these vehicles more aerodynamic by providing downforce at high speeds. Wings found on regulars cars accomplish nothing. With that said, if you’re a fan of how they look, you can always spend the cash and install one if it complements the frame of your car.
- Low Body kits – If you’ve ever marvelled at how ridiculous a car with a low body kit looks, you have reason to keep thinking this way. They’re supposed to make a car more aerodynamic by decreasing the weight of the vehicle. However, it often works the other way around since the kits are so low to the ground, that they actually increase the weight of the car. As a result, low body kits are more or less a waste of time and space.
Before deciding whether to buy a car mod or not, it’s important for you to consider a few things first. Keep in mind that these car modifications are not necessities, they’re just add-ons, so spending the money on them should be something you can justify.
You should start off by knowing your intent for buying such an upgrade. This is your ultimate deciding factor. Are you buying an additional part merely because you saw it in a movie, or on board a friend’s car? Are you buying it for a potentially risky or illegal use (ie. street racing, drifting)? It’s advisable for you to hold off on such a purchase until you can justify the part as having a safe, practical and legal use in your daily drive.
The other thing to consider is how often you will use this upgrade. It wouldn’t make sense to buy car modifications that cost several hundreds or thousands of dollars, if the device will only kick in occasionally. However, if an upgrade of your choice will improve your drive on a day-to-day basis, then it may be worth buying.
Finally, you need to think about your driving habits versus your car’s capabilities. In other words, you should ask yourself once more if you really need this mod, or if you can modify the way you drive. For example, you may drive along a road that’s known for its potholes, grooves and fissures. The way to prevent the damage that may occur on such a road might seem obvious: high performance shocks. However, an even better solution may be to take an alternate route (assuming you have other options). It wouldn’t cost you anything, and you would probably see a nice change in scenery too.
Giving a Nod to Car Mods
Based on everything mentioned in this article, you’ll most likely agree that car mods can be useful or not so useful. Some of these upgrades can dramatically increase your car’s performance, if chosen wisely. With that said, it’s important to pick up an upgrade that will have an impact on your daily drive, instead of choosing one that rarely kicks in. By doing so, you can choose upgrades that make your car a performance machine, rather than a wannabe street racer.