Car mods can be an exciting way of personalizing your vehicle and possibly enhancing its performance. They include external modifications such as tow bars and new number plates, internal modifications such as new seats and dashboard modifications and various mechanical modifications ranging from a turbocharger to new suspension.
Many people are so eager to modify their car that they overlook the repercussions. Below are some of the things you should consider before you choose to modify your vehicle.
The cost of modifications
Modifying a car isn’t cheap. Before you make any modifications, it’s worth considering your budget. Most basic modifications will cost hundreds of dollars. Modifications like new suspension and a professional paint job could cost you thousands.
There are ways to reduce the cost of modifications of course. By shopping around, you may be able to find someone that is able to install your modifications at a more affordable price. There may even be certain modifications you can attempt yourself. However in most cases, it’s worth investing in professionals to make sure that the modification is done safely and properly.
If you’re using your car for everyday driving, you should consider just how practical your desired modification is. Some modifications could be fairly impractical for everyday driving. For example, lowering your vehicle might make your car more aerodynamic, but it could also make it impossible to drive over speed bumps or mount the kerb.
More practical modifications for everyday driving could include replacing the air filter (it makes your car faster and more fuel-efficient), upgrading the tires (better handling and better speed) or replacing seat covers (everyone can benefit from more comfortable car seats). Purely aesthetic modifications like added lights and a new paint job may not do much to improve your car’s performance, but also won’t have any drawbacks when it comes to everyday driving, so they could also be worth considering.
Your insurance rates
Modifying your car can often increase your insurance rates. This is because car mods are typically associated with ‘boy racer’ drivers who tend to get into more accidents from driving fast, therefore increasing the risk of an insurance claim.
Modifications like fitting a turbocharger or supercharger will increase your insurance rates the most. Stripes and alloy wheels may not have quite as considerable an impact. More practical modifications like all-weather tires are unlikely to have any impact, while safety and security modifications like immobilizers and performance brakes may even reduce your insurance rates. This is something worth looking into before you make any modifications – especially if you’re a relatively young/new driver who is most likely already paying expensive rates to insure their vehicle.
Your car’s value/sellability
Putting modifications on your car could affect its value and general appeal to buyers. This is particularly the case with very personal modifications like personalized number plates or paint jobs involving polarising colors like lime green or pink. Putting performance modifications on a non-performance car could also devalue your car and reduce its appeal.
You may not plan to sell your car any time soon, in which case it may not matter. However, if you think you could be selling your car in the near future, car modifications may not be worthwhile. Sometimes there are ways to still maintain the value of a car by being careful with modifications. Instead of literally painting your vehicle, it could be worth considering a removable vinyl wrap (it’s cheaper than painting your car too). What about custom number plates? Can I sell my private plate? Providing that you choose a plate that’s not too personal, you can usually sell it. Alternatively, you can simply transfer it to your next vehicle (this is one of the few modifications that you can do this with – just make sure to keep your old number plate).
An advantage of buying a car from a dealership is that you often get a warranty. This could mean free repairs or even a refund if you encounter hidden problems with the car. However, this warranty is likely to become void if you make modifications to your vehicle.
When buying a car that you plan to modify, it’s important to check with the dealership as to how this will affect the warranty. Some dealerships may still be willing to repair problems that haven’t been affected by the modification, although they likely won’t take the vehicle back. All in all, you need to decide whether you’re willing to sacrifice the warranty or not.