Car owners can theoretically make dozens of modifications to their vehicles’ interior and exterior. However, just because a particular mod is available doesn’t mean a car enthusiast should buy it. Some have no relevant impact, but in some cases, they can negatively affect the vehicle’s performance.
Here are a few examples of good mods to consider and bad mods to steer clear of.
Good Mod: Coilovers
Coilovers are the best suspension mods on the market. They have many advantages over traditional springs and shocks, including adjustable height, improved rebounding and the ability to fine-tune spring rates. These benefits drastically improve a car’s handling and create a smoother driving experience.
Bad Mod: LED Headlights
Just to be clear, LED headlights that are factory fitted by a car manufacturer are a good thing. Adding aftermarket LED headlight bulbs into the OEM housing designed for conventional halogen bulbs are not.
Aftermarket LED bulbs might improve driving visibility and reduce a car’s energy expenditure, but these pros don’t outweigh the cons. Converting to LED headlights is a bad modification because they will more often than not, blind other drivers and ruin the car’s visual aesthetic.
Good Mod: All-Terrain Tires
All-terrain tires are one of the best modifications for any vehicle. Unlike most stock tires, they consist of heavy-duty rubber and have aggressive tread patterns that can handle inclement weather and unstable off-road conditions. They’re also less likely to suffer uneven wear or get punctured by nails, glass and other sharp objects.
The only challenge of finding a good set of all-terrain tires is understanding the sidewall codes between different models. Make sure to know what the numbers on the tires mean to make an informed decision.
Bad Mod: Fuel Line Magnets
The automotive industry is full of snake oil salespeople and fuel line magnets are one of the main products they try to sell. They’re supposed to “prepare” the car’s fuel for burning, thereby reducing its pollution and helping the environment.
It’s an intriguing sales pitch, but it’s 100% false — fuel line magnets do nothing to purify gas or reduce a car’s emissions.
Car enthusiasts could consider switching to an electric vehicle or getting a new fuel filter if they’re worried about a car’s emissions or debris in the gasoline, but don’t waste money on fuel line magnets. They are a total scam.
Good Mod: Steel Bumpers
Bumpers serve a clear purpose — limit the damage to the vehicle’s mechanics if a collision occurs. To get the most out of the bumpers, switch to a stronger set of steel bumpers. There’s no more need to worry about fender benders and other minor collisions because steel bumpers can absorb the impact with minimal damage.
Of course, the bumpers will still get minor nicks and paint scratches over time. To avoid these abrasions, simply apply a ceramic coating to the paint and wax the car seasonally to keep the bumpers looking new.
Bad Mod: Scissor Doors
Scissor doors — better known as Lambo doors for their frequent association with Lamborghinis — might look cool on high-powered sports cars, but they look horribly out of place on the average truck, sedan or SUV. Plus, scissor doors are only easy to use when buying a car that already has them. Adding them as an aftermarket modification is a bad idea.
Unlike OEM scissor doors, scissor door mods can’t elevate by themselves. The driver must manually lift the heavy doors into their upright position, which is a huge hassle. Scissor doors also pose significant problems in low-clearance areas and car accidents. If the car rolls over, the driver or any passengers can’t completely open the doors and might not be able to get out.
Good Mod: Cold Air Intake
Cold air intakes keep the engine cool by exposing it to more oxygen-rich air. Cooler air contains more oxygen molecules than warm air, which creates a more volatile reaction with the engine’s combustion chamber.
A cooler engine means better gas mileage, better acceleration and a healthier vehicle in the long run.
Bad Mod: Large Rear Spoilers
It’s common for car enthusiasts to add flashy wings and spoiler modifications. Spoilers come in all types and might look good at the right size, but if they’re too big, they ruin the car’s entire appearance and add unnecessary weight.
The only vehicle that can pull off an oversized spoiler is the Dodge Charger Daytona under certain circumstances. If someone doesn’t have this car, steer clear of absurdly large rear spoilers.
Good Mod: Mud Flaps
Mud, rocks and other small particles always lodge in tire treads and undercarriage. They can also damage the car’s fenders and wheel wells. The accumulation of dirty particles negatively affects performance over time. Mud flaps reduce the damage caused by random road debris and keep the car’s lower half in good shape.
Mud flaps can also improve gas mileage by blocking wind and creating more aerodynamic drag. However, they have to be the right size — they shouldn’t sit too high or drag on the ground. Mud flaps should hang no more than six inches off the ground.
Bad Mod: Exhaust Whistle Tips
Exhaust whistle tips are flashy and affordable modifications but serve no functional purpose. They simply aim to make a car louder and more aggressive by creating a high-pitched whistling sound in the exhaust pipe.
The only reason car enthusiasts should get this modification is if they want to annoy their neighbors and draw negative attention from the cops.
Good Mod: Heavy-Duty Floor Mats
Shoes track all kinds of nasty stuff into cars, including mud and oil. Instead of ruining a car’s floors, get some heavy-duty floor mats. Brands like Weathertech and Husky made custom-fitted floor liners that perfectly conform to the interior.
This simple modification can help prevent pest infestations and drastically improve cleanliness. Just make sure to wash them off now and then.
Bad Mod: Spinner Hubcaps
Spinner hubcaps spin independently from the rest of the wheel, creating a strange optical illusion many car enthusiasts find visually pleasing. They had their brief moment of popularity in the 1990s and early 2000s, but they’re no longer in style. Nowadays, people find them obnoxious and distracting.
Also — in case even the most car savvy weren’t aware — spinner hubcaps are illegal to sell in the United States. The only people who still have hubcaps must’ve installed them before the mid-2000s when many states started cracking down on them. A driver probably wouldn’t get arrested for having them, but they will face a hefty fine.
Good Mod: Phone Accessories
People are on their phones all day, including behind the wheel. The Department of Transportation estimates that 660,000 drivers use their phones on public roads at any given time, increasing the risk of accidents. That’s why phone accessory modifications are so valuable in this day and age.
For example, a cell phone mount enables drivers to talk on the phone or read driving directions while keeping both hands on the wheel. Installing a dash cam helps people study their driving habits and avoid insurance fraud if another driver causes an accident.
These simple additions improve the driving experience and make roads safer for everyone.
Bad Mod: Chrome Wraps
Car enthusiasts love to wrap their prized vehicles in unique paint designs, but chrome is one of the few exceptions. For starters, scratches on chrome cars are much more noticeable than usual — every little blemish is extremely visible.
Chrome is also highly distracting and reflects light more than other colors, which can blind other drivers. Also, it looks tacky. A chrome wrap mod is a bad idea all around.
Choose Car Mods Carefully
Although some mods might look or sound cool, car enthusiasts should generally avoid them if they don’t have any functional benefit. That’s what separates the seven good mods from the seven bad mods.
The good mods improve a vehicle’s performance, while the bad mods make no difference and draw negative attention. Choose car mods carefully!