17 Jan

10 things to note about customizing vehicles

Our cars are a lot more than transportation devices. Our vehicles are extensions of our personalities. This is proven by the various considerations we make before buying one. We still strive to demonstrate our preferences in the final choices we make. For many, there is an urge to make our vehicles stand out and be unique. Let’s take a quick look at a few things we can do.


  1. Let’s start from the simple things. A clean neat vehicle, free from body damage and interior clutter is the starting point. If you truly desire to customize your vehicle start from the interior. Put away all those old pieces of debris lying in your trunk, below the seats and in the cup holders. You are going to spend more time in the vehicle than staring at it so you might as well make the interior conducive.
  2. Interior upgrades – You may be tempted to slap on designer rims and get the bodywork going. However, four key components that make up the soul of a vehicle are the engine, the looks, the interior and the drive train. Sprucing up the interior of your vehicle is often overlooked especially when you are on a budget. Investing in a solid sound system and a digital “Tesla Type” touch screen are key investments that will automatically transform the character of your vehicle. Also, if you desire but cannot afford upgrades to the seat material, their tons of after-market seat covers that could come out as classy and speak to your style. Always remember to keep things simple. There is elegance in simplicity.
  3. Lights – Head and tail light upgrades a key to customizing your vehicle. LED styled daylight running lights and blacked out lights are great options. If you cannot afford these, at the minimum, it is important to ensure that your head and tail lights a clean and bright. With time many of these components get dull and “yellow” out. A cleansing solvent will work quick tricks. However, a long term fix will be an outright change.
  4. Body kits – customized bumpers, grills, skirts, spoilers and fenders add an important person to your vehicle. In recent years, people have begun to create mashups by installing fenders from later models on older models. When done correctly, this can create a stunning and differentiating effect. The keynotes here are simplicity and consistency. You do not want your vehicle looking like it was cut up and assembled from various components. You also don’t want to begin to look ridiculous after a few years when that particular modification is no longer trending.
  5. Wheel flares. – Agreed, these are still subcategorized underbody kits but their effect creates additional differentiation. They work best on rugged looking SUVs and off-roading vehicles, as well as low, slung sedans and sports cars. When used correctly they give vehicles an aggressive, mean, no-nonsense and muscular demeanour. These are normally built in limited quantities for specific vehicles. The universal types do not normally have the desired effect on vehicles. However, if you can pull this off you will create a head turner from and ordinarily forgettable vehicle
  6. Suspension Kits – Here it begins to get more technical. To pull these off, you need to pay attention to the limits and tolerances of your vehicle. By making a vehicle ride higher or lower, you alter the look of the vehicle, but you also tamper with the performance and stability. Please do your research properly before you begin tinkering with these areas. Generally, vehicles look better the lower they ride. Off-roaders with raised suspensions and monster wheels also have their appeal. You may also make the front of the car ride lower or higher than the rear depending on the effect you want to create. A lower riding front by a few inches creates a wedge-like race car stance. A lower riding rear end is reminiscent of the old school classics from the 80s and 70s.
  7. Wheel spacers – Using wheel spacers closely complements the use of wheel/fender flares. Wheel spacers go between the hub of your vehicle and the wheels to make the tyres sit outside the bumper – fender line. Your tyres basically will stick out wider than the vehicle. It creates a cool muscular visual effect when done correctly. However, you need to be aware that if they stick out too widely the front tyres will begin to rub the wheel arch. Also, you will get more dust and mud on the body of the car since a portion of the tyre is not contained within the mudguards. However, if you combine these spacers with the fender flares, you largely eliminate this problem.
  8. Alloy wheels – obviously these are no-brainers in the customization text book. Only things to point out are the options of selecting greyed out rims and also selecting wheels with negative offsets. These offsets allow the tyres to sit wider out that the body of the car, creating a similar effect to the wheel spacers. They also create a stunning look. Just a word of caution about changing your wheel colours. Black is not always better as you may end up with a cheap looking set of rims that do not enhance your overall package
  9. Tyres – while you will be constrained to the tyres size your vehicle can take based on manufacturer spec, suspension clearance, rim size and wall thickness, you still have a number of variables you can consider and can play with to add to the overall effect. Please modify this based on the terrain and driving scenario you will be using the tyres for. Generally, wider thread tyres give a more premium look than skinny tyres. However, you must consider performance and safety limitations when making changes here
  10. Exhaust systems – A set of tailpipes properly complemented by a matching bumper works wonders to the rear-ended of your vehicle. Dual exhaust vehicles provide better options to work with. You can change the shape, number and size of your tailpipes. You can even up the ante by throwing in some modified systems to leave those outside with a wonderful exhaust note whenever you drop the hammer.

Why not drop a comment or two to let us know what other quick tips can be considered while modifying vehicles?


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