The world of car modification is a vast place where you can express your individuality as well as make your car go faster and handle better. However, it is very easy to get carried away and ruin your car with less-than-tasteful mods or spend a ton of money on parts and components that simply don't provide the desired effect. The first rule of car modification is to start with the things which are guaranteed to provide improvements, dynamically or visually, and gradually advance into more specific components. That is why we’ve compiled a list of the ten best car mods you can make!
ECU tuning is one of the cheapest and easiest ways to unlock a bit more power from your engine. Since most modern engines are turbocharged, an ECU tune makes sense since it will alter the engine's settings, allowing more boost that will result in more horsepower and torque. Of course, some engines are already tuned to provide the maximum possible performance from the factory, so chip tuning in this case would not have the desired effect. Ensure you do your homework before taking your car to an ECU tune specialist so you’re not left disappointed.
Obnoxiously loud exhausts might be a recognisable and annoying part of modified car culture, but quality aftermarket exhausts could improve your performance and provide you with a throaty note. It is too easy just to cut off the rear muffler and have a screaming car, and we don't recommend doing so. There are numerous exhaust kits that will give you a few extra horses and a better soundtrack without going over the legal decibel limit!
There isn't a single mod you can make that will have as much of an impact on your ride’s appearance (and handling) as aftermarket wheels. All cars look far better when fitted with a quality set of alloys, and it is definitely one of the first mods you should consider. However, fitting oversized wheels will require modification to wheel wells and suspension, and it will only serve the purpose of visual enhancement.
Once you have fitted a set of aftermarket alloy wheels onto your car you will want to keep them as clean and fresh as possible. Whether you have cast or diamond-cut wheels, rim protectors such as Rimblades are an absolute must. Rimblades are known as a ‘second generation’ protector and the first to successfully market the flexible bond-on rim protector. They are designed for the enthusiast who understands that a bonded solution provides ALL the impact performance needed, plus the flexibility to quickly and easily replace a damaged protector – and at a fraction of the cost of over-engineered ‘tyre trap’ type alternatives. As well as protection for your alloys, Rimblades provide an instant aesthetic upgrade with a stunning range of unique colour and mono options.
We cannot stress enough the importance of having a proper set of rubbers. After all, your tyres are the only thing between you and the tarmac, and regardless of the use of the car, they must be up to the task. It is especially important to get appropriate rubber if your modified car has significantly more power since you want more control and better handling. More power means nothing if you cannot transfer it to the ground.
This leads us to number 6 on our list, which is the brakes. The stopping power has to match the performance, and if you’ve upgraded your engine, then the brakes need to be strengthened accordingly. Better brake pads or performance discs can follow slightly more power but significantly more requires entire brake assembly, new brake lines, and calipers in order to keep things in check. If you plan to track your modified car, be sure that the new brakes can withstand the track use and extensive heat.
After you make your car faster with engine mods and safer with improved brakes, it is time to concentrate on making it handle better, and there are a ton of suspension modifications you can do. From simple poly bushings which will provide you with a firmer ride to full-on shocks and springs job, performance components, sway bars, and so on. The only question is how far you are willing to go since you can start with just lowering your car and end up with complete race suspension systems, which will make it undriveable on the street but handle like a Formula One car round the track.
Visual enhancements are always a slippery slope amongst car enthusiasts since it is too easy to get carried away and end up with wrapping your car in gold foil with an enormous wing on the back. However, subtle and tasteful modifications are always welcomed. Things like a discrete front splitter, elegant side skirts, or minor spoiler or diffuser will undoubtedly make your car look better and avoid looking like something from the first Fast and Furious movie!
Not a lot of people think about this, but if you have significantly more power under the hood, your transmission will withstand more torture sending it to the driving wheels. So, what is the solution? Installing a performance clutch assembly made of improved materials for better friction and longer life. It is a welcomed modification even if you own a vehicle with an automatic transmission, and it is obligatory if you plan to take your car to track days often.
Roll Cages and Strut Bars
To complete the package and make your car stiff enough, it is highly recommended to install strut bars or full roll cages if you are building a race car. Strut bars are mounted in the front or in the back, connecting shock towers and significantly improving torsional rigidity, which is very important for any performance vehicle. Even if you drive just on the street, a car with strut bars installed will feel much tighter and composed in any condition.