So are you one of those who’ve thought of modifying your car, just so that it can look cool? Well, here are some of the most useless modifications that have been done time and again to perfectly presentable cars.
Performance modifications are done for a purpose. But some folk would rather have only the cosmetic benefit of such mods, rather than actual increase in performance. The only reason one can think of why people commit such atrocities to their cars is to “stand out from the crowd” in a search for individualism. After all there are hundreds of similar cars out there, so just how do you make your mark? Point taken, but sometimes making a mark, makes rather a bit too much of a mark, you would agree. Also read: India’s best modified cars (Part 1)
Here are some cosmetic modifications you shouldn’t do to your car.
One of the easiest and most hideous modifications you can do to a perfectly good sedan, hatchback or even an SUV (go figure), are giant wings fastened to the back of the car. The scientific purpose of spoilers on cars is actually to increase down-force, on cars that are capable of very high speed. These are like inverted wings of an aircraft – so the faster you go, the more the car is pushed into the ground. It works fine with formula 1 cars or really high-speed supercars. But for a regular road-going commuter, such large spoilers are plain ridiculous, and look like clothes hangers or park benches! I’m sure some of you CarToq members can suggest multiple uses for such spoilers.
Fake hood scoops
A hood scoop or air-intake on the bonnet should serve a purpose. Usually such hood scoops are provided to channel air into the engine compartment, to either an intercooler for the turbo or the air-intake system itself. But cheap imitation scoops are available in the aftermarket, that do very little other than being a drag on the car’s aerodynamics and possibly doing its work as a bug and dust trap. Not a good idea at all. (Mahindra is guilty of providing a fake scoop on the early CRDe Scorpios – that were a boon for rain-water harvesting, just before the MHawk engines with functional hood scoops for the intercooler came in).
Fake sun roofs
Sun roofs look cool. But real sun roofs are expensive. Even the basic pop-up sun-roof costs over Rs. 25,000 and involves a lot of sheet metal cutting. The next best thing? A fake sunroof! This is just a piece of Perspex with pop-up clamps, glued on to the roof of a car to make it look like a sun-roof. And they also came in ridiculous sizes – from ones that looked like a little postbox flap to some that looked like moving advertisement hoardings. Of course, many cabbies took the opportunity to stick such fake sun-roofs on and plaster it with graffiti.
Ultra-low profile tyres
India is a country of not-so perfect roads. And to handle such roads, tyres of a certain thickness are advisable and provided by car manufacturers. Yet, in the drive to look cool, many upsize their wheels by 2-3 inches and then downsize the thickness (profile) of the tyres to ones that are almost as slim as rubber bands around bling alloy wheels. While such tyres and wheels look great on a car in an auto show, they just kill the handling and the suspension of the car, not to mention the bullock-cart-like ride quality that they can impose on the best of cars!
Ultra-wide alloy wheels
The converse of ultra-low profile tyres are tyres that are too thick and look like they are filled with helium. Many car and SUV owners shod their rides with wide alloys, which are often too wide for the vehicle and jut out by many inches from the body. While such wide alloys make the vehicle look cool, they are highly impractical. The car’s body gets splattered with mud from the smallest puddle, the suspension gets strained leading to early parts failures and they tend to foul with the fenders on bumps and dips, creating annoying grating sounds and sometimes bad punctures too.
Ultra-low body skirt kits
One thing we need in India is ground clearance, which most car makers have managed to provide a decent amount of. Still there are some cars like the Honda Civic, which are known to have problems with ground clearance when loaded. And yet in the bid to look cool or emulate cars from the “Fast and the Furious” series, owners shod their cars with body skirts that almost kiss the road. And yes, they do kiss the road making rather painful scraping sounds on even the smallest of speed breakers. Totally, not worth the pain.
Underbody neon lighting
The “Fast and the Furious” movie series again, has inspired some really ridiculous lighting. Underbody neon tubes are one of them. With Indian roads, these tubes get damaged or mucky with even the shortest drive. No doubt, they look cool, but are highly impractical.
Colored or masked headlamps
If you think you’ve seen them all, think again. Many track going cars need masking tape on their headlamps as a safety regulation – to prevent glass from shattering and puncturing tyres on the track in case of a collision. But on normal road-going cars such masking tape on the headlamps only compromise the performance of the lights. And there are others who add colored headlamp bulbs – from dark blue to violet and even rose-colored headlamps! These do nothing to help with road visibility at night, although you could scare a few passersby with an alien-looking ride like that.
The list of useless car modifications is huge. These are only the low-cost modifications that we’ve looked at. But there are some who spend big bucks in converting their perfectly normal looking road going cars into something out of an Incredible Hulk movie gone bad!
Tell us of more ridiculous modifications for cars that you’ve seen, and why it should not be done.