How to add some stylish and performance-enhancing modifications to your car, despite a lack of experience
So, you’ve grown tired of how your motor looks and want to spice things up a bit? In this article you’re going to learn how to mod your car correctly and professionally, all at a low cost. We’re here to make sure that modding your car on a budget doesn’t lead to any mistakes, mishaps or poor quality finishes. Covering all the obvious bases, we’ll talk about a range of mods, from tinting windows to narrowing your 0-60 time. This short guide should give you a good idea of what you want to do, what you should look out for and how much you’re going to love your car afterwards.
What can you do with your wheels?
If you already have alloys and are looking to modify them, then you have a few choices. One choice is to pay to get them wrapped. This is quite unconventional and is a lesser-known route to go down. That said, getting wheels wrapped will not only give a paint-equivalent finish (as long as you pay for high-quality wrap), but it can also be removed in the future.
This means it will protect the wheels and can be reverted back to the original colour, which could be handy when selling your car or if you just want to change back. Plus, getting them wrapped can be cheaper than getting them professionally painted.
Another option is to Plasti Dip them yourself. For those that don’t know, Plasti Dip is a rubberised paint that is easy to remove. It can be sprayed on just like ordinary spray paint but the benefit of it is that it can be peeled off if you change your mind and want to revert back to the original colour.
It’s easier to apply than spray paint, but due to its semi-permanent nature it doesn’t always last a lifetime. A harsh winter can impact the Plasti Dip and curbing your wheels or driving off-road could result in a tear in the coating, same as it would with a vinyl wrap. This option can also be cheaper than getting them wrapped.
One last option we’ll suggest is to get them professionally spray painted. This could result in a finish that’s near factory-quality depending on who you go to. If you shop around, getting wheels painted can cost less than you think as well, with some bodywork shops and wheel businesses offering resprays at around £60 a wheel.
Alternatively, if you just want to buy some new wheels, the world is your oyster thanks to the never-ending selection of wheels available. Different styles, finishes, colours and prices are all available to choose from. Although buying wheels can easily be the most expensive option, many companies offer monthly payments with 0% interest to pay, like DK Performance. Pair your new wheels with lowered suspension and you’ll be turning heads before you know it.
Don’t neglect the importance of tyres
Many overlook tyres as a significant modification, but the truth is that they can make a world of difference. Those rubber rings are the only things that pair your vehicle to the road after all, so it should be of no surprise that the can have a huge impact on how your car feels to drive. Sure, they don’t add a lot aesthetically but a quality set of tyres is a foundation to the performance of your car.
Don’t try and tint your own windows!
There are many mods that you can learn to do yourself, but tinting is not recommended. Not only will you not save yourself a lot of money, but it will also end with you being in a very bad mood with a terrible looking, wrinkled tint on your car. Small side windows may be doable, but large rear windows are incredibly difficult to tint if you want perfect results and you haven’t got the experience. Unless you’re absolutely certain you have the skills to pull it off, window tinting should be left to the experts. Otherwise, you may end up with a sub-par result that you won’t be happy with and everyone will notice.
Remapping is a quick way to improve performance
For those that don’t know what remapping is, it simply means getting your engine’s processor/computer reconfigured to allow the engine to use more power. The onboard computer, the ECU (engine control unit), is like the engine’s brain. By changing the settings on the ECU, remappers can often unlock a few extra horsepower and torque and of course, reduce that zero to sixty time slightly. Prices can range roughly from, but not limited to, £200 to £500. It may not be the cheapest thing ever, but they don’t take long to get done and they’re relatively safe for the engine as well.
So, you want your car to sound more aggressive?
When it comes to making your car louder, there are several routes you can take. One of them is to simply remove the factory-fitted muffler and replace it with one that is designed to enhance the sound of your car. Exhaust tips can also be replaced to amplify and improve the quality of sound coming out of your motor. Tips with larger diameters or flared ends will usually result in a greater sound.
Just keep in mind that a louder exhaust does not necessarily mean your car will be any faster. You also need to think about your future plans for the car. For instance, if you plan to add turbo to your car in the future, you’ll want to get something like a 3-inch exhaust, but if not then a smaller 1.5/2 inch exhaust will suffice.
If you’re painting anything, don’t use cheap paint and take your time
Painting is often a big part of car modding. Whether it’s your wing mirror caps, your wheels, your grille or something from your interior, you need to take great care when painting. Don’t make the mistake of using cheap paint from your local supermarket, because give it a year or so and that paint is going to crack. Make sure to do your research on reliable and long-lasting paint suited for whatever you’re using it for.
Not only should you avoid cheap paints, but you should also avoid doing a rushed job. Make sure to do at least 3 coats, make sure to allow layers to dry for 30 minutes or so, make sure to apply at least 2 or 3 clear coats, make sure to apply thickly but not too thickly and make sure to prepare the surface before painting as well. Painting is a massive hassle and involves a lot of work and patience, but do it right, and you can end up saving yourself some serious money.
When it comes to aesthetics, there’s a never-ending list of things you can do
When it comes to aesthetic modifications, the list is virtually endless. Spoilers, mud flaps, decals, bumper/grille changes, darkening the rear lights, debadging, interior vinyl wrap, installing LEDs and so on…Some are easier than others. To pick from the list, mud flaps are a great way to make a big impact without having to spend much time or money. It may involve drilling a hole or two but they’re generally straightforward to install, just remember that the official accessories are usually easier than the unofficial one.
From changing to xenon bulbs to installing a cold air intake, there are so many things you can do with your car and the only limitation is your creativity. And your wallet, of course.
Do you agree with our list? Let us know in the comments below!
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