The automotive aftermarket is big business for those who provide accessories and modifications for cars. Research has shown that the industry is worth almost $900 billion worldwide and that its value is only going to increase as motorists spend more time and money making changes to their cars.
Sometimes these changes are purely cosmetic, a way of stamping your personality on a vehicle which has, after all, rolled off a production line along with thousands of identical cars. Sometimes these modifications are a little more complex and are designed to improve the performance of a vehicle. Whether amateur mechanics install these mods themselves or take them to the local repair shop, the industry is always coming up with ways for cars to go faster or run more efficiently.
In the past, car mods were very much seen as something that male drivers were interested in, while female motorists were less concerned with such improvements. However, women are just as likely to want to make a few cosmetic changes to their cars or have an interest in the mods which their partner makes to a shared car!
It’s wise to ensure that you don’t go spending a fortune on auto mods without checking with your wife or girlfriend first – or that you don’t make the mistake of choosing an improvement that they are going to hate…
Alloy wheels are so ubiquitous that they can hardly be considered modifications anymore. Most new models come with alloy wheels and rims as standard; a far cry from the days of clunky steel hubcaps. However, there are always more stylish models which you can buy to improve the look of a car or lighter wheels which can help to speed up your vehicle.
A good set of alloys are a relatively simple way to make a car look more stylish without needing to do too much work or spend too much money and can make even an ordinary vehicle look a little more eye-catching.
Once upon a time if you wanted to radically alter the appearance or color of your car, you would have to take it into the repair shop for a complete respray. Now, however, you can get your car wrapped in vinyl instead; a cheaper option and one that allows for a lot more creativity too.
It is perhaps motorists from Japan who have embraced this phenomenon most wholeheartedly, creating Pokémon-themed cars and vehicles covered in Hello Kitty images which any girly girl would love. It’s not a cheap modification, but it looks great and can even help to protect the car’s bodywork from corrosion and damage.
Neon lights under the chassis of the car are not always going to be a winner with the ladies. It depends if you are hanging around with the kind of girls who have watched every movie in the Fast and Furious franchise, or if they are the kind of drivers who only see their cars as a means to get from A to B.
A little neon under-lighting can make a car stand out from the crowd, but it is important to check what the local laws are regarding where neon lights can be placed on a car and what color lights can be used.
While most 21st century cars already come with infotainment systems as standard, drivers can go one step further and have video screens installed in their cars – a great way to keep passengers of all ages amused during long journeys, as well as showing off that you have the cash to have televisions in your vehicle!
Just make sure you don’t get distracted by whatever your passengers are watching, or you could easily find yourself in an accident or pulled over by the cops. And no girl is going to be impressed when you get yourself a ticket for dangerous driving.
Window tints are one of the easiest and cheapest mods to make your car look good, and it is also one change that most women are going to love. The craze for tinted windows started in Hollywood, where celebrities would apply tints to their car windows and windscreens to prevent the paparazzi from taking their photograph.
While ordinary people don’t have to deal with press photographers, who wouldn’t want to feel like a movie star for a little while by being driven around in a car with tinted windows? Just make sure the tints aren’t too dark, or you might find yourself in trouble with the cops again.
The first car lights were invented in 1908, a set of headlamps, side-lights, and taillights that were powered by a small battery. Since then, headlamps have been a regular fixture on cars, and little changed for years – until the advent of LED and Xenon lights, which create a brighter glow.
It isn’t always as simple as changing the bulb in your car’s headlamps if you want them to be brighter, especially if you have an older car that needs a little work to ensure that LED or Xenon bulbs will work properly. Either way, brighter lights are a good way to get noticed, as well as an important safety feature.
It may be a stereotype to suggest that women are going to be more interested in how a car looks on the inside than how it looks from the outside, but the truth is that there are a lot of opportunities to make a car’s interior feel more like your own. As well as cheesy knick-knacks and ornaments – think fluffy dice hanging from the rear-view mirror – you can change the appearance of the car’s cabin entirely by having the seats reupholstered or even just buying a set of seat covers.
This has the added benefit of helping to cover any unsightly stains, as well as making it easier to clean the seats.
As with the neon under-lighting on a car’s bodywork, not every driver, whether male or female, is going to be impressed by interior LED lighting. However, there is no doubt that it can drastically alter the way your car looks on the inside and can even create quite a stylish look if you coordinate the lights with other features in the car.
With this kind of modification, however, less is more, as too many lights are not only going to dazzle your passengers, but also make it difficult to drive – although you really should be turning off any internal lights when you start moving, anyway.
Connectivity with mobile devices and smartphones has completely changed the way we listen to music in our cars. First drivers listened to the radio – and many of us still do – then cars came with cassette decks and finally with CD players. Now, although most cars still have a radio, motorists are much more likely to connect their car’s infotainment system to their smartphone, to listen to their own playlists as they drive.
That doesn’t mean that you have to settle for the standard speakers that came with your car, as there are some great mobile music systems on the market.
Most cars have lights in their doors which are designed to help drivers and passengers see where they are putting their feet when getting out of the vehicle at night. It is one of these features that most people probably don’t even notice but would soon miss if they weren’t there!
You can get custom door lights, however, which either shine a stronger light onto the ground if you need more illumination, or which can even create patterns and images on the ground. One common option is to have the door project an image of your car’s badge onto the floor – just in case anyone had missed that you were driving a Ferrari…
Guys who are looking to get modifications for the car they share with their partner should always choose wisely or perhaps not even make any decisions at all until they have consulted with the boss!
Take racing seats as an example. Many younger male drivers seem to like having these seats installed in the vehicles, despite the fact that they are unlikely to take them anywhere near a racetrack. They might look pretty cool, but they are simply not as comfortable for passengers as regular seats, and girls can sometimes have difficulty getting out of these low-fitted seats when wearing short skirts!
Some mods are just surface changes which have little impact on the car or its performance. The same cannot be said of the custom exhausts, which some drivers like to get fitted onto their vehicles. Aside from the fact that small cars can sometimes look a little silly with over-sized exhaust pipes sticking out of the back, there is also the issue of noise.
A lot of these custom systems increase the sound that the exhaust makes when you rev the engine – which will certainly get people looking at you when you drive past, but not for the right reasons.
There is nothing wrong with a driver wanting to make a few cosmetic changes to their vehicle to make it look more stylish, or even to give the impression that it might have cost a little more than it really did. There are too many motorists, however, who think that it is a good idea to fake it; to use mods which essentially lie about what their vehicle is or what it can do.
Some have even tried to fool others by putting fake badges from other car manufacturers on their vehicles, while another common trick is to stick fake hood vents on the bodywork to suggest that you have a supercharged engine.
Like over-sized exhausts, fitting large wheels or rims onto a small car can end up looking more than a little odd. It might be a great idea for a muscle car, but sadly not many people can afford to drive one of those! Using wheels which are too big for your car doesn’t just look ridiculous, it can also have an impact on your vehicle’s performance and even cause damage to the tires or bodywork in the long-term.
Larger wheels need thinner and tougher tires, and they are much more likely to be damaged if you go over a bump in the road or hit a large pothole.
Spoilers can improve a car’s performance if they are the right size and shape and fitted to the right part of the bodywork. Sadly, too many drivers think that they can enjoy the benefits of a spoiler simply by adding one to their vehicle wherever they think it looks good.
Even worse are those who think that they can boost any benefit they might get from a custom spoiler by increasing its size until it is actually slowing the vehicle down, rather than helping it to go faster. Add in the fact that these huge spoilers look ridiculous, and you can see why it is best to steer clear.
A little bit of free dating advice to all the single car-loving men out there; you are going to stay single if you have made the very unwise decision of adding racing stripes to your second-hand Volkswagen Golf. Adding racing stripes does not make your vehicle a race car, and it doesn’t even make it look more stylish.
There are only a few models which can get away with racing stripes, such as the Ford Mustang GT or a Chevrolet Camaro. Even then, there are pitfalls to watch out for, as each manufacturer has their own stripe, and you don’t want to end up with Mustang stripes on the hood of your Camaro.
Fitting scissor doors or gullwing doors, or any unusual style of door to a car that didn’t have them when they rolled off the production line is an expensive way to make a complete mess of your vehicle.
However, it is understandable why someone who drives a pretty ordinary car might want to do something which allows them to feel like they’re driving a Lamborghini; even if that feeling only lasts until they have pulled the door closed after them. The problem is that while the car owner may be living in denial, no-one else is going to be fooled.
Body kits refer to any modified component which can be added to the original bodywork of a production vehicle, usually resulting in the car running closer to the ground, through the use of side skirts, or having larger front and rear fenders. Spoilers and wings can be part of a body kit, and it is the drivers who start playing around with the bodywork of their vehicles who can often be the worst offenders when it comes to those uselessly large spoilers.
Body kits are supposed to be about improving a car’s appearance, as adding all that extra kit is inevitably going to have a detrimental effect on its performance.
One easy way to spot if the owner of a car is a big fan of motorsports is to see if they have lots of brand decals on the bodywork or window of their vehicles. Race cars from sports like NASCAR and rallying racing are usually covered in vinyl decals showing off the names of their sponsors, as well as the companies that provide tires, oil and all the other kit they need.
Why any ordinary motorist would think that a decal showing off what tires they use would be of any interest is a mystery – and there is no guarantee, of course, that they are even telling the truth about which products they are using!
This next car modification has a lot to answer for when it comes to the reputation of women drivers. Female motorists already have to put up with a lot of sexism on the roads, so it doesn’t really help when some sisters decide that it would be “fun” to stick fake eyelashes over the headlamps on their cars.
You can maybe just get away with this particular mod as a 16-year-old who has just passed her test, but no grown woman should be seen behind the wheel of a car with eyelashes. This is one modification which always makes cars look tackier rather than more stylish.
Sources: Car Bibles, NDTV, Car Buyer, Om Car Accessories, Thrillist