The modern-day automobile, no matter what brand, is the result of decades of design improvements, technology developments, and endless hours of testing. Highly skilled engineers, technicians, aerodynamicists, artists, model makers, clay workers, and testers contribute to the finished product.
Wind tunnel tests verify that the car’s shape will limit drag to an acceptable level and help contribute to fuel efficiency. Designers then stuff all that marvel of engineering excellence into a body that creates a car people will want to buy.
However, the massive automobile aftermarket would suggest that there are still improvements to be made. While some of the products offer valuable enhancements, many others are poor quality and provide limited utility, enhancing neither vehicle performance or aesthetics. Some aftermarket products may make both significantly worse.
Here are twenty photos of ridiculous DIY car features nobody would ever use.
20 Spoilers that Produce No Downdraft
A spoiler is designed to reduce aerodynamic lift, the force that tends to pull a car off the ground. According to the Globe and Mail, “They only work if they're properly installed, and even then, they only work at speeds of at least 100 km/h or more."
A Volkswagen and most passenger cars rarely exceed 100 km/h, so the effect is zero.
19 Fake Turbocharger Hood Scoop
An internal combustion engine mixes air with combustible fuel and ignites it to produce power. When more air is forced into the cylinders with more fuel, the engine produces more power.
Hood scoops are installed on cars as a method of passively forcing in more air without requiring a turbocharger or other mechanism. However, this forced air system only works if the scoop actually has an opening for the air to enter.
18 Coffee-Can Exhaust Tips
In recent years some car owners have installed large-diameter, coffee-can-size tips (or real coffee cans in some cases) on the exhaust pipes of four-cylinder cars to reduce back pressure and improve performance.
While the modified tips may amplify an already unpleasant sound, they do nothing to improve performance. Installing a coffee can tip on the car does, however, reveal the owner’s favorite brand of java.
17 Fake Vents
Ventilation ports cut into the fenders or hood were initially designed to provide an escape path for hot or high-pressure air. They were not only functional but attractive. Car manufactures decided to include them on some models for aesthetic reasons only.
The aftermarket followed suit, and before long, these useless attachments were found everywhere.
16 Performance-Degrading Ground Effects
Car enthusiasts (and most everyone else) know that aerodynamic appendages added to race cars reduce drag and generate downforce. Some owners of passenger cars add attachments to their daily drive vehicles hoping for a similar effect and to make their car look “cool.”
The result, however, is usually a sloppy-looking add-on that does more to degrade the aerodynamics than improve performance.
15 "Slamming" a Ride
Although lowering a car can theoretically reduce drag, decrease rollover risk, improve gas mileage, and improve handling, an extremely lower vehicle benefits from none of these.
More likely, the slammed car is less safe to drive and puts extra stress on the suspension and steering system parts, resulting in excessive wear and even premature failure.
14 Body Kits Are Purely Aesthetic
Common sense says that body kits do absolutely nothing to improve the performance of a vehicle. After installation, it is the same car with a different shape. Changes in aerodynamics are negligible, and the new body has no impact on horsepower.
In many cases, the only effect a DIY body kit will have is a negative one on every onlooker who gawks at the useless and poorly installed mod.
13 Badge Engineering by Owner
Aftermarket badge engineering has no impact on automobile performance but merely serves to satisfy the aspirations of the owner or provide some humor to the casual observer.
A “HIGH PERFORMANCE” emblem glued to the back of a Smart Fortwo CDI that accelerates from 0 to 60 mph in 19.5 keeps everyone laughing.
12 DIY Upgrades that Require an Expert
Purchasing and installing expensive upgrades that require the expertise of a mechanic to function correctly only adds useless features to a vehicle. For example, a change in shock absorbers to replace the existing worn-out devices will help restore suspension performance.
However, upgrading to an adjustable model is a waste of money unless the owner knows how to fine tune the rebound settings based on feel.
11 Venturi and Vortex Generators
As prices increase at the gas pump, so do the number of mpg-boosting gadgets introduced on the market. Some claim absurd fuel economy numbers with no moving parts, no electronics, and no effect on emissions.
Venturi and vortex generators are examples of devices that add no benefits and are likely to cause more harm than good.
10 Massive Wheels Limit Performance
In the past several years, a popular add-on for both old and new cars has been larger wheels. In the 1980s and 1990s, carmakers installed 15- and 16-inch wheels, but by the early 2000s, 18- to 20-inch wheels became commonplace.
While the bigger size may make a car more attractive, the tradeoff of immense wheels, including weight and increased turning radii, is diminished performance.
9 Chrome Brush Guards and Skid Plates Damage Immediately
Skid plates and brush guards are mandatory for protecting radiators, transfer cases, transmissions, and differentials from sharp rocks or other objects on an off-road adventure.
They become scraped and banged up with use and are best made of steel or aluminum. The chrome versions are useless and are made for most SUV owners who have never gone further off-road than a highway soft shoulder.
8 Negative Camber Results in a Useless “Stance”
While standard road cars have tires aligned vertically, the wheels (tires) of race cars are often angled inward at the top. According to Tirebuyer, “Negative camber maximizes the tire contact patch when it’s most needed in a performance driving context – under load, during hard cornering.”
For a passenger car driven on city streets and highways under the speed limits, an extreme camber is nothing more than cosmetic.
7 Racecar Brakes with Holes are Attractive but…
Slowing a vehicle down requires converting forward momentum into heat energy and storing it in the brake rotor. A larger rotor provides more storage capacity.
However, if the car is used for trips to the grocery store or hauling the kids to their soccer game and not racing on a track for a long period of time, the extra capacity is useless.
6 Safety Features Beneficial Only to Race Car Drivers
Through the years, car manufacturers have made significant improvements to safety by adding features that protect the driver and passengers in a collision. Adding additional safety devices like racing car seats and restraints, while they are essential on the racetrack, offer little if no additional protection to the average driver.
Safety options offered by the manufacturer are a better choice.
5 Stylish Roll Bars
A roll bar or cage on a race car, whether it’s on asphalt or a dirt track, is a critical piece of safety equipment. On a passenger car, its purpose is questionable. Stylish roll bars are often structurally insufficient to provide protection when it is needed the most.
As such, they are nothing more than a decoration that may or may not improve the vehicle’s appearance.
4 Illegal Neon Underglow Lights
The Fast & The Furious movie franchise has motivated many young drivers all over the world to adorn their vehicles with neon. Although these car owners claim it attracts attention, to others, the external lights are a distraction.
Many enforcement agencies agree. The lights are illegal in many states in the U.S.
3 Protective Front-end Bra
The protective cover that installs over the grill and the front part of a vehicle hood, commonly used on older Porsches, to protect the paint, is an accessory going by the wayside.
Not only do these look ridiculous, but car bras don’t protect the paint. They damage it by trapping dirt and moisture that rubs against the body finish.
2 HID or Xenon Lights
Xenon headlights or High-Intensity Discharge (HID) lights have grown in popularity in recent years as an alternative to halogen headlight bulbs.
Although they produce less heat, the blue-white light emitted by Xenon bulbs is bright enough to blind oncoming drivers. Tests have also shown that HID headlights do not improve road visibility.
1 Annoying Spinner Hubcaps and Floater Wheels
Spinner Hubcaps and Floater Wheels serve no purpose on a vehicle other than to annoy the driver of every car in the same area (as well as any pedestrian onlookers).
Although spinner hubcaps are illegal in many states, they continue to be one of the bestselling items at specialty car modification shops.
Sources: thrillist.com, endurancewarranty.com & carbuzz.com