Modifying your car can be a fun way to create the custom vehicle that you’ve always wanted. However, you have to be careful that you’re doing it correctly to avoid dangerous issues when you finally hit the road. Fortunately, for as many people as there are who enjoy modifying cars, there is just as much information out there on how to do it, and how to do it well. From choosing the right performance parts to making the best modifications, you will find it all.
It’s easy to start with a dream and a vision, but getting from that point to the end result takes a lot of time, dedication, and hard work. It also takes knowledge and expertise. You don’t have to be an engineer, by any means, but you should know the basics of car repair and modification before you get in over your head. Of course, what you don’t do is almost as important (and perhaps even more so) than what you do when you modify a car.
To help everyone have a better experience with modifications on their car, truck, or other vehicles, here are five mistakes that everyone will want to avoid.
Mistake 1 – Foregoing Safety
Too often, people get into a car project and they want to forego all of the most basic safety features. One common mod is to remove airbags—don’t do it! Even if you think that you’ll never be in a crash situation where you need them, it’s not safe to remove them unless you’ve got another safety modification in mind. Your car needs to be safe, first and foremost, so make sure that your mods aren’t going to put your vehicle (or its passengers) in danger.
The only way you should modify anything related to safety is to improve it, not to remove or reduce the safety features and protectiveness of your car. Always add, but never take away. It’s best if you leave the manufacturer’s systems in place, but at least replace them with something if you do remove any safety features.
Mistake 2 – DIY Electrics
While you can do a lot of DIY work on project cars, electrical work is not exactly for the faint of heart or the inexperienced. Much like home wiring, vehicle wiring is very complex and runs the risk of damage or injury if not properly handled. Not only that but trying to navigate wiring in a car can be a massive undertaking that involves mazes of wires and ports and connections that you don’t even understand what most of it is for.
In our last tip, we’ll talk about knowing when to ask for help. If you are making any modifications to the electrics in your car, this is an essential time to ask for help.
Mistake 3 – Not Upgrading Brakes
So many people add performance parts to make their vehicles go faster but forget to think about the extra stopping power that they’ll need. Especially if you’re planning to drive your car on race tracks or at high speeds in other situations, you’ll want to upgrade to some premium brakes that will stand up to those speeds. There are tons of great performance brakes on the market today. You can even choose some in cool colors to help your vehicle stand out from the crowd.
Brakes are another job that you’ll want to leave to the pros unless you’ve got extensive experience (or a mechanic’s certification) to do it yourself. Getting a perfect fit can make all the difference. If you’re modifying any performance features, add your brakes to the list for everyone’s safety.
Mistake 4 – Spending too Much (Or Too Little)
The next mistake is another common one that people make when modifying a car—not spending properly. There’s a learning curve when it comes to modifying vehicles and you need to be careful that you find the balance. You might want to splurge on cool parts or high-end features, but you’ll quickly realize whether they are worth the investment for you.
In the same regard, you don’t want to spend too little. Buying cheap parts isn’t going to help performance. It will probably hurt it more than anything. Make sure that you find high-quality, well-priced parts that fit your budget. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Plus, if you cheap out on parts now, you’ll likely find yourself replacing them and repairing them more often in the future.
Mistake 5 – Getting in Over Your Head
For as many people who are not sure where to start or how to execute their vision, there are just as many who come with a huge vision and don’t have the means to execute it properly. Overly ambitious projects rarely work out. Not only will you waste a lot of time and effort on a project you’re not ready for, but you could spend a small fortune on parts you’re not even sure what to do with, or that just don’t fit the end goal that you had in mind.
When you modify a car, it puts a lot of power right into your hands. This is awesome, but it can also be awfully dangerous if you’re too ambitious and not quite skilled enough. Make sure that you know what you’re capable of and most importantly, that you know when to call in the professionals.
The Bottom Line
If you keep these mistakes in mind, you’ll have an easier time modifying your vehicle without running into roadblocks along the way. Although we covered a lot of information in a short time, the most important things to remember are to know when it’s too much, know what’s legal, and know when to ask for help. Make the right investment in the right performance parts and don’t skip out on the important upgrades like brakes and safety features. In no time, you’ll have the perfect modified car of your dreams.