Car modification lets you completely personalize your automobile, giving it the performance, style and features that you’ve always wanted. At the same time, if you ever plan on selling your car in the future, you need to be aware that certain types of upgrades and mods can negatively impact resale value. Likewise, if you plan to drive you vehicle on the street on a regular basis, it’s possible to go overboard with the go-fast gear and end up with a less-than-comfortable cruiser.
Let’s take a look at some modification tips that will help you preserve your automobile’s character, comfort and value.
1. Ask Yourself: Can This Be Undone?
In many cases, a given car modification doesn’t have to be permanent. Anything from bolt-on parts like exhaust systems and headers to lowering springs and larger-diameter wheels can be easily removed when it comes time to sell your vehicle. Keeping the stock components on a shelf will make it a lot easier to move on when it comes time to sell, and you can often get a much higher return by selling your speed parts separately rather than installed on a car or truck.
2. Do a Real-World Reality Check
There’s no question that a super-slammed sedan or coupe can look great, but the real question is: Does this car modification actually let you drive on the streets and roads you need to use every day? If you live in a place where potholes, rough pavement and speed bumps are a fact of life, you should reconsider just how low you’re willing to go on a vehicle you’ll be driving on a regular basis. If you can’t get into the parking lot at work without scraping your car, it’s probably time to raise things up.
3. Weigh Big Power vs. Stop-and-Go Traffic
Big turbos, aggressive cams and heavy clutches are great on a race track, where you have the chance to keep your car in its peak power band lap after lap, or at the very least until the end of the quarter mile. After spending 15 minutes in heavy traffic, however, your knee and ankle will most likely be complaining about having to slip the clutch over and over to keep from stalling. Your engine temperature might start to rise and your idle may not be at all happy to keep things churning under the hood.
Pursuing impressive numbers on the dyno is a lot of fun, but translating the side effects of those car mods into real-world driving can be more of a nuisance than they’re worth. Try to find a balance between street and track when planning out any car modification.
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Photo courtesy of Morguefile.
Having been bitten by the car bug at a young age, I spent my formative years surrounded by Studebakers at car shows across Quebec and the northeastern United States. Over ten years of racing, restoring, and obsessing over automobiles lead me to balance science writing and automotive journalism full time. I currently contribute as an editor to several online and print automotive publications, and I also write and consult for the pharmaceutical and medical device industry.