I know some folks who just go to a shop, tell the guys how much they want to spend on customizing their ride, and don’t get involved in the process.
Not me, tho’. And since you’re reading this, I’m sure you and I have this in common.
I love personalizing my cars. Picking the best mods and finding the right way to combine those excites me more than buying the vehicle.
It feels great when people give me thumbs up in traffic or compliments at car meets.
However, customizing your car can be a double-edged sword. It can become a nightmare if you don’t know what you’re doing.
So, I put together some tips to help you avoid common mistakes and get the best results when customizing your vehicle. But first, let’s look at why people have regrets.
Why Would You Regret Customizing Your Car?
There are so many ways to customize a car. It’s not uncommon for people to get carried away with upgrades and ruin their cars. This Benz is a perfect example…lol.
Online forums are full of people who have regrets about certain car modifications for various reasons. Let’s look at the more common ones:
Decreased Resale Value
Custom paint or high-end upholstery material is pricey, and not everyone will appreciate your choices. When it’s time to sell your car, you may be unable to recoup the cost.
As discussed in one of my Tesla articles, some mods will negatively impact what your vehicle is worth on the used car market.
Another reason to be cautious when customizing a car is the risk of voiding your warranty. Low-quality or not professionally installed tuning kits are a good example.
Those are often drilled on, and the manufacturer will deny a warranty claim if your bumper tears.
That’s a common situation with vehicles lowered with cheap suspension upgrades. While these mods are designed to improve stability at high speed, people often get the opposite effect.
The safest way to drop a car is by using quality springs from reputable companies.
Many customizations are not legal. Especially those that affect your car’s emissions. Even LED lights are illegal in some states.
Get familiar with local regulations if you need clarification on something you want to buy.
The Essential Car Customization Tips
Okay, enough of the regrets talk. Now, look at the essential tips that will help you build your dream car.
I won’t go in-depth on the different ways to customize your exterior or interior. I’ve covered those and the most common performance mods in my article How to Get a Street Car Modified.
Think about these tips as general guidelines that I and many other car nuts follow.
1. Do a Proper Research
Thanks, “Captain Obvious,” you may say, but give me a chance to explain what I mean by proper research. People often forget about some crucial things when doing it.
Check what customizations are available for your particular car and model.
Search online for photos of modded cars to see what looks good on your automobile.
Compare the prices of popular accessories like floor mats and seat covers to find the best deals.
- If you want aftermarket wheels and new tires, read a fitment guide to understand your wheel specs.
When considering custom upholstery or new paint, read customer reviews to find a reputable shop.
2. Think About the Car as a Whole
Make sure that each upgrade you make fits with the overall look and feel of the vehicle. Pick parts and accessories that complement the car’s design and style. Looking at these high-end custom interiors will help you get the point.
For example, when you customize a classic ride that has stylish leather seats, sports pedals or racing stripes won’t be a good match. Nice paint and wheels are enough for such vehicles to look cool.
3. Be Realistic with Your Goals
When I said to search online for some photos, I meant pictures of customized cars that spend time in traffic. Getting inspired by custom builds displayed at major car shows like SEMA is a bad idea.
These guys try as hard as possible to make their rides stand out in a very competitive scene. Interior, paint, wheels, everything they can access is over the top because they have sponsors.
Your goal should be to customize your car in a way that reflects your personality.
4. Set a Budget to Meet the Goals
Now that you know what you want to achieve with your project, it’s time to set a budget. Determine how much you want to spend and stick to that number.
I won’t lie to you. Not overspending when customizing a car is close to impossible. Here is what you can do to stay closer to your budget:
Create a list of all the mods you want.
Check the prices and do the math.
Add the cost of labor if necessary.
5. Don’t Be Cheap
Finding bargains is good, but buying low-quality mods will lead to big disappointments. If you’ve exceeded the amount you want to spend, remove or replace something from the list.
There is no point in enhancing your interior with new upholstery using faux leather or buying a $100 steering wheel on eBay. Another example is cheap LED lights or headlight replacements that aren’t energy efficient.
6. Don’t Try to DIY Every Upgrade
Building your dream car all by yourself is something to be proud of. I love spending time on color combos and design. However, there are enhancements that you may pay to get done by a professional.
Adding a vinyl wrap or having your roof and windows tinted looks simple, but things can go wrong if you haven’t done it before. Not having access to the right material might also be an issue.
7. Don’t Neglect Safety
When you’re ready to personalize your car, you need to keep safety in mind. People often neglect that when focusing on the unique look.
That applies mainly to performance modifications. Make sure you buy the best when shopping for suspension, engine mods, and aftermarket wheels. Safety can also be compromised when trying to enhance basic things like your vehicle’s lights.
My Final Thoughts
The most important thing to focus on when you customize your car is to make it unique by matching your personality. My friend Bree’s Tesla Model 3 is a great example.
Choose each upgrade wisely, and don’t be afraid to pay a professional for specific jobs.
Not everyone will complement the mods you’ve done, but this is your ride.
Make it your own, and enjoy it. That's what it's all about!
Customizing a Car FAQ
What are some cool car customization ideas?
There are plenty of cool car customization ideas out there. Some impactful options include custom paint jobs, unique wheels, low-profile tires, or body kits.
You can add personalized touches to your car’s interior, such as custom upholstery, or more affordable options like seat and steering wheel covers.
What are some affordable ways to customize my car?
Some affordable ways to customize your car include adding decals in different shapes, upgrading your lighting with LED bulbs, and installing interior enhancements.
You can also change your car’s appearance by adding new hubcaps or a spoiler or by painting your brake calipers.
What are some popular car customization trends?
Some popular trends now include blacking out your car’s chrome accents, adding vinyl wraps or decals, and installing aftermarket exhaust systems for a more aggressive sound.
Other popular trends are installing LED lighting to the interior or exterior of your vehicle and upgrading your car’s suspension for a more sporty ride.