7 Most Misused Car Performance Modifications
In some circles, the cool thing is to have a pimped out ride, or at least, a ride that’s been modified and beefed out. Car enthusiasts who value having custom cars may choose to add some custom features that lead to some drastic modifications on cars that were perfectly functional, but now, with added modifications, have become counterproductive. Additionally, some of these added parts are strictly exterior additions, and are essentially useless, since no changes were made to the actual engine. There are many other modifications that are often misused, or end up being useless because of improper use and installation. Here’s a list of the seven most misused car performance modifications.
- Giant Wings: One of the worst car performance modifications you can possibly have are giant wings. First, let’s make sure the difference between a spoiler and a wing is clear: there are no gaps between a spoiler and the trunk it rests on, and its purpose is to decrease the slope of the airflow path down on the back of the car. This is supposed to decrease drag, increase mileage, and keep your rear window cleaner. For cars with giant wings, this isn’t true at all. Oversize wings add more weight to your car, pushing the back tires down and affecting the steering and control of your car. In fact, not only do most cars with oversize wings not increase their performance and speed, but they are actually physically unable to reach the speed that the wing’s down force is supposed to achieve. The wing, in these cases, is actually picking up the wheels in the back that you want to push down, making it even more unsafe to drive. Depending on the shape of the wing you choose, the aerodynamics of your car could be negatively affected, creating drag instead of alleviating it.
- Aerodynamic Body Kits: For car lovers who don’t want to actually lower the car’s suspension, but still want that “low suspension” look, a body kit seems to be the best answer. However, body kits in the wrong hands can end up being very dangerous if not installed properly. Furthermore, some are downright ridiculously looking, without adding much to the down force or aerodynamics of the car. Using body kits that weren’t designed specifically for your car, or using parts from other car models will only harm your car, not improve its performance.
- Low Profile Tires: Low profile tires, otherwise known as “low-pros,” are expensive upgrades that may seem fancy due to less rubber surrounding the chrome wheel, but in reality they are quite difficult to maintain. Once low-pros get older, they begin to crack around the tire sidewalls because of sun exposure. While low profile tires are bigger and do offer more traction, the most important thing is the quality of your brakes. Without powerful brakes, the whole point of getting low-pros is counterproductive, since their desired function is to provide better handling and reduce weight below the suspension. Furthermore, you have to be extra careful around potholes, since hitting a pothole at just the right spot can crack the tire rubber right open, and replacing these bad boys are expensive. ($1,000 a pop).
- Race Car Clutches: Putting a 450 horsepower race car clutch into a 200 horsepower regular ride is borderline insane. Whenever car juice heads get a sports car, they try to satisfy their need for speed even further by adding a pair of Flowmasters and a K&N CAI, one of the heaviest, most impractical clutches you can find. The king cobra clutch even has a 450 horsepower warning. Although these beastly looking clutches don’t actually make the car go faster, they will cause some train on your left leg in traffic. On your tired and lazy days, shifting hastily will do much more damage to your car.
- DIY Lower Car Suspension Kits: It’s true, lowering a car’s center of gravity does allow you to handle and steer the car better, while feeling less shock along curves and over speed bumps. But when you try lowering the suspension yourself, you may run into problems, and rather fatal problems. For one, if you simple hooked on to the biggest set of springs you found under your car, without adjusting the rest of the suspension, you’ve created “bump steer.” Now when you hit a bump in the road, no matter how small, your car will now steer in that direction. If you didn’t even buy new springs, you just cut your perfectly well functioning springs in order to lower it, and thus, your car no longer has a functioning suspension system.
- Exhaust Systems: Super loud exhaust systems are one of the most sought after modifications for hot rod enthusiasts. It makes a car’s engine seem louder and more powerful, possibly adding to the intimidation factor. However, if your car has a poor exhaust system, it will magnify the sound, making your car seem beat up and about to break down. Instead, focus on getting a sound muffler, or something less restrictive than a super loud exhaust system. You want to let out more of the engine’s natural tone, not amplify it and annoy your fellow drivers.
- Blow Off Valve: Race car blow-off valves may make your car sound like it has an impressive jet engine, but do you really want to hear that loud hiss of compressed air all the time? During rush hour, every time you lightly step on the gas pedal, the annoying loud noises from the blow off valve will not make your car perform better, but it surely will bother your fellow drivers.