April 2009
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Can I add this modification to my car?

Hyundai Coupe/Tiburon with body kit at Ceylinc...
Image via Wikipedia

A common question and dilemma a lot of prospective vehicle owners have are around what modifications they can perform to their vehicle and what are best purchased as factory installed options. This post attempts to guide such buyers through that decision.

Modifications that cannot/should not be done after purchase of a new vehicle without considerable effort & cost and putting your warranty in question and having to deal with questionable quality: 


Chick Magnet
Image by icathing via Flickr
Image by joes2005via Flickr

(Please do think many times before you go down this path. Your/your parents’ hard earned money may make you the laughing stock of the world).

Thumb rule: If your rear  spoiler is more than a few inches taller than boot/roof and looks like clothes can be dried on it and still does not have anywhere near as much horsepower as a spaceship:  YOU ARE OVER DOING IT. You have enough warning from all websites ridiculing “show but no go” / “rice rockets” .

Safe modifications that can be done at any time by the dealer or by reputed independent vendors anytime after you purchase a new or used vehicle:

  • Adding/upgrading ICE (Head units, in-dash/flip down/headrest mounted displays, speakers, sub-woofers, tweeters etc)
  • Upgrading headlamps/adding fog lamps
  • Adding alloys & changing to tubeless tyres
  • Up-sizing tyres(when done correctly)
  • Sun film
  • Vinyl stickers/paint jobs
  • Central locking/power windows
  • Remote locking( easier to do if the vehicle already comes with central locking)
  • Security systems
  • Remote starter
  • Backup sensors, alarms, cameras
  • Air filters
  • Spoilers and body kits(stock)
  • Sunroof
  • Upgrading Horns (within legal limits)
  • Adding cloth/leather seat covers /re-upholstering the seats/changing to racing style seats
  • Changing to sports steering wheels (smaller in size etc) (not advisable if your car has driver side steering wheel mounted airbags)
  • Portable fridges/coffee warmers
  • Central Armrests/ consoles
  • Interior fake wood/carbon fiber/chrome type finishing
  • Door pads/roof upholstering
  • Sports type pedals
  • Gear knobs

Though these are considered “safe” modifications – if done carelessly they can damage your vehicle and also void the warranty. So do shop around and don’t be in a hurry, take your time to evaluate the installer, their wares and warranties before you spend your money.

Anatomy of a rice rocket
Image by churlvia Flickr

 A thumb rule to a vehicle owner to help determine if they are over-doing the modifications – if you are spending more than 25% of the value of the car on accessories and modifications – you are definitely going overboard with the modifications. You would have been better off buying a costlier car which would give you most of the features you have added on and in addition have the comfort and peace of mind that comes with a OEM backed warranty and service network.

Have I covered this in sufficient detail and covered the usual accessories and modifications? Are there any questions on these – please do post your thoughts through the comments on this blog.

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2 comments to Can I add this modification to my car?

  • That modification sure looks wacky. Its best to keep the car in stock condition from the outside, a sedate spoiler is the max you should go ahead with to prevent the car from looking wacky :p

  • Sushil

    Thanks Indian Car Blog. There is always a fine line between a aesthetic mod which quickly blurs and becomes over done. Now I need to put up pictures of my car and then wait for comments :-).

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