If you’re looking for a way to improve your life, consider doing some of these mods. Seriously. Car modding is a hobby, a passion. Everyone has a different hobby, which can become a passion. For a car enthusiast, money on cars is spent just like an average person spends on groceries. It’s not that they are born into money or make so much money that they always seem to have the money. No, it’s just that they make it an intentional habit. Just like you don’t forget to brush your teeth every morning (hopefully), they don’t forget to make sure some mod is finished or a cheap deal found.
Not all mods are equally well done and not all look equally good. Consider a lift kit. If you have the smallest wheels, biggest lift kit and a body that’s slapped with twenty emoji faces, you should consider your rationale. Who exactly are you trying to impress? Because no one is impressed. Same goes for a stanced car. Really? While a car enthusiast will know, the average driver might think your car is just broken.
So we decided to compile some mods that’ll make your car look good, and some mods that’ll make your car run smooth.
20 PERFORMANCE ENHANCING: CHANGE SPARK PLUGS
A spark plug essentially delivers electric current to your engine. It has a metal-threaded shell, electrodes and an insulator. Much like any of the other devices that deliver electricity, this bad boy is grounded by being screwed into the engine’s cylinder head.
Most of the time, manufacturers will say that spark plugs don’t need to be touched until a minimum of 30K miles have been driven. However, just like any other internal parts, this one can start decaying faster than expected, which could cause several things, such as engine misfiring and engine surging (procarmechanics.com). Unless it’s brand new, if you improve it, you’ll see some increase in performance.
19 PERFORMANCE ENHANCING: AFTERMARKET EXHAUST SYSTEM
Much like your body has a way of eliminating gases, so does a car. Gases are a natural byproduct of the beautiful chemical reactions that take place inside the cylinders, and the exhaust system is there to vent the gases from the engine.
While every car has a factory exhaust, not all of them are of good quality. If you get an aftermarket exhaust, you can in fact increase both power and performance.
Of course, it’s not the equivalent of adding a turbocharger or supercharger, but it saves those ponies lost in the pipes of the poor exhaust system. Plus, the fuel economy increases too (yourmechanic.com).
18 PERFORMANCE ENHANCING: UPGRADING BRAKE PADS
While all the attention often goes to where the engine is, brakes are equally important. It’s the equivalent of making more and more money in business, but never stopping to see where the unnecessary spending is happening.
Buying brake pads that are made with the intention to make your stoppage as predictable as possible is really helpful. You don’t have to go buy the performance-version ones. All you need is a simple set, and you can change them on your own too if you have the inclination to do so. So having quality brake pads really makes the driving experience much, much more enjoyable.
17 PERFORMANCE ENHANCING: STRUT BARS
Okay, so what is a strut bar? Well, it’s a bar that kind of connects both towers of the struts in the hood. It essentially unifies the two ends via that bar, which provides more stiffness and rigidity, which essentially improves the handling of the car.
When cornering, now both sides will compress equally, as opposed to compressing more on the turning side as would have been the case before the strut bar placement.
It should be noted that a strut bar can also help in reducing the body roll. It’s generally not of much benefit for every day driving except for when cornering.
16 PERFORMANCE ENHANCING: ADDING SUPERCHARGER/TURBOCHARGER
And if you wanted to really make your car run smoother, here’s one that’s perhaps not as easy or price friendly as some of the others, but is definitely going to give you a drastic increase in your performance. You can get either a turbocharger or a supercharger.
The turbo can give you a good boost at lower RPMs, although you’ll also get the concomitant turbo lag. If you get the supercharger, you can avoid any delays, but the real power won’t come until higher RPMs. Either way, you can’t go wrong with more power, unless you mean to do something illegal.
15 PERFORMANCE ENHANCING: CHANGE TIRES
This is perhaps one of the easiest things that can be done. It's also perhaps one of the most noticeable changes that you can directly experience in your car. The bouncier the tire, the better your ride quality will be.
Start from the beginning, though. If your tires are running low on air, go get them filled up. That will definitely make a difference. But sometimes, it’s best to just get new tires.
If the old ones are wearing off and can't handle the stress of your abuse, consider changing them to see a dramatic increase in your driving experience.
14 PERFORMANCE ENHANCING: ECU TUNING
The ECU was one of the greatest things to happen in the automotice world. Much like a lot of other software-run programs, the ECU is also managed by computers. And that’s the beauty of the thing. The ECU is programmed to do various things at once and change other things depending on the feedback it gets.
So when the system is set like this, you can have a premade performance chip that can be plugged into the OBD/diagnostic port and that will change things around for the better. Such a change can increase the mileage and give a better engine performance overall. With moderation, it’s a healthy thing to consider.
13 PERFORMANCE ENHANCING: ADJUST YOUR THROTTLE
Sometimes you can do really simple things in your car to enhance how it runs. One of those is throttle adjustment. If your car is old, it might be equipped with a cable throttle that physically connects to the throttle pedal and throttle body on the engine.
As you know, with use comes wear. But here, the “wear” is as simple as the throttle cable becoming slack.
So when you push the pedal, you won’t get a direct response, as the slack cable has to become taut before it does the next step. You can take a wrench and adjust the cable yourself in about 45 seconds. And the gas will be drastically different now.
12 PERFORMANCE ENHANCING: CHANGING MANUAL-TRANSMISSION FLUID
Unlike automatics where the driver doesn’t have to do much with the left foot and the right hand, manuals require more driver input. And for the most part, it’s a good thing, unless your family members don’t know how to drive a manual, in which case it’s both a bad and a good thing, depending on your perspective.
However, it’s not a bad idea to have the transmission fluid changed regularly in a manual. The metal literally grinds on to metal, which is how gears work. Over time, the oil gets contaminated and becomes old, which slows down the efficiency. Changing the transmission oil will enhance your car’s performance.
11 PERFORMANCE ENHANCING: REPLACE THE STEERING-RACK BUSHINGS
Most new cars—and new is being used rather broadly to describe cars made after 1973—have a race-and-pinion-steering setup. The system is basically set up such that the steering wheel is connected to a rack, and that rack is guided by either the electric motors in modern cars or hydraulic fluid in older cars to give you the steering. Now, the rack has something called rubber bushing that holds it in position, with various other items.
It is these bushings that you replace with polyurethane bushings to give yourself a car that has a much, much more sporty and precise handling.
10 LOOKS GOOD: HEADLAMP COVERS
This one here looks pretty good. You generally don’t want to pick a color that’s way off the mark, but as long as it’s something reasonable, you can still have various shades that you choose from. That way, you can kind of see which color best suits the exterior of your body. You also want to make sure you get something that doesn’t exactly block the visible light, or your driving may suffer. You can easily do this on your own, and if done correctly, it’ll look all good. On top, the cover will protect your headlamp from the elements.
9 LOOKS GOOD: CUSTOM WRAP
This is one of the best ways to really make your car shine. There are a lot of people who don’t care about the exterior of their car one way or the other, but I’m sure a car enthusiast would. Avoid anything that’s just plain wrong like obscene images and fake NASCAR sponsors—but besides that, use your mental taste buds wisely.
Can you have that cartoon character that you have always wanted since you were a child? Sure. But should you get it? Ehm, I’ll leave that up to you to decide, but just know various alternatives exist too.
8 LOOKS GOOD: PINSTRIPING
If you don’t want to make a big move with the exterior, that’s also fine; consider pinstriping. You can either use actual paint which is more permanent, or use pinstripe tape, which is not only removable, but is also easier to handle.
Make sure you get tape that is well-known for adhering to surfaces, otherwise, it will look sloppy, and you definitely don’t want that.
You can either use your imagination or get inspired from the internet. This should be somewhat reserved for cars from the ‘60s, ‘70s and the like, though. It looks solid on them, but not necessarily on your Honda Civic.
7 LOOKS GOOD: AFTERMARKET STEERING WHEEL
This one applies to only specific cars. You can’t do this trick with every car out there, as the steering wheels already look pretty decent in most cars. So it really depends on the appearance of your interior. If the interior is good overall, but you think the steering wheel could benefit from a change, you can find an aftermarket steering wheel. A bad steering wheel isn’t limited to an average car though. Sure, if you check out the steering wheel of the Dodge Neon, you’ll find it could have done better, but the same could be said of the Lamborghini Diablo.
6 LOOKS GOOD: SHIFTER MODS
I’ll have to give different advice on this. If it’s an automatic, you can go ahead and become creative. You can put on the swiftest and the most characteristic hilt that you can find on the internet.
After all, it won’t impede your driving or performance and will look rad. But if you have a manual, then things become a little different.
You can’t exactly put a hilt on the shifter, or it will be really difficult to shift gears come the need to do it, which is like every other second. At that point, you want to be conservative and go for something that won’t impede performance.
5 LOOKS GOOD: SEAT COVERS
This one is not only for showing off. If you invest properly, you will and should get a good experience too. And sometimes it might just be worth it to get some aftermarket stuff as opposed to getting some luxurious but overpriced item from the dealer in new cars. Yes, it’s a brand-new car, but as long as you’re okay with it, you can easily accommodate good-looking, but cheaper covers that’ll make the seat look about as good as something new the dealer might be trying to sell you. And if it’s a daily driver you have got, well, then as long as the color scheme is not outrageous, you should be good.
4 LOOKS GOOD: MODDED HOOD ORNAMENTS
I’m generally not that big of a fan of customizations, as most of the times what I see on the roads is just a bit too much for me. But hey, it’s their life and car, so they can do whatever they please. But this one is something that looks pretty good. It’s just a custom ornament that’s put on the hood.
Considering the nature of this mod, it’s probably best suited for classic cars, as opposed to the new stuff. Now that I’m picturing it, it would look totally cool on a Trans Am, although you’d want to check on your state’s law regarding such a customization.
3 LOOKS GOOD: CONSOLE COVER
Here’s another good one, a console cover. If you do a quick Google search, you’ll find that you can kind of get anything that you want. Now, here’s the thing that you actually want to do. You want to get something that not only looks good, but is also substantial.
Because if you have sensitive elbows, a hard center console really won’t add much of value to your life.
You want to make sure that you get some sort of a cover that doesn’t act like a rock, while also making sure it doesn’t look like the top part of a furry slipper.
2 LOOKS GOOD: WING MIRROR & ROOF WRAP
Here’s one that looks pretty good. Get some contrasting colors and put the wrap on your wing mirrors and rooftop. This works exceptionally well on smaller cars, and the very first thing I’m reminded of is the Mini Cooper. You can do it on your own too.
While the wing mirrors won’t require much space, if you plan on covering the roof, you’ll definitely need an ample amount of space. And dust-free space, yes, dust-free space or you run the risk of messing up the whole project. It’s a good mod to try; give it a shot.
1 LOOKS GOOD: FANCY RIMS
If pictures and movies have taught us one thing, it’s that fancy rims are associated with a rich lifestyle. And if reality has taught me anything, it’s that such is not necessarily true.
But there’s one common thing I think we can all agree on: when done properly, these rims look good, especially if the rest of the car looks good. And even if you’re a little tight on money, you can get something decent for a fairly cheap price.
Sources: jalopnik.com, offthethrottle.com