5 utterly useless modifications we add to our cars


We’ve all seen them – Singapore vehicle owners who can’t help themselves. Drivers who are so in love with their rides they keep trying to “improve” them, giving their car more attention than it could ever deserve (us included, guilty as charged).

But we all like to put our own personal spin on our stuff – especially when these things are pretty open for our friends and family to see. For car owners, your car can be seen as an extension of who you are, and reflects on your personality. Your car is also driven on the roads – which means everyone can see it. So it makes sense that owners would want to modify their rides to suit their taste by adding accessories, modifications and whatnot. 

It is forecast that the global car accessories market will be worth an astonishing $522 billion USD by the year 2022. That’s $522 billion worth of funny bumper stickers and sickly-sweet air fresheners, along with the high-end upgrades and modifications.

However, not all car accessories and modifications on the market can improve your car. 

In some scenarios – like an engine tune or installing an aftermarket full system exhaust – can improve your car’s performance (assuming they are done properly).

Worst case scenario, they can actually damage your car in the long term! And don’t forget that if a modification changes your car significantly then you could end up paying more insurance.

Unfortunately, add-ons rarely work. Especially the cheap ones that you can easily get on Aliexpress ,eBay and other online stores. These modifications also come in many different shapes and sizes, which makes the job of searching for genuine performance parts needlessly tedious. Especially when many of these mods claim to improve your car’s performance. ($20 performance chip for a 35 horsepower boost, anyone?)

So let’s get into the list of some pretty useless mods, and be honest – would you consider having any of them on your own car?

1.Ridiculously Large Spoilers

Don’t get me wrong – spoilers do have an important role to play in improving a car’s performance as well as its appearance. They make vehicles more aerodynamic by “spoiling” the turbulent air movements around the car which can cause them to slow down.

A spoiler on a sports car like the Mitsubishi Evolution or Civic Type-R makes complete sense. It’s functional and serves a purpose. It keeps the car from lifting off the ground and improves grip.

Unfortunately, some drivers seem to think that because factory spoilers make their cars aerodynamic, a ridiculously large, oversized spoilers will make their cars even more so. 

When you take a large spoiler and install it on a 79 horsepower Mitsubishi Attrage, you’re not only adding unnecessary downforce, you will also increase your fuel consumption. 

Like all things – there is an optimum size and position for a spoiler. Once it becomes too big it actually ends up creating drag itself, slowing the vehicle down instead of helping it to achieve greater speeds.


2.Oversized/Poor Quality Rims 

For a lot of owners, this is one of the first things to change to dramatically improve the looks of your car. There are also lots of options here, like lightweight rims, low profile tyres and so on. 

Bigger wheels and thinner tires seem to be the most stylish choice, but there are effects on your car that you need to be aware of before you rush out and splurge on a set of oversized wheels.

If you get your calculations wrong and the wheel plus tire size is too big then you can damage the chassis, while thinner tires are much more likely to get a puncture. Fortunately, a good tire shop and mechanic can stop you from doing so, as they usually test the tires to see if they suit the profile of your car. 

When car owners change their rims and tires, they usually replace the heavy stock rims with lightweight ones to help with handling and fuel efficiency, among other things. 

That is, if you get original ones, of course. There are many replicas and fake rims out there, which obviously cost a lot lesser than their original counterparts. But just because they’re much cheaper than the original, it doesn’t mean replica wheels will offer the same lightweight advantages. 

Some could weigh heavier, and end up costing you more in the long run and some are not made with the same kind of high quality materials, which means they can crack under rigorous driving – which can be very dangerous. 


3. Fake Badges and Decals 

Only car enthusiasts can tell a BMW M series car from a regular one. So you’re not fooling anyone by adding an ///M badge or AMG badge to your base model 3 series. What’s worse is when an owner puts a badge from a different make on their car :

While we are on this topic, excessive stickers and decals are also an eyesore. 

4. Over the top bodykits 

You may be a huge fan of lowered cars, extravagant bodykits, and going sideways over humps. But that isn’t necessarily going to make your ride any more streamlined. On the contrary, adding sideskirts and outrageous bumpers can actually increase drag, worsen aerodynamics and, consequently, slow down your car, as well as increase your fuel consumption.

Of course, body kits can make a car look REALLY good. Even a regular Toyota Altis can look superb with the right bodykit. The problem is when owners overdo it – it tips the point from amazing to horrible. 

5. Excessively LOUD pipes

“loud pipes save lives”

Let’s ignore the straight-throughs and removing of your catalytic converter, since both of these mods will reap you some performance benefits but will definitely land you in trouble with the LTA or TP. What about switching out your stock tailpipe for one that looks and sounds better, and, most importantly, is approved by the authorities? 

Not to mention that most people will think you’re a douche for driving around in such a noisy car. Singapore is small, and when the roads are so close to the HDB blocks, it can get annoying for residents. Everything has to be done with some kind of balance. Yes, an aftermarket exhaust sounds good – but don’t overdo it to the point that people get a heart attack when you drive past them. Not to mention that a super loud exhaust equals to “HEY LTA ! COME CATCH ME !” 

Also, simply upgrading your tailpipe on its own will get you the same result as sticking a Type R badge to your Honda Odyssey and calling it a Type R. 

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