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5 Awesome Car Mods We Love [and 5 We Hate]

japanese car mods
Driven

From slammed rides to lifted tacos and wild turbo-powered sleepers, we love modifying cars. And if you’re anything like us, you spend hours thinking about how you’re going to modify your car. But, when we check Instagram for inspiration, we noticed there are some mods we absolutely love and some that we just can’t stand.

In this article, we’re going to break down 5 mods we love and 5 mods we hate! Let’s go!

We Hate: Cat Deletes and Rolling Coal

gmc truck rolling coal
Bicycling

First up is a mod that isn’t just bad for your ears, it’s terrible for the environment, and terrible for car culture in general! Look, we car people need to play nice with the rest of society or they’re going to take our toys away. Just look at what the EPA is doing. So, if you’re out there rolling coal or removing your cat back, you’re literally ruining it for those of us fighting for your right to party.

First off, modern catalytic converters are super-efficient, so it’s pretty unlikely that you’ll gain power by removing the cat. You’re just doing a bunch of work and spending a bunch of money for no gains. Plus, you’re introducing extra harmful gases into the atmosphere, which is rude and totally unnecessary in a car you’re using to drive back and forth to work in. 

Don’t believe me? Have you ever seen pictures of Los Angeles during the 1970s? Hope you enjoy asthma! Sorry guys, we love burning prehistoric goop as much as anyone, but we also want to preserve this little blue marble for as long as possible.

And the longer we can keep the lawmakers from crushing dreams, the longer we can keep enjoying the next mod on our list: one of the best car parts to ever be invented, the sassy screaming snail, the turbo.

We Love: Turbos

turbocharger
Dell’s Service Center

We love turbos for a variety of reasons. First, turbos mean power, and we love power. Chances are if you’re making over 500 ponies to the wheel, you’re probably using a turbo or two. Turbos make it easy. While others are swapping cams and tuning to gain 10 horsepower, you’re turning a knob on your boost controller to unleash the fury of dozens of horses upon your tires.

Second, if someone takes the time to turbocharge their non-turbo car, it means they really love it. And we love it too. Nothing sounds quite as sweet as the whistle of a turbo spooling up, the swoosh of the wastegate releasing, and the scream of a high-horsepower 2J breathing in the proper amount of air.

If you have the patience, budget, and skill to properly turbo your car, it means that you have a real passion for cars like we do. And that’s awesome, because real car enthusiasts are getting kind of rare.

Just do us a favor. I know engine mods and horsepower are essential, but looking the part is just as important these days, like a well-tailored suit. Fitment is essential in making your ride look as good as it sounds.

We Hate: Terrible Fitment

wheel fitment
The Type X

Now, I’m not just talking about stance here. Sure, a set of HRE wheels and slightly stretched tires tucked right up against a fender is an impressive feat. But this extends to properly sized wheels. You don’t have to be dragging your sidewalls to be well fitted, but you shouldn’t be a sunken battleship either. 

Everything in moderation, right? A little bit of stance can make a car look nice, but the minute you can’t actually drive your car anymore, with tires stretched so thin they’d pop off in any cornering situation or wheels so wide and heavy your weak ass 4-banger struggles to make it up a hill, it becomes really stupid.

So, you know, make sure your car is capable of doing what it needs to do. And if it isn’t capable of enough, this next car mod, or mods, is here to prove your old Miata is able to do a lot more than you think. 

We Love: Battle Mods

car with battle mods
Imgur

Battle cars are normal cars modified to go where cars shouldn’t, adapting 4Runner suspension onto a Toyota Camry, rattle-canning the body and adding metal bumpers, off-road lighting, and fat mud tires. That’s all pretty much par for the course, turning your boring old daily driver into a ride fit for Valhalla!

And it’s not all about looks, battle cars are purpose-built. There are actually race series dedicated to taking a clapped-out hooptie, turning it into an off-road machine, and heading into the forests to compete against other maniacs.

Series like the Gambler 500, the Hooptie X, and unsanctioned racing during the King of Hammers will have you using every inch of your ingenuity and driving skill, all while having more fun than someone is allowed to have. Remember, if there are no roads, there are no rules of the road.

Now, a lot of these cars are modded for fun, and trolling for haters is part of the sport, kind of like making a Safari Porsche that isn’t air-cooled. Sorry, Brad! But what happens when you’re not trolling? You’re just bad at making a car look cool? Well, then you might have bought the wrong body kit, my friend.

We Hate: Bad Aero

bad rear wing aero mods
Ideal

There is nothing less cool than a bunch of aero bolted to a car where it doesn’t belong. We’re not saying we hate big wings. We just hate seeing bolted-on canards and poorly fitted widebodies put on cars that clearly don’t need it. 

Your beaten-up front lip that drags everywhere isn’t cool. Your hood vent that feeds air to your naturally-aspirated Honda Accord isn’t adding any power. And that wing you installed is killing more power with its weight than it’s adding turning grip with its downforce.

All we’re saying is maybe do some research before you buy that eBay wing, and really consider whether or not it’s worth installing a front splitter if you can’t afford the rest of the kit.

Now that that’s out of the way, when aero is done well, it’s so good. And that’s why it’s also one of my absolute favorite mods ever. 

We Love: Aggressive Aero

time attack car
CarsGuide

Widebody kits, leg-slicing front canards, drop-vent hoods, and speed holes cut into the trunk all turn your sports car into a time attack beast when done right. We love that aggressive, eat-the-track-alive, forcing-air-to-work-for-you aesthetic. 

Honestly, it’s madness, a guilty pleasure, because it doesn’t even matter if the car is slow, we think every car should look like something ready to eat some asphalt. Modifying the body of a car is one of the most game-changing things you can do to a car. It makes a statement that everyone can see.

So, just like how bad aero can ruin a car, great aero can say to the world, “I’m not afraid of your judgment, I’m going too fast.” On the other hand, the next mod on our list just screams, “I’m super insecure.”

We Hate: Fake Badges

fake m badge car
Pinterest

Look, the average person on the street doesn’t know the difference between your Civic LX and a Civic Type R. Seriously, go ask them. If you want, play the game on hard mode. See if anyone you know, even some of your fellow Forza players, can tell the difference between a Focus Titanium and a Focus RS at a glance. 

The only people who know what the badge means will know you’re fooling. Everyone else won’t care. So, don’t do it. 

Now, if you want an easy and cheap way to make your car stand out. The invention of vinyl wraps and Plastidip are here to help your broke ass turn your boring beige Honda into a racecar on the cheap!

We Love: Wrap and Dip

cool vinyl car wrap
Pinterest

If you asked us 5 years ago what we thought of wraps, we’d joke about how sandwiches taste better on Dutch bread. But today, the world of wraps means that the paint industry is pretty much dead. I mean, why spend all the money and time on a deep paint job when you can basically just put a giant sticker on the car?

Wraps represent a really amazing avenue for car enthusiasts on a budget. You see, back in my day, painting a car cost a ton of money and a custom paint job was something that used to be reserved for only the people with the deepest pockets. But, using Plastidip or a vinyl wrap, you can totally customize your exterior on any budget, which gives everyone the ability to let their creativity free.

And the best part? It’s usually reversible! So, when you want to sell the car, you can take it back to stock pretty easily! That’s really cool because it unlocks all these visions people have that used to be hidden away behind a paywall, and being true to yourself is an ideal thing to do.

On that note, definitely avoid this last mod we hate, since it’s definitely not being true to yourself or anyone else. Fake engine noise is one of the silliest, biggest sins that’s popped up in recent years and we hate it.

We Hate: Fake Engine Noises

fake engine noise truck
The Outline

We’ve all seen those fake blow-off valves on the internet that make it sound like your car might have a turbo. Or how about these sound packs for your Tesla that make it sound like it’s a V8? That’s a serious yikes.

What’s worse is that some companies like Ford are pre-installing this mod for you. That’s a huge no, Ford. Knock it off. It’s alright to do for a laugh, but we all know that one guy that thinks he’s fooling people. Trust me, bro, you ain’t fooling anyone, especially when we see you leave the light and your car puts down a 0-to-60 time of a few weeks.

Speaking of authentic, this final mod that we love is all about blending authenticity and personal style!

We Love: Period-Correct Customization

period mods plymouth duster 340
Barn Finds

Let me start out by saying that I love RestoMods and crazy custom cars like the Hoonicorn that are classic cars with modern modifications. But, I also love cars that are modified in a period-correct style. If you have an E30 BMW, before you stick the same 18-inch BBS wheels on it that everyone else has and add the same bolt-on fender flares that you see everywhere on Instagram, consider some actual 1980s style with a simple ducktail instead of a wing and an old school front splitter straight out of Group B.

Sometimes it feels really important to keep older styles alive. It’s really rare because it’s so easy to modernize a car to make it look sick, so that rarity kind of makes period-correct builds extra cool! It’s like owning a time capsule, driving a piece of automotive history and experiencing it the way tuners did back when that car was new. 

Plus, I guarantee that you will get way more interaction at car shows with vintage mods because every person there will want to tell you about the first time they saw whatever it is you did to your car. It’s a way to keep traditions alive and learn a lot, which is a ton of fun.

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