3 aftermarket car mods worth the splurge -- and 3 you should avoid

From turbochargers that push car performance to the limits, to window tinting that cools your interior in a stylish way, aftermarket car mods have absolutely exploded in popularity over the past decade or so. With the multitude of options at various price points, it can sometimes be difficult to determine what aftermarket car mods are actually worth buying.

Mods have varying degrees of usefulness, and then there’s the risk of buying inferior products that can’t possibly live up to the high standards and expectations you set for your ride.

In order to help you determine which aftermarket car mods to invest in, we’re focussing on 3 mods that are worth the splurge and 3 you should avoid.

Splurge: Suspension

If you want a car mod that will drastically increase your car’s performance and give you the most bang for your buck, it’s hard to imagine anything more worthwhile than an upgraded suspension.

Unlike engine mods, suspension mods are relatively easy to install, requiring little complex mechanical expertise. For this reason, suspension mods tend to cost far less than engine mods.

Suspension mods also have a wide variety of customization available, from off-road setups to help deliver a smoother ride, to racing setups that enable better handling and performance. It’s hard to overstate the benefits of a suspension mod. Who can say no to better performance, handling, and gas mileage?

Avoid: Sound Systems

Amateur modders are sure to think about upgrading their stereo systems as the first stage of car customization. There’s an obvious appeal here to cranking out sweet tunes at the highest audio fidelity and with a kickin’ bass.

Beware, though. Stereo systems are one of the most overrated and overpriced mods out there. The additional equipment will bog down your car’s speed and performance, tank its resale value, and hurt its gas mileage.

The appeal of a stereo mod goes back to the days when manufacturers deliberately installed shoddy sound systems to save money and promote upgrades. Today, everyone’s cranking up the volume, and automakers know it. Modern cars have perfectly acceptable stock systems with great audio quality.

Unless you consider yourself a true audio aficionado, there’s little to be gained and lots to lose with a pricey audio mod. We recommend giving it a pass.

Splurge: Air-Intake

Another relatively inexpensive mod that will give your vehicle a nice performance boost, air-intake system upgrades are a must for a variety of reasons.

Car enthusiasts love the fact that they give their car a boost in pure power, while students and those on a budget will appreciate them for helping keep their car in good working order for longer.

Since they are relatively inexpensive and easy to install, air-intake systems are an easy choice for first time modders and veterans alike.

Avoid: Obnoxious Body Kits

Body kits have become the poster child for the car modding community. This level of popularity is thanks to shows like Pimp My Ride and films like The Fast and the Furious, not to mention video games as high-profile as the Grand Theft Auto and Forza series.

The popularity of modding culture has brought with it a tendency towards bright, loud, and obnoxious body kits. To feed this demand, more and more companies pop up each year selling low-quality body kits that will only make your car look garish and cheap.

Before you buy a body kit, make sure that it’s made by a reputable company and ask yourself if you really want to be seen with that kit everywhere you drive. More importantly, there are better ways to improve performance and look stylish at the same time.

Splurge: Turbochargers

The ultimate mod for getting the best performance possible from your vehicle is undeniably a turbocharger. With a little fine-tuning, your car’s performance can easily go up by a few hundred horsepower. Be careful, though: turbochargers are definitely not a DIY mod.

They are very powerful and dangerous, with poor tuning sometimes resulting in the part literally blowing up. If you’re planning on getting a turbocharger, make sure you go to a professional.

If you’ve got the cash and a trusted source, a turbocharger can be a complete game-changer of a car mod.

Avoid: Underglow

Like body kits, underglow is a visible and popular car mod. Unlike body kits, however, there are virtually no positives to getting underglow. While certain body kits can improve airflow and performance, all underglow does is illuminate your car’s undercarriage.

Gaudy, overpriced, and utterly useless, this is one car mod trend that everyone should be glad to see going the way of the dodo.


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