Modifying a vehicle is a popular hobby and pastime for many motoring enthusiasts. With regular gatherings and meet-ups to chat and compare vehicle enhancements and personalisation, the interest in creating the perfect ‘pimped out’ ride is more popular now than ever, with a plethora of online forums and communities who upload new pictures, videos and performance reviews to the web every day.
While this is certainly a popular and fulfilling pastime for many, there are certain considerations you must make before getting into the world of car modification. You can visit some of your nearest dealers or look up through prominent car modification websites, which will give you useful insight and knowledge on what you are looking to see as a result and what does it entail on the legal front.
Modifying a car can be a costly hobby when it comes to materials and parts. Aesthetic additions such as body kits and custom paint jobs certainly aren’t cheap (especially when having them added by professionals), and car customisations that are added to increase the speed, power and acceleration of your car are often extremely expensive too.
For many of these personalisation, you can also expect your car insurance coverage to increase significantly too, especially when adding multiple modifications.
Additions such as turbo-charging, supercharging and nitrous oxide can almost double the annual cost of your insurance premium, where body modifications such as bonet bulges and flared wings can increase your premium by over 40%. Custom paint jobs, decals and ‘go faster stripes’ can have a noticeable effect, adding an extra 9% – 15% on your annual cost too.
The overall damage to cars involved in customised vehicle collisions such as these is often much more severe, resulting in insurance companies having to pay out a lot more for the vehicles of both parties involved in the collision. This gives some indication as to why premiums shoot up so dramatically once performance enhancing modifications are added.
Risk of Accidents
The affect that certain customisations can have on your car’s performance on the road can increase the likelihood that you could be involved in an accident on the road. Turbo-charged cars or cars fitted with nitrous oxide boosters are significantly faster and quicker to accelerate than others, which can often lead to cars being driven more erratically in residential and confined areas.
For many personalised car drivers (particularly in the male, 17-23 age and sex group) there are often many cases of illegal street racing. While the glamour of racing movies such as Fast & Furious make these races look exhillatating and action packed, these events often lead to huge collisions, massive damage and tragic loss of life to those participating, and other innocent road users.
Risk of Theft
Modified cars are often a prime target for car thieves. Aesthetic personalisation’s such as paint jobs, body kits and sports interiors are an easy indicator of easy money to thieves, who can often sell cars on once they have whisked it away.
Even smaller modifications such as adding a built in Sat-Nav to a custom dashboard can tempt a thief to target your vehicle, as it indicates there may be other valuable components hidden within the vehicle.
The more money you spend on your car, the more the car is ultimately worth, and the more the car is worth to you, the more it is worth to a thief in terms of resale. If you live in an area that regularly encounters break-ins and burglaries, you may want to think twice before adding customisations to your car that stand out too much.
Guidelines of the Law
There are numerous strict rules and regulations when it comes to personalising your vehicle. It takes only a slight over-tinting of windscreens or a spoiler that ventures too high from the surface of your boot to affect visibility from the driver’s seat, and in the eyes of the law that’s enough to endanger the your own safety and that of other motorists.
Be sure to check the legal requirements surrounding the modifications you are looking to add to your vehicle before getting any work done to make sure you are driving on the right side of the law.
So there we have a quick and simple rundown of things to consider before modifying your vehicle, remember to consider how any extra modifications to your car could affect your vehicles performance on the road.