5 Essential Tips on How to Modify Your Car on a Budget
Not long ago, we published an article highlighting 5 ways to personalize your car. In this one, we’ll give you some guidelines on how to modify your car on a budget. That doesn’t mean being cheap and making your ride look like a Christmas tree with a bunch of AliExpress car mods. It means you must be clever.
Obviously, if you drive a new Mustang or BMW M4, you won’t be reading this. These tips will be useful for people owning a car from the 90s, the last decade, or even newer but with a basic trim package.
So, if that’s you, stick around.
Now, let’s start by answering one of the most common questions you’re probably asking yourself.
Is It Expensive to Modify a Car?
Yes, most car modifications are expensive, but that doesn’t mean you must spend a fortune. There are many ways to save money without compromising on quality. As stated in an article on DMotus:
“It’s not all about the money! You can do a fantastic job if you have basic car customization knowledge, know how to research properly, and visualize what you want to achieve.”
With that being said, it’s time to get into our 5 tips on how to modify your car on a budget.
1. Set a Budget for Your Project
Seasoned car enthusiasts will tell you that setting a budget is the first step to any successful car modification project. How can you do something on a budget if you don’t have one?
Nowadays, getting carried away with all the customization options for cars is easy. But without a realistic budget, you’ll often find yourself stuck in the middle.
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So, sit down and figure out how much you’re willing to spend.
Take into account not just the cost of the parts but also any additional expenses like labor, shipping, and taxes. Once you have a number, make sure you’ll stick to it.
2. Prioritize Your Car Upgrades
Before you start the project, it’s good to prioritize the changes you want to make. We’d assume you don’t care about fuel economy or gas mileage, do you? Focus on the car modifications that will have the most significant impact on performance or appearance.
It will help you stay within your budget and avoid overspending.
For example, if you’re looking for some extra power, start with a cold air intake and exhaust system upgrade. Then, allocate some money to enhancing your wheels, tires, and brakes so your car can handle the additional horses.
3. Shop Around for Car Mods
Don’t settle for the first parts you find. Take your time, read some blogs, and compare prices from different suppliers to find bargains. You can also look for used parts like suspension components and alloy wheels that are still in good condition to save even more money.
We mentioned AliExpress in another example earlier, but that didn’t mean you shouldn’t buy anything from China. As you may know, most exterior and interior car mods sold online by big automotive tuning websites come from there.
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4. Learn Some DIY Skills
Reputable auto customization shops charge a lot of money for labor costs. Such expenses quickly add up and will eat up your car modification budget. If you’re serious about sticking to your budget, learn how to do some of the work yourself. It will keep your finances in check.
Most of the car mods sold on Amazon have detailed installation guides. You can learn how to install pretty much any upgrade on YouTube. There are countless DIY threads on every online forum. You get the point!
5. Don’t Compromise on Safety
While it’s important to stick to your budget, you shouldn’t neglect safety. Make sure any car modifications you make won’t compromise the integrity of your car.
Yes, you’d probably have to invest more money upfront, but it will save you headaches in the long run.
As suggested above, an intake system and a couple of exhaust upgrades are great for starters. Most cars will handle a few more horses on stock brakes and suspension.
But what if you blow your entire budget on a big power adder and full exhaust system, making your car a lot faster? Fast cars are fun, but you also need better handling on corners and to stop quickly.
Otherwise, when you hit the road, you’re putting your and anybody else’s life in danger. And that’s just not right.
What Should You Modify First on a Car?
Well, that’s a tough question to answer, as it’s all about your personal preferences and what you want to achieve with your car mods. But we’ll give you some basic guidelines, assuming you’re starting with a bone stock vehicle.
Most people would start by changing the wheels and installing lowering springs or coilovers. Generally speaking, these two upgrades are not very expensive and will improve both the looks and handling of your ride.
To further enhance the exterior, you can add a front lip or a trunk spoiler, tint your windows, get an aftermarket grille, etc. These are also relatively cheap customizations and can be done at home.
For the interior of your car, vinyl wrapping a few trim pieces like the center console, dash, and door inserts is a great start. Next, you can get a new shifter knob/boot and have your steering wheel reupholstered.
As mentioned earlier, when it comes to performance, a new air intake and some exhaust upgrades like headers or mufflers will make a difference and won’t cost you much. Consider ECU tuning along with those.
We hope these tips will help you start on the right foot with your car project and make informed decisions about how to spend your buck wisely. Here are some key takeaways to wrap this thing up.
- Remember, modifying your car is a journey, not a destination, so it’s important to pace yourself and plan for the long haul.
- When you find car mods that you really like, don’t rush to hit the buy button; read the reviews and see if you can get the parts at a better price.
- No matter what you do and how excited you are about modifying a vehicle, keep this in mind: More power means more risky situations. Your car safety is your responsibility.