Some people love to ornate their cars with many quirky accessories available on the market. Some may think of these to enhance the “macho” look or incorporate “race-like” features but in reality one has to be very sceptic about what all to include and what might harm the car’s performance.
Below is a list of a few things that may bog down the car’s performance
and are best if avoided:
- Massive rims
Big rims definitely look good; a lot of times people go overboard with their choice of wheel sizes. Shifting from the standard 15-inch wide wheels to 16-inch, which may look sportier is not much of a problem; however if one goes 2-3 inches over the original make then that might cause some trouble. When this happens, the tyres start rubbing against the wheel well liner every time the car crosses over a slight bump. Additionally one must note that large diameter rims are also wider and these can grind against the wheel well walls. And larger wheels also make way for another problem – low profile tyres.
In case of racing cars where cornering grip is of utmost importance, low profile tyres can be advantageous. But going really low profile on road cars can cause serious problems. These kinds of low profile tyres have very rigid side walls and therefore offer very little pliancy. This quality might be desirable on the race track, where one wants the car’s tyres to flex as little as possible under immense cornering forces; it does make for a very hard ride. And it’s not just a question of comfort level. A less pliant tyre will transmit more forces to the car’s suspension, adding significantly more wear and tear to the various suspension components.
- Spoilers & other aero bits
Once again, these are things one finds on race cars and they’re designed for very specific reasons. Spoilers are mounted on the back of racing cars to create downforce at high speeds, which pushes the back down and provides cornering grip. Most aftermarket spoilers one gets at car accessory shops are merely show bits, and don’t really create any downforce. In fact, road cars are perfectly capable of cornering at the limits they’ve been designed without the need for spoilers. All an aftermarket spoiler will do is add drag as the car cuts through the air, which will result in lower fuel economy. The same goes for any other “aerodynamics enhancing” accessories that one gets off the rack at most accessory shops.
- Body kits
The list of automotive enhancements or accessories which have been derived from racing are endless. The job of wide-body kits and air dams is to channel air over and under the car to achieve the optimal drag coefficient, as well as channelling extra air to the radiator, brakes and intake system. All this is fine when the car is a high performance fire-breather. But to put on a body kit on the simple sedan or hatchback is like putting too much expectation on it and more often than not it is going to interfere with movement of the wheels, either in the suspension travel department or steering angle department.
- Coloured/masked headlights
Masking a part of the headlights to get that eyelid effect might be very “Need for Speed” movie inspired but one has to remember that not only is it illegal to modify the primary lamps in this fashion, it is also dangerous as it affects the illumination and pattern in which it lights the road. The same goes for colored lights, most common of which are the blue-coloured bulbs which emit a bright white light. While these might be brighter than the stock lights, they have far less penetration and are more prone to scattering in the dusty Indian conditions. The standard transparent bulb with the yellowish light is the best option because it ensures safety for the drive.
Hence, it may be exciting to “dress up” one’s car in a fashionable way! However one must not cross the line of safety. There are hundreds of car accessories in the market but one has to know which ones to choose and which not to.