MODIFY WITH CARE

By CHARL BOSCH

As a teen, the buying or receiving of your first car is a special experience. Finally, you have the freedom to go anywhere you want. No longer do you have to rely on your parents for pick-ups when the clock strikes 12. You then, however, might decide to watch a television show like MTV’s Pimp my Ride or The Fast and the Furious and perhaps become enticed to modify your car. Be cautious, as this decision could have dire consequences.

If you were to watch a hip-hop or R&B music video you would, most probably, see large American SUV’s such as the Hummer or Cadillac Escalade rolling on big “chrome” rims with fat tyres. There are also, usually, pretty woman in these videos flung around the vehicles. The reality seems to be, however, that these modifications serve only as to make cars look ugly and repel woman as we will soon see.

Some popular types of modifications include the fitting of “Formula 1” style wings or boot spoilers which, in motorsport, are used to keep the rear of the car down at speeds under aerodynamic load. The truth is, however, that equipping a wing on a CitiGolf, for example, will do nothing except possibly make the vehicle a bit heavier on fuel thanks to the aerodynamic drag it will inevitably cause.  On the subject of big wheels, fitting wider wheels can ruin your car’s ride quality and make it heavier on fuel.  If your car was not designed to have 19” rims fitted, do not fit them, instead, fit the size they were designed for.

Modifications on a Chevrolet Aveo gone wrong

One would also, in music videos, find cars that have had their suspension dropped or “slammed to the ground” as it were. Although the idea of having such a car, colloquially known as a “low-rider”, may seem cool, the lowered suspension will definitely have a negative impact on the way your car handles the corners. Lowering the suspension could cause your vehicle to slide and become “wallowy” or, in other words, change it from a car to a boat.

Now, for all you Casanovas out there wanting to impress woman with your cars, do not bother. In a study published by the UK’s The Telegraph in 2009, it was confirmed that woman, between the ages of 21-40, would more likely be attracted to a man driving an expensive car than men in cheaper models. But here is the catch, do not try to modify your car to make it look expensive.

The feeling seems to be mutual locally too. When speaking to ladies on campus, enquiring as to whether or not they would date a man with a modified or normal, everyday car the majority responded with a “no”. Comments such as “it’s a turn off” or “I don’t want my man to look like a pimp” were common and the biggest turn off seemed to be, ironically, the, loud, obnoxious sound systems fitted to cars. It might work in taxi’s but not if you want to impress a girl. Many of the girls also said that they would prefer to go for a man whose car looked nice or had been cleaned. Putting on spoilers or big wheels could give the impression that you are trying too hard or that you have no “class”.

If you do want to seduce women with your car without trying too hard, however, here is some advice:

If you are going to modify your car, do it in a tasteful way. Replacing the factory fitted plastic wheel covers with inoffensive, yet, good-looking rims, of the same size, may help. If your car has a tape player fitted or lacks a radio, choose an aftermarket unit that will integrate with your cars dashboard and make it seem factory fitted. If you are going to fit a boot spoiler, avoid fitting the “Formula 1” styled version and, instead, choose something that looks discreet. Fit something that integrates with your car but which also looks sporty and tasteful.

Pink Hummer H2 in the USA. Modifications look horrible and is an insult to this capable 4×4

These small touches can make the difference. Modifications can cost a lot of money and, let’s face it, if screwed up, it can lead to an inferior and, more often than not, tasteless vehicle.

In conclusion, modifications cost a lot of money, especially for a student. If one were to make changes, make sure not to regret it, especially at selling time. Be careful and do not be stupid.

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