Home Cars 30 Expensive Car Mods That Are Completely Useless

30 Expensive Car Mods That Are Completely Useless

Cameron EittreimJanuary 29, 2021

Ford Raptor
Photo Credit: Ford

11: Extreme Seat Covers

Tricking out the interior of your car can be an expensive and fun thing to do. But we don’t always have the funds to do a full interior overhaul. The most common type of seat cover that seems to be selling extremely well is the real tree camouflage sets. Does a seat cover benefit the interior in any intrinsic way? No, and you’ll spend more time trying to get the right fit on your seats.

Photo Credit: Nissan

For some getting a new set of seat covers can be an exhilarating experience. Nevertheless, you can do a lot better by just saving up and redoing your interior upholstery. Seat covers are a definite waste of money for the most part.

Photo Credit: Hot Rod

10: Diesel Smoke Chips

We’ve all been at the red light and had a “bro-dozer” blow a plume of black smoke in our face. This is not a common occurrence from most diesel engines; in fact, these are customized performance chips that are purchased. The problem is that the black plume of smoke doesn’t increase the performance at all, and in the long run it just negatively affects the environment.

Dodge Ram
Photo Credit: Mopar

In some municipalities, these chips are downright illegal although many still opt for them. It is cool that you can tweak your exhaust to make different colors and smells, but in the long run, there is no point to this. Most people who own a diesel truck are going to be using it for hauling and not the other way around.

370Z Via Motor Trend
Photo Credit: Motor Trend

9: High-End Tunes

Tuning the engine is something that a lot of people in the performance community will do. Tuning can be a great way to unlock the hidden potential of your engine if you are running on the track. But for the average driver, a full tune is not going to unlock any intrinsic benefits and for the most part, your car will be the same. Nevertheless, the popularity of tunes has skyrocketed with more affordable technology.

Nissan 370Z
Photo Credit: Nissan

Pretty much anyone can buy a tuner kit off of the Internet now, but if you aren’t trained on how to use it you can seriously impact your vehicle’s computer system. Once this happens it can cost thousands of dollars to repair the damage.

Photo Credit: Nissan

8: Engine Swaps

For the mechanically inclined person doing an engine, the swap can make a lot of sense. You can upgrade to a more powerful core, such as the GM LS family of engines. This is great if you are in the market for increased performance on the racetrack. Not so much so if you are just the average driver commuting to work though.

Photo Credit: Nissan

Most consumers who invest in an engine swap are looking to redo their entire vehicles. The fact remains that you won’t have to do this, instead, you can focus on improving the performance with the engine you already have.

Photo Credit: Mopar

7: Supercharger

Bolt-on superchargers are another seemingly harmless option for increasing performance. The addition can be quite expensive though, and you can look forward to spending quite a bit on the labor. Even with all of that in place, the actual improvements of the supercharger are minimalistic at best.

Dodge Charger
Photo Credit: Mopar

You need to beef up the other aspects of the engine and most consumers aren’t going to do this. Most supercharger setups are extremely expensive to get going, and the rest of your setup will need to be upgraded as well.

Photo Credit: GM

6: Transmission Swaps

Moving onto more detailed performance modifications can cost a fair bit of money. Because most cars don’t come from the factory with a performance transmission, this is another common modification to do. The problem is that the transmission can be very expensive to replace, sometimes over $3,000 or more.

Silverado Via Motor Trend
Photo Credit: Motor Trend

You’ll get a better shifting experience but the overall cost isn’t worth it. Unless you are going to be driving on the track or drag racing the difference in a performance transmission is subtle at best. The overall cost of these transmissions is much more than doing the upgrade will be worth for the mainstream.

BMW 850 CI
Photo Credit: Car Domain

5: Interior Reupholstering

You’ve probably watched Pimp My Ride, and as such you see the various custom interiors that can go into vehicles. Nevertheless, the majority of us are not going to put this kind of work into redoing an interior. The most popular form of interior reupholstering is generally in the lowrider community. The vast majority of these owners will spend thousands on a new interior.

Photo Credit: BMW

But for the rest of us, this just isn’t something that we need to do, instead, you can focus funds on other aspects of your vehicle. The aspect of a new interior could be a nice comfortable thing to enjoy, but you’re not going to get your money’s worth in the long run.

Photo Credit: BMW

4: Run Flat Tires

One of the more expensive automotive accessories that you can get is run-flat tires. The thought of having a run-flat tire is appealing because you wouldn’t have to stress about having a blow out on the road. Nevertheless, the actual effectiveness of run-flat tires for the causal driver is debatable. You’ll probably never end up needing a run-flat tire in the long run and for the most part, this is a waste.

850 Gran Coupe Shifter
Photo Credit: BMW

When you couple the long travel times that you’ll likely never take with the cost ratio these tires just don’t make sense. The ability to upgrade the rubber on your vehicle is one of the most expensive habits that we can do.

Photo Credit: Mazda

3: Quick-Ratio Steering Rack

The steering column of your vehicle could affect how the overall performance is on a race track. Fortunately for most drivers, you aren’t going to need this type of response. The average driver will seldom pilot a vehicle with this kind of feedback, and thus modifying the steering rack is just an expensive waste of time. Similarly to standing a vehicle, there is just no point for the average driver.

Photo Credit: Stance Life

Performance can be delivered in a lot of different ways and the steering rack is not that important. Few performance modifications should be done by the average consumer, and the quick-ratio steering rack is just not that important.

Photo Credit: Mazda

2: Performance Rubber Pieces

Throughout the suspension, you’ll notice that the vast majority is made of rubber. The various rubber piece includes parts of the bushing system, the rack and pinion and the rest of the suspension system. While durability is a promising aspect, the cost to value ratio just doesn’t add up. Oftentimes drivers will upgrade these rubber accessories to no avail.

Photo Credit: Mazda

While you can enjoy upgrading every aspect of your car the rubber pieces are probably the least important to change. Most automotive enthusiasts take full advantage of what their cars can do and what upgrading certain parts will do.

Photo Credit: Mazda

1: Chrome Pieces

One of the most popular trends of the new millennium was adding chrome to the exterior of a vehicle. Most drivers find this to enhance the exterior appearance of their vehicle, but for the most part, there is no benefit. These chrome pieces can be expensive, especially if you are upgrading to factory OEM pieces.

LC 500
Photo Credit: Lexus

While you can enhance the look of your car with chrome accents, the cost that is associated with getting it done professionally just isn’t worth it. You’ll notice that the look of chrome accents on most cars just doesn’t look right.

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