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30 Expensive Car Mods That Are Completely Useless

Cameron EittreimJanuary 29, 2021

2018-Nissan-370Z
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.

2018-Nissan-370Z
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.

Silverado
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.

bmw-e36-
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.

BMW M5
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.

Mazda-RX-7
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.

RX-7
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.

MazdaRX7-1-1
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.

RX-7
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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