Off-roading has always been popular, but when body cladding came into the style it took it a step further. Plastic body cladding can be glued or drilled onto the exterior of a car, but drivers took things too far. With the wrong amount of body cladding, cars ended up looking tacky and dated.
Furthermore, the body cladding was also a standard option on most SUVs around the early 2000s and it quickly died off. drivers just didn’t want to drive around in something that resembled an off-road tank.
Chrome door handles were a fad that came in around the same time as the spinner rim craze. Generally oriented toward full-size trucks, it wasn’t uncommon to see chrome door handles that matched the rims. While this upgrade can look great at first, the cheap chrome accents age quickly and lose coloration.
This means in just a few years, the car or truck just looks dated and you have to take the chrome off. You’ll seldom see chrome door handles on cars or trucks any longer unless it’s a factory option such as on the Ram Big Horn.
Along with chrome door handles, another fad was adding chrome mirror covers to your ride. Chroming in general is going over the top, but especially so if the chrome is just fake plastic. This fad was mostly relegated to the Escalade and Navigator, but you’d also see it on lower-end models such as the Tahoe.
Chrome mirrors have also seemingly disappeared from the landscape as consumer’s tastes have shifted. With trucks being more luxury-oriented from the factory, the need for chrome mirror covers isn’t there anymore.
With all of the other chrome that was being slapped on cars and trucks in the early 2000s, chrome flames were another fad to add. Whether they were being stuck on the fender or the truck bed you’ve probably seen these stuck on a car at some point in time. What makes chrome flames worse than other chrome entries is just how tacky they look, especially on a cheap car.
Chroming was a fun way to add a unique spin to your vehicle, but most drivers went overboard with it. Thankfully the chrome flame fad went away quite rapidly as drivers realized that it was ruining their paint jobs.
Another fad that picked up a lot of steam in the 2000s was Altezza Taillights. These European-influenced taillights were transparent and looked different compared to other taillights on the road. Originally introduced on the Lexus IS300, they soon became an upgrade for all cars. Fortunately, like with most fads, it just went too far and the uniqueness of these accessories died off.
Nowadays Altezza tail lights look like a cheap upgrade, yet you’ll still see them stuffed on everything from a Silverado to a Civic. Drivers still buy them but it’s not close to the fad that it once was at the start of the new millennium. Altezza tail lights are a definite no-no when it comes to customizing your car or truck right now.
When it comes to automotive interior upgrades, fuzzy dice are one of the most iconic fads. They weren’t necessarily expensive but it was something that everyone wanted. Hanging some fuzzy dice from your mirror was a fun and trendy thing to do. Unfortunately, it’s also another way to be pulled over for an infraction and a lot of drivers didn’t like this fact.
Thus, the fuzzy dice craze of the ’90s seemed to have died off. Instead, these were replaced by unique air fresheners and other items that are much smaller. More recently dash cams have replaced fuzzy dice as the go-to automotive window accessory.
Most popular during the 1990s, cow skin seat covers were a fad that went in and out. The comfortable fabric was a welcome cover for hot vinyl seating of the time. However, a lot of drivers grew weary of the upkeep that came with these seat covers. The thick fabric showed dirt rather quickly and a lot of drivers decided against it.
Seat covers are still in fashion but not as much as at one point in time. Car interiors are more durable than ever and the need for a seat cover is almost nonexistent. Cow skin seat covers were a comical fad from the 1990s that most of us fondly remember.
Another fad from the 2000s was fake wood paneling glued over the top of stock interior pieces. The problem with fake wood paneling is that it looked tacky and fake from the gate, oftentimes much lighter in color than real wood. The paneling also cracks and falls off easily as well.
Everyone wanted to “floss” a luxury car but the advent of wood paneling just wasn’t appealing. You’ll seldom find this accessory for modern vehicles but it can still be had for older models such as the Escalade and Tahoes of the early 2000s era.
Before actual rims became standard equipment on new cars, most passenger cars were sold with metal wheels. The hubcaps covered the metal wheels and gave the car an individual style. The problem with hubcaps is that they’d fall off and get scratched over time.
By the turn of the millennium, consumers could purchase all kinds of custom hubcaps. This was a short-lived fad where you’d see everything from spinning hubcaps to blacked-out ones. Fortunately, the automotive industry graced us with alloy wheels as standard equipment and we don’t see these ugly hubcaps anymore.
Another thing drivers spent money on in the 2000s was the billet grill. Common on pickup trucks, the billet grill was a chrome grille. While a billet grill can look great in some instances for the most part it just looks tacky. With all of the other chrome that drivers were slapping on their cars and trucks, a billet grill went overboard.
You’ll see a billet grill from this era from time to time, still making its way around the bend. Billet grills were an expensive accessory that didn’t add any intrinsic value to the car or truck. Instead, it just made the vehicle a target for thieves who wanted to have these expensive accessories for themselves.
Before we had music streaming services, there were CD changers, and for a long period, this was the accessory of the elite. So aftermarket CD changers took the place of factory options and these became quite the fad. Disc changers were frequently stolen and it would cost the driver hundreds of dollars to try and get one replaced.
With the rise of built-in USB functionality and music streaming the need for a CD changer went away. Thus, adding a CD changer is a fad that we rarely if ever see anymore. Most drivers are at least somewhat satisfied with the factory audio options that come with their vehicle.
For a while, blue headlights were one of the hottest fads around, and we’re not talking about xenon headlights. We’re talking straight blue-colored headlights that would blind other drivers on the road. These types of headlights were quickly outlawed in several states and the fines got to be too much for drivers to handle.
Having a unique set of headlights can make your car look a lot better. But if it’s a safety issue for others then the headlights just aren’t worth it. Nothing is worse than being tailgated and blinded by a bright pair of headlights in the late hours of the night.
Another fad of the 2000s was to add custom dashboard gauges to your car. These were everything from flames to the sports logos and could be installed fairly easily. As vehicles got more advanced, the need for physical gauges was gone as everything has become digital nowadays.
Customizing your dashboard is not a very easy thing to do and thus custom gauges are relegated to older vehicles. We’re not sure if a similar fad will make a return as automotive accessory makers try to figure out a way to sell products to drivers.
Along with the rest of the street racing accessory fad that went on in the 2000s there were also camber kits. These are kits that are designed to drop the car obscenely low, and this fad is still with us today. Ride quality suffers tremendously as it puts a lot of strain on the rest of the suspension pieces.
The addition of a camber kit is something that most street racing enthusiasts will try to do at one point or another. Unfortunately, this is a fad that doesn’t necessarily do anything for the car performance-wise or any other ways.
In the early 2000s, most of the cars that enthusiasts gravitated toward were underpowered. These cars include the Acura Integra and the Honda Civic, both of which were notoriously underpowered. Turbochargers weren’t cheap and enthusiasts would stick these on their engines left and right during this era.
Local authorities caught onto these and a lot of these modifications were banned or made the car difficult to smog. Turbochargers are still around now but are standard equipment on most new cars to get more power.
Branded decals are some of the most annoying accessories that drivers have wasted their money on. From the giant Honda sticker across the top of an Accord to the various off-road stickers, you see on pickup trucks. These decals often cost a boatload of money and don’t do anything for the resale value or performance of the vehicle.
Branded decals are perhaps one of the most obscene accessories that have come out of the past decade. Drivers tried to show off their vehicle pride but these decals seemed foolish for the most part.
Auto enthusiasts were doing everything featured in rap videos in the early 2000s. Adding a pair of Lamborghini doors to your Honda Civic or Chevy Tahoe seemed like the popular thing to do at the time. These doors were very expensive to install and it required quite a bit of fabrication to get the job done the right way.
Fortunately, the fad seems to have gone away for the most part; you’ll still see it in the South but that’s about it. Lamborghini doors are a modification that you don’t need and they won’t add any value to the car other than a unique look.
Adding various lights to your pickup truck can be a fun experience but it’s oftentimes unwarranted. LED lightbars came into popularity in the mid-2000s as an add-on to be placed at the bottom of the tailgate. While these lights can make the truck more visible, it takes a lot of wiring and extra work to get it done right.
With the newest wave of modern pickup trucks, it seems like this fad has all but gone away. You’ll see these lightbars on the tailgates of pickup trucks from time to time. Albeit not at all as popular as it once was an upgrade that people would go for.
With all of the other expensive audio upgrades that went into cars around the 2000s, keyless ignitions gained traction as well. Adding a keyless ignition to your car or truck was a great way to get it warmed up for you. Unfortunately, wiring one of these systems is very difficult and it caused a lot of reliability issues in certain vehicles.
Nothing is worse than having an electrical gremlin in your car and these keyless ignitions did that. Most new cars can be started from an app so the need for a custom keyless ignition all but disappeared for the most part.
Baja-inspired trucks became quite popular in the 1980s and early ’90s. Baja lights, which could be mounted at the top of your truck, were a common modification. Fortunately, the lights didn’t do anything in the way of added performance or value to the car. Nowadays most of these lights have vanished although you have an enthusiast show off a pair from time to time.
Baja racing is still a popular thing but these days Baja trucks come from the factory, such as the Ford F150 Raptor. The Baja racing scene has changed a lot since the early days and Baja lights are just another car fad that drivers unnecessarily spent money on.