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Things to Customize your car

AvatarCars are more than just a means of transportation, they are an expression of our personal taste and extension of our personality. We choose a vehicle based on our needs, lifestyle and what we can afford. I imagine some Civic owners would rather drive a BMW M3 but the Honda is more cost effective.

So how do we take a common car like a Honda Civic (for example) and customize it so it stands out with enhanced performance? Below is a list of items that you can easily upgrade on any vehicle and will allow you to customize your car without breaking the bank.

1. Wheels/rims

One of the most dramatic ways to make a huge improvement on the look of a vehicle is to upgrade the factory wheels to larger, bolder, shinier aftermarket “rims.” The rim is technically the outer lip part of the wheel but it is also slang for aftermarket wheels. There are so many rim choices; colours, styles, offset options – the possibilities are “staggering” and can lend to an awesome and/or outrageous custom appearance for an otherwise common car.

When choosing aftermarket rims, check the fitment guide to ensure that the wheel size, bolt pattern and offset are the proper fit for your car. Costs vary and you don’t have to buy new. Check the classifieds and you’ll see lots of rims for sale. Take into consideration the used condition and savings versus the cost of new.

2. Suspension/stance

Once you’ve upgraded to larger rims and (possibly) low profile tires, to further enhance the sporty look, you can opt to lower the vehicle. This can be done two ways. The cost effective option is lowering springs which may work with your OEM shocks. The more costly option is a coilover kit which enables greater drops in ride height. Either will improve the sport handling and likely stiffen the ride. Some coilovers have shock dampening adjustment. Either way, the objective is to reduce the wheel gap which lends to a sporty and aggressive stance.

Depending on how much the car is lowered, the control arms may need to be adjusted to correct the wheel camber so the tires wear evenly. Aftermarket adjustable control arms will be necessary if you significantly lower the car. I suggest getting the suspension work done by an experienced mechanic and having them perform a front-end alignment after.

3. Window tinting

Tinting your vehicle windows is relatively inexpensive and has several benefits beyond good looks. Tint will reduce sun glare for better visibility when driving and help keep your cars’ interior cool. Tint will cut down the suns’ UV rays that age the interior materials. Most people tint their windows for privacy and added security to conceal valuables left inside.

Be aware that Ontario law gives a police officer the discretion to charge a driver if the tint on the drivers’ window is so dark that the view looking inside the vehicle is greatly obstructed. Generally a 35% tint on the front windows is a safe bet. From there, it’s a matter of personal taste if you go darker on the back windows. 20% tint looks good. 5% is “limo black” and very difficult to see out of at night. A good tint job costs around $250 for a sedan and comes with a lifetime warranty.

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