Ever more popular, car exterior accessories are big business and many love the individuality these modifications can give their car. This is just a general guide to some of the more popular accessories out there.
Note: most of these exterior accessories are classed as modifications, therefore you may very well have to tell your insurance company about any changes you make.
A body kit is considered the ultimate car exterior accessory, which can transform the look of almost any car and is a popular accessory for many.
A body kit can consist of a front spoiler/bumper with built in spoiler, rear boot/hatch spoiler, rear valance extension/bumper with built in valance extensions and side shirts.
Some have wheel arch extensions or even full wide body extensions. Be aware that some arch extensions will require modifications/cutting of the bodywork.
You can spend as little as £30 on a small spoiler or £000’s on a full top notch kit.
These fit on to the bottom of your cars bumper and can give a racing/aggressive look for little money.
These are for allowing cold air in and hot air out from under the bonnet – depending on the position and the direction the vents are placed in/at. Most people just have fake ones fitted for styling purposes. Be aware that most functional vents will allow water to gain access to the engine area when it rains.
Scoops and Bonnets
Whether functional or stuck on to your bonnet, a scoop can make your car look powerful and aggressive. The non functional ones however can lead to additional drag. The functional ones can be used for that extra air flow that your engine may need. There are many after market bonnets also available, with some weird and wonderful designs and of course if the bonnet is made from fibreglass (careful with heat here) or carbon fibre, you can make a weight saving. Again, be aware that most functional scoops will allow water to gain access to the engine area when it rains.
Apart from the fact they help you see what’s behind or even to the side of you, mirrors can also be stylish and even help in the aerodynamic area as well.
Many original manufacturers grills, leave a lot to be desired in the styling area and a lot of this is to do with them needing to place their badge/logo somewhere. Replacement grills with removed badges and neater styling are available. Or you could do it yourself with some mesh and have the pleasure of saying ‘you’ did it. Don’t be tempted to cover the grill area however, as the radiator needs the cool air flow.
Number Plate Surround
So you got your nice number plate, why not make it stand out a bit more with a nice number plate surround.
There are many designs appearing on the market today. From lexus style lights (standard, chrome and black). Led lights with the lights made up of many led bulbs. Carbon fibre lights. Blacked out/tinted/smoked lights (must have reflector showing somewhere on the back to be legal). You can also buy the spray to blackout your own lights.
Additionally you can add rear light covers/guards and chrome surround trims.
Front lights can be expensive. Have a look at some aftermarket lights such as, Halogen lights, led lights, angel eye lights, HID car lights (Xenon) or even blue xenon replacement bulbs for your original headlights (be careful checking the law in your country, as certain coloured lights on the front or back may be illegal).
Again there are front light masks/covers, light brows and clear covers. Smoked covers are available, but I’m sure these are not road legal in most countries.
Light Conversion Kits
For those who don’t like the look of their lights, there are conversion kits, that transform that front end look.
Side Repeaters (Indicators)
Styled, chrome look, clear and smoked may be available.
Under Car Neon Lighting
Note – it is illegal to drive with these on. These can look good on a show car and can help highlight all those little and major modifications you have made.
From bee sting aerials to complete removal and replacement with an internal aerial kit, you can tidy up your car and reduce drag at the same time.
Looking for that racer look. There are graphics for any part of your car (Windows, sides, bonnet, boot, mirrors), just about anywhere. They come in all types of styles such as, tattoos, tribal, racer, flames, strokes, stripes, animal pictures, odd designs, again just about anything.
A popular customizing accessory (if you can call it that). Both an exterior and interior styling touch, tinting windows has been carried out for many years and not just for styling, but also for security and privacy reasons.
You have a choice to have it done professionally (more expensive and hassle free) or do it yourself (much cheaper, but your skill level may determine the finish). You can buy tinted film in various shades and colours and even sprays (would give the sprays a miss). It’s not as easy as you may think, bubbles, lines and fitting/cutting to the right size can be quite tricky depending on your skill and the shape of the glass you are fitting it to. Partial or full pre-cut kits can be bought and even pre-shrunk rear window kits can now be bought. What ever you decide, research forums and get advice from those who have carried it out on your car before you make a decision.
Law: The front side windows on all cars must allow 70% of light to pass through them. This also applies to the windscreens of cars first registered before April 1985 and 75% of light through the windscreen for those after. A new law came out in 2004, which states that you are no longer allowed to tint these front side windows, as manufacturers already have tints applied to their windows which already only allow between 70%-85% light.
This is for obvious reasons, a drivers’ ability to see out the car will be reduced and if you are caught with tinting to the front side windows, you can face a fine of upto £2000, points on your license and may not be able to drive the car home. Clear security film, if applied to the standard required should be ok however.
Rear window – shrinking
Side window application
Eclipse Body Kit