Promising days are indeed ahead of us, since a fair number of new automakers have announced their arrival to the Pakistani market, which has been in desperate need of a refresh for years now. Along with the market growth, there’s also been a massive growth in car demand as compared to the initial half of the current decade, as a new generation of car buyers floods the markets to make their purchase.
With the arrival of a new generation of motorists, there has also been a noticeable change in the car culture of Pakistan. Gone are the days where you could just stick insane body panels and loud exhausts on to a car and call it a day. These days the modification culture has become quite intricate and interesting.
There are proper racing communities in different areas of Pakistan that vest exquisite attention to detail in their projects and most importantly, don’t shy away from wrenching on their cars everyday. From the best engine choices for each particular car to the suspension setup, weight ratio, tire options, and other geometrical aspects, everything is given exclusive attention while building a perfect project car.
However, that level of expertise is achieved through a lot of trial and error. So if you’re looking to modify your car with any prior experience or extensive knowledge, here are a few things that you must account for before handing your car over to a mechanic.
Suppose you’ve bought an old car and you’re looking to go for an engine swap. Be warned that if you don’t account for its compatibility with different elements of your vehicle, you’ll be in for a painful ownership experience.
Each car is built and wired in a unique fashion and the car manufacturers work years, developing a car whose performance is complemented by its dimensions.
Elements such as throttle response, brake-force, gear ratios, suspension & chassis rigidity, the power to weight ratio, fuel to air ratio, etc. all are tailor-made to fit each car.
So throwing a bigger, heavier engine into a car that is built for a smaller, lighter unit means that you’ll not only mess up your car’s geometry but also damage the car’s entire architecture.
With that said, you must find a proper mechanic who can fabricate and upgrade your car such that it becomes capable of handling the additional power and weight with ease.
If you buy a used car and decide to modify it, it is important to plan your modification in advance. Many enthusiasts go all-in and end up heavily modifying their cars without considering the availability and compatibility of spare parts.
This also causes numerous mechanical or technical failures which ultimately lead to hefty maintenance charges and general displeasure. To avoid such problems, it is important for you to be well-informed about the mods and their long-running effects on the car.
The best means of information about modification are online car forums and communities. These platforms will enable you to identify the parts that are compatible with your car and also allow you to be mindful of the watch-outs pertaining to car modification.
Moreover, you must do a thorough survey of the market to better judge the quality of parts and negotiate the price with sellers so that you can better plan your car’s modifications that fit your budget and need.
Car Value & Warranty
If you decide to modify your car to the degree of fabrication and architectural alteration, you can kiss the resale value goodbye. If your car is new and you’ve fabricated it, you’ll lose the warranty as well.
Even though, ‘fabrication or alteration of a car for performance enhancement leads to the devaluation of the car’, is a fact that is counter-intuitive, but it’s a fact nevertheless. The majority of people in our market are casual motorists who just need a reliable vehicle to get from point A to point B and sell the car at a reasonable rate when the time comes to replace it.
On the contrary, car enthusiasts are unique individuals who care less about reliability and more about the thrilling experience every time they hit the road, which means that resale value and general reliability don’t matter as much.
So if you’re looking for a slightly less troublesome modification, it’s better to opt for bolt-on mods. Parts such as larger diameter cat-back exhaust, less restrictive air-intake, wider and stickier wheels & tires, high-performance suspension, etc. are all bolt-on upgrades that can improve the car’s performance requiring little to no alteration of the original bodywork.
Plus, it would be wise of you to keep the car’s original parts. This way, when at some point you decide to sell your car, you can have the original parts bolted back on and sell the upgrades in the market or online to make some extra buck. This way, not only will you be able to keep the structural integrity of your car, but you would also be able to keep your car’s value unimpaired, as well as the warranty if your car is new.
Another common trend among Pakistani car owners is the cosmetic modification. The ‘ricer’ culture was the in-thing back before 2010, but now people have gotten slightly more sensible. Still, some car owners are still likely to visually customize their cars to stand out.
Some car owners, however, make the error of fabricating the original body-work or replacing the paint-job of their vehicles, which can also diminish the car’s value.
Therefore, to have your car look different and still keep the value of the car, you can again use bolt-on parts such as front and rear bumper extensions, side skirts, and a trunk spoiler, which are easy to install and do not require any alteration to the bodywork.
You can also install aftermarket headlights and tail-lights to differentiate the appearance of your car. But do bear in mind that the lights should be compliant with the battery to avoid any electrical failures.
As far as the paint job goes, it would be wise to not have the car repainted, unless the paint job has already worn out. If the paint is fine and you still want a fresh look, you can have your car wrapped in the color or skin of your choice, which will not only freshen up your car’s look but also preserve the original paint and value of your car.
This aspect is important for stock owners & even more so for the modified car owners. A modified car becomes vastly different from its former factory version after it’s been modified, which means that it no longer has the same old habits and characteristics.
For example, a bigger, heaving engine means that more weight and more power is being exerted on the suspension and tires. A new intake means that the fuel to air ratio has been massively differentiated.
Various new parts would have various effects on your vehicle, which require you to regularly check the essential elements such as mobile-oil, coolant, gear oil, brake fluid, and battery fluid to make sure that the car is working properly.
And most importantly, you must learn to wrench on your vehicle. Modified cars, regardless of who good they are, have a tendency to be temperamental when it comes to general reliability. So if your car breaks down in an unforeseen occasion, you should be able to point out the issue and hopefully fix it at least temporarily to get the thing going again.
Car modification is not for everyone. Those who wish to reliably commute from home to the office on a daily basis should leave their cars as they are, or go for a new car if their current one is broken. But if you value fun over reliability and are willing to put up with the hassles of a modified car, then more power to you.