Is Having An Extreme Paint Job On Your Car Going Too Far?

uphaa tunning car painted jobs 3 300x219 Is Having An Extreme Paint Job On Your Car Going Too Far?

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The idea of an extreme paint job on your car is not something that many would consider acceptable. Extreme paint jobs are reserved for the adventurous and wild-in-spirit men who feel that expressing themselves visually would add to their sense of fun and fulfillment. They usually pick artwork that reflects their personality or hidden desires. For instance, an extreme paint job on a car could be one of a lion or other respected strong wild animal. Another example of an extreme paint job would be making the car look like a jigsaw puzzle. The possibilities are as endless as the flight of one’s imagination.

Quite interestingly, extreme car paint jobs began as early as 1910 where varnished wood was used on the car surface, sanded down and refinished. Painting took as long as 40 days although the paint color was mainly in black.

Twenty years later, when the spray paint gun was invented, it changed the way car paint jobs were done. Not only was it a quicker method because the drying time was faster but you had more color choices. Acrylics only came out around the 1950s and cars were placed in an oven to save time.

It was in the 1970s that the Japanese began to experiment with a 2 coat painting system, the use of metallic paints and metal flake paints. Eventually stickers begun to take over the primary method of adding design to a car until high end cars like a privately-owned Lamborghini was decorated using a Sharpie pen by its owner. This was the car that was later on given the name “Sharpie Car.” The result was stunning and impressive so much so that it spurred a renewed interest in extreme paint jobs.

The Sharpie Car mania took place in Miami but it is in Asia where you get to see automobile decoration take it to the next level. In the Philippines, the public transportation vehicle known as the “jeepney” are flashy, wild, and colorful. The general consensus is that they do it as an extension of the driver’s personality and to attract more passengers to their vehicle.

In Pakistan and India, cars and buses are also painted with as much of a wild streak as can be imagined. Experts believe that the owners do this to stand out in countries where the population is stretched to the brim.

Other vehicle owners across the world do it as part of their business plan. It helps advertise their business and create a brand image.

Cool Car Modifications That won’t Crash Your Bank Account

Don’t you look out your car window and see dozens of other cars just like yours? Sure, the color may be different or it may be a newer model but basically, you could be known as the guy with the silver 2010 Toyota.

For a moment, forget about the depressing economy or state of the nation because we’ve got great news for you! It is possible to treat yourself to some cool car mods without having to empty out your bank account. And even if you are tight, these mods can easily be saved up for within a year which means you could be known as that ‘cool dude with the awesome car”

Start with a Great Steering Wheel

Most car lovers are drawn to the driver’s seat and the heart of this is the steering wheel. There are dozens of companies offering custom steering wheels that range from $50 to $500. Choose from standard, leather, carbon fiber, or wood as your base material. In fact, the wheel is part of your personality. You can even buy one “off the rack,” just make sure that if it has an airbag, you get a professional to install it.

Wrap Your Car

Forget stickers because car wrapping is the new craze! Find the design you would love to have your car wrapped in, and order it online. The great news is that you can easily remove them without damaging the paint and start all over again. As a matter of fact, you can even use sticker wraps to hide dents or paint scratches. A full car wrap is expensive but you can opt to get a hood or door wrap and spent as little as $12 per square foot.

car wrap 300x224 Cool Car Modifications That won’t Crash Your Bank Account

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Install LED Lights

The benefit of using LED lights over OEM incandescent is the cost. LED lights can average 50,000 hours of use. It also helps that they are brighter; a big deal for those who enjoy night is driving. You can design how you want the LED lights to look on your car. For instance you could install small strips around your headlights or along the sides of your door. You can also choose the color so it matches your car.  Depending on your decision, the cost can range from less than $200 to over $500.

Install a Remote Starter

For less than $50, you can buy a remote starter for your car although you might want to save up for a higher-priced brand since they are more reliable. You can start your car even before you exit your front door which would work perfectly for winter. Not only would your car be warm, the windows and windshield could be frost-free by the time you buckle in.

Modifications That Cost More in Fuel Consumption and Efficiency

how to reduce fuel consumption 300x166 Modifications That Cost More in Fuel Consumption and Efficiency

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There are simple ways to bring down your fuel consumption even without modifications like slowing down and maintaining a steady pace. If you are determined to modify your car, the chances are high that unless you study the effects of the modification, you could be increasing your fuel consumption in order to achieve the results and bragging rights you crave. Here are a few modifications that would not really do much good for your car other than aesthetically.

The Coffee Can Mufflers

Growling mufflers that makes your car sound like a nasty race car is just plain noisy and nothing else. In fact, they have a tendency to decrease performance and might even get you a citation for being noisy. It will not do anything to increase horsepower. Those who love to hear the growl will step on the gas more often than necessary thereby consuming more fuel.

Fake Ventilation on Your Hood or Fenders

A lot of car owners try to preserve their hoses and engine by trying to cool them down while the vehicle is running by installing hoods or fenders with fake or real vent ports. Those that use the fake vent hoods think it makes their vehicle look more professional. The fact is it is considered tacky and “trying too hard” to look cool but failing miserably.

Big Wings

Unless the car really comes with big wings like a turbo Porsches, these gadgets will create unnecessary drag on the vehicle. Spoilers, especially those that are not made specifically for a front wheel drive car can increase fuel consumption through understeering problems.

Ground Effects like Curtains

Cars that have been modified to create the perception that the car is set low like an aerodynamic race car increases the weight of a vehicle so it requires more fuel to speed up. In addition, these appendages will be vulnerable to damage from humps, road inclines, ramps, and driveways.

Large Wheels

Modifying the size of your tires by a few inches may create that “mean-looking machine.” However, it does add weight and the need for wider turns. This increases your fuel consumption and makes your car’s performance worsen because of limited space for the bigger wheels.

The Nitro Engine: How Modifying Your Engine Can Be Dangerous

Nos logo blue by juju67 300x150 The Nitro Engine: How Modifying Your Engine Can Be DangerousIf you’ve just watched Fast and Furious 6, the movie and itching to modify your engine so it goes a fraction faster at the very least, you’ve probably thought of the nitro engine. This is engine powered by a special fuel made of nitromethane and methanol. The amount of nitromethane can range from 10 to 40%. Nitromethane is a performance additiveThe problem with nitromethane is that it is highly combustible and cannot be used with just any car engine.

Engines capable of using this special fuel used to be called glow engines because the ignition system uses a spark plug that glows. It glows because it has a wire allow made of platinum-iridium and the reaction of heat and the alloy causes the glow.

There are 2 common ways to power up a 4 stoke engine. You can increase your displacement or you can install a supercharger or a turbocharger. A third technique would be to change the fuel which would mean changing the engine.

A nitro engine uses top fuel that has oxygen atoms to burn the fuel. This is what causes the “explosive” action although nitromethane is not as energetic as gasoline.  It does burn faster and you will get more power for every stroke. For instance with gasoline you need 15 lbs of air to consume 1 lb of gasoline. With nitromethane, the consumption is 1.7 lbs of air to 1 lb of top fuel. In a nutshell, you get 8 times more from a specific volume but you do not necessarily get 8 times more power. This is because top fuel is not as dense as gas. At most you can expect a 2.5 increase in power which is already a big deal because you can’t accomplish this any other way.

You will need a carburetor to mix air and fuel. You have a choice between a rotary or sliding carburetor. The carburetor should have the idle screw to control the flow of fuel to engine while in the car is idle but running. There will also be a high speed and low speed needle, also for fuel flow control. If you turn the needle clockwise, you will be able to thin the fuel mixture. This kind of tweaking is usually trial and error until you find the right sweet spot. If you do too much turning clockwise, you could cause the engine to overheat.

By turning any of the two needles counterclockwise, you thicken the fuel mixture and it can cause your engine to slow down because you could be putting more oil into the engine than it can process. Check the exhaust for fuel spillage.

Safety Upgrades for Your Car

evo cage 300x224 Safety Upgrades for Your CarOne thing that can often be overlooked after tricking out your car is safety.  I know it doesn’t sound very cool or can come off like an after school special but it is very important.  With all those performance improvements you’ve made, it is crucial to be prepared in the unlikely event that you have an accident.  Now let’s take a look at some of the accessories and upgrades out there.  The keister you save just may be your own.

Roll Cage

A roll cage is a frame typically fabricated from steel tubing that encases the driver.  As the name implies, a roll cage protects the driver, and passenger in some cases, in the event that the vehicle crashes or flips over.  In addition to the obvious safety benefits, a roll cage also provides reinforced rigidity to the chassis because the cage is typically bolted to or welded directly on your vehicle’s chassis.  The bolt-in type can be purchased prefabricated. As for the custom roll cage, you will probably want to contract out the welding work unless you already are proficient in welding.

Seats

An aftermarket seat that provides more back, shoulder, and hip support will provide you with more assurance particularly when maneuvering twists and turns.It can also provide a more comfortable ride.  More importantly, an aftermarket seat will give you better protection in the event of an accident.
Seat Belts
Stock automobiles come with standard 3-point seat belts.  An aftermarket 4-point or 5-point harness will give you added support in turning conditions and will also restrict body movement in the event of a crash.

Safety gear  

With all this said, we definitely cannot leave out the basics; they are the most economical but some of the most vital safeguards in mitigating injury in the case of an accident.

 

1. Helmet:  A small investment in a helmet will pay you dividends, and can protect you from serious head trauma in a crash.  Probably goes without saying but “don’t buy this one used!”

2. Gloves:  Get a grip!  Racing gloves can provide cushion from vibration and an extra layer of protective skin for your hands.The added control that comes with an increased grip can prevent you from crashing your car in the first place.

In addition, you can purchase racing shoes and a fire retardant racing suit if you want to go the extra mile with your safety accessories. However, it is recommended that at the very least you should have a good quality helmet and racing gloves before hitting the streets or race track.

All About Performance Wheels

 All About Performance WheelsProbably the most fundamental and popular car upgrade can be the wheels.  After all, in a figurative and very literal sense this is “where the rubber meets the road”.  Typically, for the car modder that wants to get the most out of those performance upgrades, opting for larger aftermarket tires and wheels is a must.  This is sometimes referred to as “Inch-Up” or “Plus Sizing”.

For instance, if your car comes with a stock P205/55R16 this means that the tire width is 205 millimeters and its profile is 55% (the lower this number is the less distance there is between the rim and tire tread), and the tire/wheel diameter together is 16 inches.  Using the Plus Sizing approach, you could possibly upgrade to a 17” (215/45R17), 18” (225/40R18), and so forth.  Notice in the Plus Sizing system that the wheel diameter is going to increase, the profile or aspect ratio decreases, and the wheel diameter is going to increase.

Now that you know the basic sizing system, let’s explore what that means performance-wise.  Remember when we talked about the profile or aspect ratio decreasing?  This will stabilize your tread because the sidewalls of the tire are shorter.  Road gripping is also improved and you will get that much sought after performance-style steering stiffness.  In addition there is an improved overall road feel which can be very appealing.  However, there is a word of caution.

With these performance benefits you do have to sacrifice in some other areas.  The lower aspect ratio or profile can make the car more prone to hydroplaning.  A shorter sidewall will also mean that there is less cushion so the ride may be a bit bumpier than with the stock wheels and tires.  You will also need to be more cautious of bumps and potholes in the road.  Whereas you could run right over those chugs in the road before, you will probably want to opt for a more evasive approach after the upgrade.

So, now that you hold some valuable base knowledge of performance wheel enhancements, put some new shoes on your ride.  Oh yes, and never forget the verse contained within the car modder scripture, “honor thy rim and tire”.  Amen.

How to Get that Easy Horsepower Increase

n72100875303511682192be7 300x225 How to Get that Easy Horsepower IncreaseFor the car modder that wants to get that certain edge over the competition, not many things can be more important than squeezing out some extra horsepower.  Some of these tweaks can definitely give you bragging rights on the streets or at the drag strip.  A great place to begin is upgrading the exhaust system.  Although factory exhaust systems are fairly quiet, this comes at the expense of losing some of your horsepower.  You can purchase an aftermarket non-restrictive muffler from $20 to $99 and have it installed for just under $40.  If you’re working with an I-4, you will probably want to opt for a 2.5” to 3” exhaust, and if your I-4’s already turbocharged, going for the 3” is sufficient.  Plan for a 2.5” to 3” exhaust throughout if you have a V6 or V8.

Another great place to look is the Air Filter.  Depending on what car you have, an air filter can lend you a return of several horsepower for a mere $50 to $240 investment.  A Cold Air Intake is a noteworthy mod, and can also be placed in a different and much cooler location than the stock filter.  It is often installed in the fender and can frequently get you more torque and horsepower than a regular drop in air filter.  You can get your hands on one for just under $100.  The level of benefit from the cold air intake can vary based upon the car.  However, if you already have a high-end stock auto there may not be a noticeable difference with this mod so do your homework.

One of the most basic but sometimes overlooked mods is to adopt the old adage of “addition by subtraction”.  Unless you’re planning on racing with the kids in the backseat, which is highly inadvisable, those extra seats in the back are a horsepower-hampering nuisance.  Any additional upholstery or excess “fat” in the rear can also be stripped down to squeeze out a little more acceleration.  Carbon Fiber body paneling is another effective albeit much more expensive consideration.  With a few ideas now in hand it’s time to roll up your sleeves, and transform that Pony into a galloping thoroughbred!

Rookie Guide to Car Modification

In today’s modification market it can be easy for the beginning enthusiasts to be left with their heads spinning and bank accounts sinking.  With so many options out there it can be overwhelming.  We’ve all heard the jazzy marketing claims by companies trying to get the modder to shell out some hard earned cash for “their” product.  Hopefully we can shed some light on some good places to start out if you want to get that extra performance boost out of your car.

muffler 300x192 Rookie Guide to Car ModificationOne of the most basic things you can do to squeeze out some extra horsepower is by starting with the exhaust.  A larger muffler exhaust will decrease back-pressure or air resistance and allow exhaust to more easily exit the muffler. This can give your engine a large upgrade in power.  If you have a 4 cylinder car you will probably want to opt for a 2.5” to 3” exhaust.  If your 4-cyl. has a turbocharger opting for the 3” is adequate.  Go for a 2.5” to 3” exhaust throughout if you have a V6 or V8.

A High-Flow Air Filter can also squeeze out a few extra horses.  If you want to go the extra mile for a more substantial performance changer, a Short Ram Intake or Cold Air Intake can get you there.  Short Ram is typically installed in the same location as the factory airbox, is less expensive than the Cold Air Intake, and may be your only option in some cases depending on your vehicle.  The Cold Air Intake will be installed typically in the fender; often the coldest part of the car.  It will also get you more torque and horsepower than a Short Ram Intake will.

One of the other basic but key things a beginning modder can do is to replace wheels and tires.  After all, with all these changes your car needs to be able to grip the road!  If your car comes with a 15” then upgrading to a 16” or 17” with a lower profile tire can gain you more steering responsiveness and better handling overall.  Not to mention the aesthetic appeal you will gain from the visual upgrade!

The most important thing for the beginner is to do your research.  There is a lot of valuable information out there to sink your teeth into.  Do your homework but don’t get too bogged down to the point you never take action.  So get out there and start transforming that factory spec into a growling, euphoria inducing, eye-catching, and envy evoking aftermarket powerhouse!

The Kind of Car Modifications That Are Considered Illegal: What Not To Do

20121102.201151 trafficpolice The Kind of Car Modifications That Are Considered Illegal: What Not To DoPeople who love to modify their cars are often caught blindsided with illegal modifications if they do the changes on their own without consulting anyone. The problem with illegal modifications is that it can get you into a lot of trouble with the authorities and even cause you to lose your vehicle, at least temporarily. Once pulled over by the police, it’s an open house on what other illegal acts you may have committed like drinking while driving, using your mobile phone while driving, and others. The top illegal modifications that you should avoid are:

Loud Car Stereos, Noisy Exhaust and Mufflers

Playing music in your car and boosting the volume with gigantic speakers is illegal in most states. Not only is it dangerous because it prevents you from hearing car horns, alarms, or sirens, it also disturbs the peace. Unfortunately, the law leaves it up to the officer to decide what is acceptable or too loud.

In the same manner, twin mufflers or those with the wide opening create noise pollution that can disturb the peace, wake up neighbors, frighten other drivers on the road, and other similar potential risk factors. Refer to your local DMV on what is the acceptable modification for your exhaust and muffler system.

Changes in the Vehicle’s Frame and Suspension

Low riders are cars that have been lowered and run closer to the ground. Raised vehicles are cars that use hydraulic suspension systems and can also be considered illegal. The law on frame and car suspension is based on the height of the car from ground up. There are minimum inch requirements from the lowest point of your rims.

Changes in Engine

You are not allowed to make changes in your engine set-up if it violates the Clean Air Act. Some engine modifications can also create a noise which may be above the acceptable standards.

Dark One Way Tinted Windows

Each state has a window tint law. Some do not allow one way tint while others do. You will need to check with your local DMV for more information. Generally speaking one way tint is not allowed.

Changes in Headlights, Taillights

One of the new trends in taillights and head lights is white light which is illegal because it is too bright and can cause accidents on the road. Unusual colors are also considered risky and illegal if it is not the original. Many states do not also allow underglow because it can confuse other drivers on the road.

Any modifications you decide to do on your car can be reason to be pulled over by the authorities. In order to avoid getting into trouble and having to pay stiff fines, ask the authorities.

What are Chop-Chop Cars?

stolen car What are Chop Chop Cars?Did you know that before 2009 a car in the United States was stolen in less than a minute every day? Car theft has decreased since then by about 3.3% according to the FBI and the National Insurance Crime Bureau. Aside from teens going on a joyride, criminals trying to escape authorities, cars are also stolen for their parts or for sale to other countries. Thus, the nickname, chop cars or chop-chop cars was born.

Two years ago there was a major scandal in the Philippines when several stolen cars and high end motorcycles reported in the United States were found in the streets of major cities in the Philippines.  A sting operation by the Manila authorities revealed a whole warehouse of stolen cars from the U.S. being sold with fake papers. Those that were not sold immediately ended up as chop chop cars in many auto supply stores in the capital.

However chop cars are not just found in Asia. They are also prevalent in Europe and the United States. Professional thieves bring the stolen cars to illegal garages where they are dismantled.  In 2012, the estimate on chop cars was at 25% by the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

If you are into modifying your cars and need special parts, be careful who you buy from. The U.S. is only able to solve 12.4% of stolen car cases every year. In fact, it has become so professional that an entire car can be build up from parts of stolen cars. There was one incident in Australia where the Toyota Prado was upgraded from a GX model to a GXL model with the seller making as much as AUS$ 20,000. Not only were parts changed, the odometer was also adjusted by almost 200,000 kilometers.

In terms of liability, if you get into an accident, you may not have secure safety systems like the right airbags or inferior brake pads. Your insurance could also be denied which could open up a flurry of law suits against you if third party injuries and damage are involved.

You may know about a place that sells spare parts but most experts recommend that you give it a skip because you are not guaranteed that the part you want to buy has not been tampered with. You’re much better off buying from authorized dealers and trusted car supply shops even with the higher prices.