Most car people love to tinker. We enjoy taking a car that was meticulously designed for years by a team of engineers, getting it into our driveways, and thinking “I can make this better.” The best part? Sometimes we’re right.
Car mods don’t always come out correctly. Sometimes you get cheap parts that just don’t hold up like the factory ones. Other times, your core idea about what to modify could be totally wrong. If you’ve ever high-centered your Jetta trying to enter a gas station at H2Oi, you may have had the wrong idea about what parts of your car needed to change.
Sometimes, though, your mods actually work. An upgraded suspension can shave seconds off your lap times, or a big-brake kit can cut feet off your stopping distance. Something seemingly small, like an oil cooler, can preserve your engine for years to come. Depending on your use case, modifying a car can lead to real, tangible benefits.
This isn’t because we enthusiasts are necessarily smarter than the engineers who designed a car for a manufacturer — we just have different priorities. A stock car needs to pass noise, vibration, and harshness tests, meet fuel economy standards, and still be built cheaply enough to be sold for a profit. Strip those needs away and suddenly the case for modification becomes a lot stronger.
So what’s your favorite car modification? Did you outfit your Raptor with some long-travel shocks for tearing through dunes, or does your GTI now have a sweet-sounding pod-filter intake? Even simple things, like forcibly updating your car’s infotainment system, can make a world of difference once you’re behind the wheel. We’ll compile your best answers today, and make a top-ten list this afternoon.