DO YOU NEED ALL THESE ACCESSORIES?
Many young people love their cars and sometimes go to great lengths to make them look sexier by adding lots of mostly useless accessories. So here is a list of some of the expensive things your car really does not need:
Big tyres: A set of big tyres will certainly make your car or SUV tall but may also make the ride and handling unstable. Auto engineering is no joke and auto companies put in great effort to select the tyres for best performance. At most you can go up one wheel size, for example from 14 to 15-inch wheel rims and fit a lower profile tyre, such as from 85 per cent to 75 per cent to keep the tyre diameter roughly the same. A fatter tyre will definitely give better traction but at the cost of higher fuel consumption.
Fancy branded tyres: Slick advertising can con you into believing that a particular brand or tread design will make your car perform better. These might make a small difference to the ride or handling at considerable extra cost but it will not make your car sexier since very few people will even notice.
Alloy wheel rims: These shiny chromed rims, sometimes with precision cut diamond finish, definitely look terrific on any car. They are fine for new cars but a huge extra expense if retrofitted.
Fancy wheel caps: Shining chrome wheel caps can look quite glamorous but may cause unnecessary air deflection and higher fuel consumption if they are not designed by a car company.
Spoilers: Sleek spoilers do give a sexy look to your car’s roof line or to the top of your boot but they really do nothing for performance. They are important for race cars as they push air upwards to increase the downforce for better traction but they only work at high speeds over 100 kmph. They are thus useless at city speeds and the extra drag will also increase fuel consumption.
Bull bars or bumper extensions: These can make your car or SUV look ‘macho’ and make you feel like they increase your safety. But you are wrong. Your bumpers and fenders are designed to collapse in stages in a crash so that you and your family stay safe in the passenger compartment. Steel extensions will transfer uncontrolled shock to the chassis or body of your car and projecting pieces may also be dangerous for other people on the road.
Sun-roofs: These add a lot to the cost of a new car and are fun if the climate is pleasant enough to roll them back but they are seldom used in very hot or cold climates. It is also pleasing to see the open sky and trees on an open country road but it’s not much fun on the crowded streets of a city.
Roof racks: You may admire the sleek roof racks on some sporty cars transporting sporty people with their skis or surf boards in films but in reality these are very rarely used except on intercity taxis. They also increase air resistance and therefore your fuel consumption. —The author is the region’s most respected automobile columnist.