How to Pimp Your Car

Four Parts:Improving Your Car's AppearancePimping Your Ride ThoroughlyAmping Your Vehicle's SpecsShould You Pimp Your Car?

If you love cars, it's a natural step to want to take the specifics of your vehicle into your own hands. Modifying (or "pimping") out your vehicle is a very open-ended process. Some people want to soup up the look, while others will want practical improvements to the car's specs. Some enthusiasts will want a healthy mix of both. Although car modification can be a very expensive interest even if you do it yourself, it can vastly increase the value and intrigue of your vehicle.

Part 1
Improving Your Car's Appearance

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    Make a plan beforehand.[1] If you're planning on pimping out your ride, it's a good idea to make an overall plan, taking the way each of your upgrades will affect the others. Some aesthetic changes will clash against each other. Even worse, you can run out of space to fit all of the pieces on your car. Run all of the ideas past a car expert before making any financial commitments to them.
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    Paint your car.[2] A fresh coat of paint is arguably the most transformative thing you can do to a car's appearance. If all you're looking for is a better look, you might find a paint job does everything you want it to. Cars can be painted with specialized spray paint in your garage. Due to the value of your vehicle, it's very important to be slow and consistent with your paint.
    • If you're painting the car from home, don't forget to give your car a primer coat beforehand.[3]
    • Car modification garages can offer more intense paint jobs with graphics like flames. These are very stylized, but make sure your car model is worthy of the flair before you commit to something so flashy. Graphic flames on a Toyota Camry won't get you the sort of attention you're looking for.
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    Get tinted windows. Tinted windows add fast class to a vehicle. The mystery factor and privacy of tinted windows can make even an average car look posh by comparison.
    • By replacing factory parts, you may void your vehicle's warranty. Check with the manufacturer before proceeding.
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    Replace your head and taillights.[4] Your headlights and taillights draw a lot of visual attention, as they're designed to be reflective. Changing them for a snazzier design is relatively inexpensive by car mod standards. The subtle difference it makes to your vehicle's appearance won't go unnoticed by those who know where to look.
    • Make sure your taillight modifications are road-friendly. Although you can change your car's look by replacing the lights on it, you still want to make sure they comply with road regulations.
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    Reupholster the seats. While a lot of car modification focuses on the outside presentation, you can revamp your experience on the vehicle by changing the seating. Most stock car seating is cloth-upholstered. For a fashionable touch, replacing this with leather seats is very luxurious.
    • If you go with leather seating, make sure you take care to maintain it as leather demands.

Part 2
Pimping Your Ride Thoroughly

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    Gauge your car's modding potential.[5] While all cars can be modded, some are certainly easier to soup up than others. This is because car modders tend to have preferences for certain models over others, and more popular models will have a greater number of readymade options. Even a broken down beater can be souped up into something special if you have the money for it. If it's your first time pimping out a car however, you can make it easier on yourself by picking a mod-friendly vehicle to start with.
    • Look online for some examples of your car model being modded. Some car models will come up with lots of results, while others will draw a blank. The number of results will probably give you an idea whether your car is seen as mod-friendly or not.
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    Lower your suspension.[6] Lowering suspension has the effect of making your car look more sleek and sportslike. This can be done at a car modification garage. Even a slight drop can have a big effect on the look of your vehicle.
    • On the other hand, you can boost your suspension up for a more rugged look. This option is popular on trucks and SUVs.
    • There is a safety concern involved in lowering your car's suspension. Although it may look cool, you'll be sacrificing some of your car's handling in the process. Keep this in mind if you are considering lowering suspension. A faster-looking car doesn't necessarily mean a better one.
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    Add a spoiler onto the back of your car. Spoilers are meant to give your car the visual impression that it's fast enough to need some aerodynamic support. Of course, for all except the fastest race cars, spoilers are just for show.[7] Even so, many gearheads find the look of a spoiler very appealing on a car. Depending on how common the add-on is to your model, your mechanic specialist may be able to direct you to a spoiler specially suited to the car you want modded.
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    Upgrade the stereo system. A stereo system doesn't change your car's appearance in any significant way, but a new subwoofer will be felt. If you have the money to spend upgrading your car, giving your stereo a facelift will give your vehicle the soundtrack to boot. Best of all, you can be as cheap or expensive as you'd like with reinventing your sound system. A new pair of front speakers might only set you back $50, while a full-blown stereo system can cost you thousands of dollars.
    • Bass isn't everything to a stereo system. A rich sound will give you more listening enjoyment than a rig with all its power on the bass end of the spectrum.
    • Don't be inconsiderate by blasting your subwoofer in crowded areas.
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    Give your car a hydraulics suspension rig. Hydraulics are a theatrical twist on your car. With hydraulics, you can boost your car's suspension and make it "dance". Hydraulics are a big part of car modder culture, and are preferred on vehicles with low suspension, called low-riders. If you want a playful trick to your car, take it to a garage and get this specialized suspension control installed.
    • Hydraulic suspension is pricey, and many outside the car modding community associate it with gang culture.
    • If you're in with a car modding community, you might try joining a car hydraulics "dance competition".

Part 3
Amping Your Vehicle's Specs

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    Change your tires.[8] Tires have a major effect on the way your car looks and feels. If you are interested in increasing the functionality of your vehicle, getting a higher-quality brand of tire for your vehicle can change your experience of driving it. This is an important trick whether you're a car modding or a "casual" car owner.
    • Keep your area's weather in mind when you pick out tires. Some tires are specially designed to function in rain or snow.
    • Generally speaking, the bigger your wheels are, the less responsive they'll be when you're driving.[9] Try to strike a balance between form and function with your tires.
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    Reprogram your vehicle's ECU.[10] Newer vehicles are regulated by an internal computer processor, called an ECU, or "Engine Control Unit". These computers determine how much fuel is injected into the engine at different RPMs. If you want to get an added boost (and fuel economy) from your car, you can buy an input panel for your ECU and have it installed in your car. Although it's only recommended you change an ECU's default settings if you know what you're doing, you can squeeze some extra power out of your car just by improving the efficiency of parts you already have.
    • By cutting out fuel at precise times, you can make your car "backfire", shooting a burst of flame out the exhaust when you rev it. This is not recommended for street vehicles however, and should only be approached if you know what you're doing.
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    Upgrade your exhaust system.[11] Your car's exhaust has a solid effect on your car's power, as well as the amount of noise it makes. Having you exhaust and muffler replaced with something more sleek can help improve the vehicle's efficiency. Some car modders also enjoy playing around with the sound a car makes. Removing a muffler will make your car sound considerably louder. While this might make the car sound faster, it's also inconsiderate to other people using the road.
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    Replace your suspension bushings with polyurethane.[12] Your suspension is typically padded with rubber bearings to improve the car's feel and handling. However, these erode with time. Replacing them with durable polyurethane may be a largely invisible improvement to your vehicle, but it can do wonders for a vehicle's handling if you've been driving it a while.

Part 4
Should You Pimp Your Car?

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    Consider how it might affect your insurance. Car modifications can affect your insurance premiums. It's best to look into the ways each modification may affect your insurance before committing to them. Talk to your insurance company if you're unclear.[13]
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    Look into the street legality of your mods.[14] No one likes having their vision of a perfect car curtailed by laws. All the same you'll want to keep legality in mind while modding your car to make sure it's not taken away from you once you're on the road.
    • Legality will depend on the specific country you're living in. As a general rule, if your car looks more like it's designed for a racetrack, there's probably something about it that conflicts with regulation.
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    Keep safety in mind.[15] Some popular car mods, such as "hellaflushing", are increasingly popular in spite of the fact that they limit a car's function. At the end of the day, you should make sure you're keeping your car safe and useable. Even if something may look cool, nothing is worth putting your life and others in danger.
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    Predict how your modded car will be interpreted by others.[16] If you're modding a vehicle in any way visually, you'll be sending a message to anyone who sees it. Most tasteful mods will be received positively, while more bombastic changes might be seen as a joke by other street users. Make a point of avoiding inconsiderate mods. Removing your car's muffler vastly increases the noise pollution your car will create, and anything that creates excess smoke should be rightly avoided.


  • In most cases, you should entrust your car's modifications to specialized mechanics.
  • You should look into getting extra insurance on your car to account for the price of the mods.[17]


  • Car modding can get very expensive, in some cases even more expensive than the original price of the car itself. Keep price in mind and only mod within your means.
  • Adding nitrous oxide tanks to your gas engine is not recommended unless you're modding your car specifically for the sake of drag racing.
  • Shows like Pimp My Ride can offer some inspiration as to what you want to do with your car, but don't take them as a real-world example. Much of it is made up or sensationalized for the sake of the show.[18]

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Categories: Cars