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May 4, 2017

The crazy stuff people put on their cars

by Paul Daniel

After all they are their cars

Jeep Wrangler, jeep wrangler unlimited, jeep with top down.

Photo: FCA

I love our 2014 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited. It sometimes feels like an extension of who I am but not so much that I go crazy and start putting really crazy stuff on it. BTW, I am crazy.  Just like people dress themselves each morning to make themselves comfortable, and to also perhaps make some kind of statement, they also dress their cars with different things to make a statement. A statement of what? New wheels, wider tires, driving lights, yes, eyelashes, fake hood scoops, gigantic spoilers, not so much. While I couldn’t find a breakdown for “stupid stuff”, overall the Alliance of Automobile Manufactures is projecting retail online sales for aftermarket parts at $8.89 billion in 2017, posting a 16% increase over 2016. And that’s just the online, not brick and mortar. Let’s dig deeper into the crazy stuff people put on their cars, much of it seem right here in the Milwaukee, WI area.

Fake eye lashes

This is the cheapest way ($1.99) I found to make a car, in this case of this poor Kia, look stupid. What this says to me is that you don’t mind that you’ll never have a guy in the passenger seat because they won’t get in. I know I wouldn’t and if my wife would put these on one of our cars (and I know she wouldn’t) I would rip them off the second I saw them. Am I missing something here? Please stop it ladies, just stop it.  Unless it’s Halloween and you’re driving to a costume party to one-up everyone by also dressing up your car, then don’t drive around with one of these, tacky fake headlight eye lashes.kia automobiles, auto aftermarket add-ons, stupid things people put on their cars

Fake hood scoops

If you’re car is meant to be a muscle machine then you would have had one on as it came off the assembly line. I have no idea why the owner of this Lexus RX 300 found it necessary to make her vehicle look fast. This person really confused me with the look. On one hand the fake scoop, meant to make the Lexus look fast and powerful and then on the other hand, the search lights. I think one of my great uncles had those on his Buick. Fake scoops might be one of the saddest attempts ever at making your car look cool.

 

Gigantic spoilers

Like the fake hood scoops, gigantic spoilers reminiscent of a Plymouth Superbird, why? Now if you have gobs of horsepower and run your car or truck at a race track, you don’t need one of these. Besides looking totally stupid, it adds weight and increases drag while providing no benefits like better fuel economy while many times making it worse. But hey, it’s a free country so knock yourself out.

Making a mini van look like a sports car

Not even close to happening. It’s a mini van, like this Honda, and not a Corvette so give it up. You’re a soccer mom and not a single smoking hot babe. It’s a people hauler, not a sports car.

Family Stickers

My wife can’t stand these. These stick figure family stickers were novel for maybe a couple of years and now everybody seems to have them on their mini van or SUV and have become quite annoying to a lot of people. I get it having pride in your family, but most folks don’t care about how many children you have, their gender, their interests or how many pets you have.

Stick-on vents

Once upon a time, when cars had ventilation ports cut into the hood or fenders, they actually provided an escape path for hot or high-pressure air. At some point in the past decade, far too many automakers decided it would be a good idea to apply nonfunctional engine-compartment vents to the fenders of several new vehicles. It didn’t take long before an array of aftermarket stick-on variants began to pop up on the fenders of everything from 20-year-old Chevy Cavaliers to brand-new Lexus ES350s. Obviously a piece of chrome plastic will have no functional effect on engine cooling, but all too often these aftermarket versions aren’t even applied straight, which makes them look particularly tacky. Really, on a Yukon, whatever.

 

Calvin Urination Stickers

In my mind, drivers who put them on their car, or truck, are just a step above Neanderthal. You know, like the ones that run is some of the Geico TV spots. These stickers are often found in the back windows of the trucks that have the private parts dangling from the hitch. Calvin might be peeing on a Ford logo in the back window of a Chevy are most common but there are others like him relieving himself on Chevy logos and Dodge logos, a sports team, political parties are just as uncouth. Human bodily functions displayed in cartoon depictions are never cool and it leads me to question the intelligence of the driver. Again, like the big rig stacks, if some guy is picking up my daughter for a date, it is not happening.

Big rig exhaust stacks

I swear if some guy comes to pick up my daughter Meg on a date and drives a truck with these on, I’ll tell him to just keep moving. Stacks are lame. These are the ones that route the exhaust out at the front of the bed into one or two exhaust stacks. You truck is never going to look like a big rig no mater what you do so give it up. They sometimes can be wayyyyyy too loud too.

 

Bull bars

I get a huge charge out of these when I see them on a Lexus, Infinity, or Benz, SUV’s that are really just fancy station wagons and will never see any off roading. Bull bars are most useful to tackle terrains with a lot of boulders, stones and long grass where the real SUV’s would be. People install bull bars to avoid any contact of their precious vehicle with other lesser vehicles while driving through busy city traffic. Really. I’d avoid you just because you have them on.

They are the farthest thing from adding safety. In a case of an accident, the bull bar becomes the first point of contact, and it passes on all the impact to the chassis of the vehicle. It severely damages the frame, and the occupants feel the violent impact. It happens because the car’s crumple zones do not take on the impact directly and they do not absorb the impact altogether. Also, vehicles with airbags have the sensors in the front-end of the car. with a bull bar is installed at front, the sensors do not receive enough impact to initiate the airbags. So there, ridiculous looking and unsafe to boot.

So what do you think? We on the same page? What might I have missed?

 

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