MORE with LESS? The cheapest way to get the most out of your car
Many car owners modify their cars to create that special car that is totally unique to them. Some has much to splash on their new or used car to upgrade the look or performance, some wish for the same thing but has limited budget. This guide is dedicated to those who want to create a special car on a budget and for those who do not wish to spend too much on their car as they have other priorities in life. With this guide, I want to show how to get the most out of your car with maximum impact with limited budget. This guide is based on the popular BMW 3 series E36 but it can be adapted to all makes of cars.
STEP 0! - Face Lift!
Before you go into any modifications, you may want to start to facelift your BMW to the latest specifications according to your car series. Check out what type of face lifts are available for your car? You may consider white indicators, new grille, new badge etc.
STEP 1 - Colour-Code Bumpers
The first step to creating an attractive BMW is to colour-code your bumper/spoiler for cars that do not come with colour-coded bumpers as standard. Colour-coded bumpers make the car look fuller, lower and much more pleasing to the eye. There is nothing less attractive than a BMW with such attractive colours but has a grey underside (bumpers). Especially if you have a light colour car, you will find huge improvements to the look of your car just by colour-coding your bumpers. However, if you are thinking of changing your spoilers in the very near future, skip this step to save you the cost of painting. (many new cars post 2000 already come with colour coded bumpers as standard hence this step will not be necessary)
STEP 2 - Lowering springs
Lowering the car is the second step to any modification. Even a car without any body kit on can look mean and cool with colour-coded bumpers and a set of lowering springs. They will improve both the look of the car as well as the handling! You don't have to change the dampers or suspension kits if you are on a budget, springs will do the trick. But be careful not to go TOO low or your car will become a lawn mower!
STEP 3 - Exhaust System
Exhaust system is next on the list. It makes the rear end much more mean and sound the part too! especially with twin DTM-pipes. Those BMW cars with single tailpipe can upgrade to twin tailpipes which will certainly gain you credits. Those BMW that already has twin tailpipes may consider 2x twin tailpipes! A full exhaust system should also improve performance by about 5-10bhp. So you get style plus performance for your BMW!
STEP 4 - Alloy Wheels
Alloy wheels are certainly the most visual changes you will find on any car. It will change the whole look of your BMW. The only reason it is in step four is because there is no point having large alloys that sits high above the ground. Different types of wheels will create a different look. Personally, I think five-spokes alloys look best. It provides both better cooling for the brakes as well as showing off your brake discs (if you fit large ones). Some people judges the performance of your car by the size of your brake discs as you need them to stop your fast BMW car! Fitting larger alloys enable you to fit wider tyres for better grip. There are a large number of designs and offsets to choose from, so choose wisely! Don't go oversized! You want to keep your BMW as the ultimate driving machine not just a showing machine.
Step 5 - Body kits
When you reach this stage, you have spent quite a lot and you will not stop spending until you have created your ultimate car. There are many body kits to choose from (see Modified BMW gallery for more details). The first step could simply be to add a rear boot spoiler for the added special touch. Rear boot spoiler is the most visible body kit. If you want to go further, buy a full kit (front and rear spoilers, side skirts and rear wing). Although you could mix and match kits from different manufacturers, it is always advisable to go for the set as some manufacturers design their kit to compliment one another, air flow through the car will also have been considered in the design of the kit.
STEP 6 - ACCESSORIES + UNLIMITED
As you have carried out the five basic steps to modifying your BMW, you should by now have created a very unique BMW. However, you may want more and I can tell you that there are many more things you can do to your BMW and they are unlimited, from interior upgrades, sound system upgrades to engine upgrades and even body kit upgrades.
However, I would do it in the order mentioned above, but you may have different views on that. People who like fast cars will certainly upgrade their engines and the interior and the sound department is usually ignored as they only add weight to the car and slow the car down. However, if you want comfort out of your BMW, then by all means upgrade your interior and sound system.
In conclusion, before you go about spending your hard earned cash to modifying your BMW car, plan well, set a budget and use the steps laid out here as your guide to modifying your BMW car.
Short note about the author
Bobby Leong is a modified car enthusiast with wide experience in car modifications. His modified BMW M3 was featured in 3 publications. Check out his website #1 World's BEST modified BMW at http://www.bobmodifiedbmw.com for more tips and modified BMW photos.