Pimping your car can be legal, practical and better for the longevity of your vehicle.
It is really not what you do to your car, but what you do with it and how it makes you feel. Given the amount of investment to buy and maintain a car, it’s natural to pamper it, and add character to your personal ride.
And no, pimping your car does not have to be all about racy modifications to the car’s body kit, engine tuning or loud exhaust kits.
Tweaks to your ride can be subtle and tasteful with comfort, appearance and ease of maintenance in mind.
What you can and cannot do
As you think about modifying your ride, note that the Land Transport Authority (LTA) has exhaustively categorised vehicle modifications into three broad categories.
Modifications that do not need LTA approval include aesthetic enhancements to the car’s body such as stickers, wraps, bumpers, spoilers, wheels and tyres as well as practical additions like bicycle racks.
On the inside, personalisation to the dashboard area, such as upgraded infotainment systems, sound systems and gauges can also be added without fear of breaking the law.
Lastly, wear-and-tear bits such as tyres, oil filters and fuel additives can all be replaced without worry.
On the other hand, modifications that require LTA approval are those that affect a vehicle’s performance.
As vehicle type approval is based on performance specifications from its manufacturer, any change to the engine, transmission and exhaust systems has to be approved for the sake of safety.
LTA strictly prohibits modifications such as changes to a vehicle chassis and the addition of details like tinted headlamps or undercarriage lights and air horns. These are considered safety infringements.
While the modified rides featured in The Fast & Furious film franchise are highly desirable for many, they might not be allowed, But here are a few practical and tasteful nip-and-tuck options for drivers to consider.
Besides superior stopping power, upgrading the brake rotors and calipers can also boost your car’s performance and looks. However, do your research and shortlist the right kits to match your driving style, and yet fit your car’s make and model. For better performance and durability, opt for semi‑metallic brake pads, carbon ceramic pads or brake rotors that are coated with anti‑corrosion plating.
If you are an avid cyclist or regularly haul loads around, consider investing in a rack or pod for greater convenience. Poorly fitted racks are not just unsafe, but will also compromise a car’s aerodynamics, which in turn affects fuel consumption. Do note that your car’s licence plate should not be obscured.
As the contact points between your car and the road, a good set of tyres can have a big impact. The options vary greatly too, from performance tyres that improve grip on wet roads to those developed to improve fuel efficiency.
Nothing helps your car stand out as distinctly as a sporty set of rims. While they can help shave weight and increase performance, do check that they sized correctly for your car to avoid compromising comfort.
Regular washing, polishing and waxing will go a long way in maintaining your car’s original showroom shine. Also consider long-term paint protection options such as ceramic coats or vinyl wraps. But do remember to update LTA on any colour change – it is a legal requirement.
Air and oil filters
Swopping your original air and oil filters for aftermarket ones can improve performance with better air and oil flow through your engine. Decide if you need your air filters for better filtration or for a much higher air flow to produce more horsepower. Choose the oil filters based on the viscosity of your car’s engine oil for them to filter efficiently.
With heavy rain and thunderstorms a common occurrence in Singapore, a good pair of wiper blades ensures that you always get the best possible visibility. Silicon blades are more resistant to extreme heat, last longer, and glide more smoothly across a wet windscreen.
Handle with care
After investing time and effort to tweak your car, it only makes sense to pamper it – inside out.
Given Singapore’s tropical climate, SPC’s Synace range of synthetic high-performance lubricants are touted to enhance an engine’s performance as they protect it. With four options, there is an ideal one to suit the needs of discerning drivers and their cars.
These include Synace Max for exceptional engine protection and Synace Racing for high-revving performance and protection. Synace Supreme is perfect for a mix of protection and performance, while drivers with diesel-powered cars can go for Synace Ecostar for better protection and efficiency.
Just add water
When it rains heavily while you are on the road, water beading up on your windscreen and side mirrors can pose a safety hazard.
Try switching to higher‑performance windscreen kmspico wipers such as the ones from Bosch, available at Concorde Auto Accessories.
Another little hack is to treat your windscreen, windows and side mirrors with a water-repellent coat. The Rain-X Glass Water Repellent is a good choice.
Better still, extend the same treatment to your car’s bodywork with the Soft 99 Ultra Glaco Rain Repellent and watch with glee as the raindrops slide off your vehicle.
Rinse & shine
Keeping your car clean is neither complicated nor costly, especially with the right products from Armor All that are retailed by home‑grown accessories specialist Sensatec.
Use Ultra Shine Wash & Wax. It can lift dirt and grime away while leaving a pristine water-repelling finish that gleams.
Using it is fuss-free: Simply pre‑rinse your car, soap it on, and wash it off.
The Tire Foam cleans and protects the tyres, while the Protectant Wipes helps keep your cabin interior clean and fresh.
Popular services to consider at automotive service and retail expert Autobacs include engine oil service packages that keep cars running at peak performance, and maintenance services for key components such as vehicle transmission, radiators and brakes.
Its 33-point car check is also well-liked by drivers as the thorough inspection gives them peace of mind.
On the retail front, Autobacs also has a selection of wheels and tyre options for upgrades, and a comprehensive store for all your motoring accessory needs. Its service centres are conveniently located in Ubi and Bukit Batok.