Like I said earlier this week, not all car mods offer the same return on investment. Some stand out as better than others, and our readers have collectively identified which mods are least likely to result in regret. To nobody's surprise, you'll have heard of the most-recommended mods—and probably owned a car with one or two of them yourself.
Wheels and Tires
A mod so basic that it skips most peoples' minds, wheels and tires are practically a must. Whether better rubber counts as a mod is debatable, but wheels certainly are, and for good reasons. A quality set of aftermarket alloys doesn't just look good; it can also improve performance, efficiency, and sometimes ride quality, too. It's a win-win, so long as you don't sacrifice too much sidewall.
Factory Plus Steering Wheels
Carmakers sometimes don't offer the best steering wheel that could work on a car, leaving off functions or just skimping on materials. That's why people upgrade their stock (steering) wheels, like how ADabOfOppo went with leather and carbon on their 2016 VW Golf GTI, and ExParrot upgraded to a Raptor wheel with paddle shifters on their Ford F-150. Maverick owners have also switched to Explorer wheels to enable cruise control—it's a bit more technical than a bolt-on, but the value is obvious.
Stereo Head Units
This mainly goes for pre-touchscreen cars, but many car owners opt for more modern head units. Jeb Hoge called it "the one thing that I could benefit from and appreciate in EVERY driving situation," which is hard to argue against. Whether that means Bluetooth and Apple CarPlay or just AUX and a phone clip, a little convenience goes a long way.
Carmakers often leave performance on the table for a variety of reasons, leaving it to the aftermarket to wring the full potential out of an engine. Gains vary from car to car, but extra performance and mileage are possible, along with full access to engine telematics, as noted by North. That is, provided you get your tune from a reputable source because that can be the difference between a spiced-up daily and a denied warranty claim.
Here's one that's sure to start a fight. The simple answer is that there's no one-size-fits-all solution to modding suspension, as different cars have differing weaknesses. Some come alive with a stiffer roll bar, others benefit from softening up. Whatever you do, you may also need supporting mods to compensate for the extra chassis strain. And at the end of the day, you get what you pay for, and cheap coilovers are only ever worth their weight in scrap.
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