What’s the Single Best Mod You’ve Made to Your Car?

Some mods are much, much better than others.

byJames Gilboy|
Culture photo
James Gilboy

Not all car mods are created equal. Some of the ways we improve performance, comfort, or function have side effects or come at a cost so high we struggle to justify them. But others make their case from the moment we shift into first, vindicating us for what we spent. So, today we ask you: What mod most improved your car?

In the case of my 1991 Toyota MR2 Turbo, the transmission has been in rough shape since I bought it. It has never shifted well, even after changing its transmission fluid, replacing every bushing in the linkage, and the cables themselves—solutions the internet insisted would work. That left either replacing the whole bo, which cost thousands of dollars or switching to an adapted Acura RSX-style shift box for several hundred. I don't need to tell you which I chose.

But when I got it installed, I thought I'd messed it up: It shifted worse than ever. The aftermarket cables were binding, forcing me to shim the rear so they could move. That meant the center console didn't fit either.

James Gilboy

As it turned out, the bad shifts stemmed from not having a shift knob. After the new one arrived, it unlocked the shifter's potential and evaporated my regrets. That's not to say it fixes having a worn-out transmission, of course. First and reverse sometimes need to be asked twice, and I don't love having a wonky center console now that I'm restoring the interior. (Also, I found a decent head unit, you can stop emailing me now.)

But until I can afford to replace the transmission and hunt down Toyota shift cables, it'll have to do. Maybe I'll still switch to a VW DSG down the road too, but that's a decision for another day.

Got a tip or question for the author? You can reach them here: james@thedrive.com