DO AFTERMARKET PARTS MAKE YOUR CAR BETTER?
Let’s face it, people love to tinker. Even back in the day they were dressing up their horses and trying to one up their friends. When the automobile came around it opened up a whole new world to personalizing something you’re proud of. In the early 1900s Henry Ford made the first mass produced car, and only 20 years later, crazy cookes in California were already pulling off body panels, swapping out engines, and making their ride a true statement of who they were.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not innocent in the modification game, but after over a decade driving, fixing, restoring, and tracking cars, I am here to say, just because its aftermarket, doesn’t mean its better. The aftermarket parts world is insane today. Wikipedia tells me the automotive aftermarket is estimated to be worth over 318 BILLION in 2013. Since this is on the internet, I have to believe its true. I see more and more people buying aftermarket parts, slapping it on their cars, and thinking its better, only making the car handle worse and perform terribly.
To keep this article short, I am not even going to get into this “stance” generation. But where I find this “throw parts at it” mentality the most is actually in the racing/track world. Too many times I see people throwing every single aftermarket part at their car before their first track day. There are a couple problems with this method and I will get into them.
1. Performance driving is more than 770hp, loud exhausts, and carbon fiber spoilers and bits hanging off every body panel. If you do not know the fundamentals of driving fast, than no car, no engine, no exhaust, and no flames decals are ever going to make you faster. I am by no means the fastest person on the track, but I don’t try to be either. But I can tell you I have made a laughing stock out of C7 Corvette drivers because they simply do not know how to drive a corner. Of course they return the laugh on the straight when they stomp on the gas pedal and pass me…but guess who caught up in turn 1… :)
2. If you do not know what your car feels like stock, how will you know how the performance/aftermarket bits you’re putting on your car is affecting it? We are told the aftermarket part makes your car better right? Says who? The aftermarket company that selling the part? The aftermarket company that has no real testing on the track? I am here to say boys and girls, that not all aftermarket parts make your car better or faster. In all honesty, most compromise your car, and make it worse.
3. Do your research. Know what you’re putting on your car, how its made, what it does, and the science behind it. The aftermarket world is like a candy store. Tons of bright colors, flashy signs, and enough choices to make anyones head explode. I would recommend to sit down and read a little about the product before you swipe the credit card.
Now, I am not saying I’m the expert on everything, I learn everyday just like you, but I have done a lot of research, a lot of tinkering and have tried a lot of different parts on the market for BMWs. This is part of the reason why I started Race German. I wanted to provide a website that can help people that haven’t wasted as much time and money as me, and provide products I know are tried and true. I am not looking to just sell something because I can get a wholesale price. I only want to sell what I feel is the best. If something else comes along that’s better, guess what? I am taking off the other product and putting up the better one. That is what I would want from a site, so I believe that is what you want as well.
So where does this lead us? I hope, if you got this far, that you take this into consideration. Just because a company has a good marketing campaign does not mean it’s any good for your car. If you’re looking to get into track days, I would highly suggest you take your car out on the track stock for one day and get the feel for it. Once you know your cars limits, you can confidently choose better parts for your car to make it better. You’ll also gain a ton of knowledge on car control. You may understand that adding the biggest sway bars you can find online does not make your car handle better, but you wouldn’t get as many Instagram likes either.
If nothing else, shoot me an email, I am always happy to answer any questions you might have. The car community is a community, let's help each other out.