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    View Poll Results: Let's unpack this suitcase...

    Voters
    92. You may not vote on this poll
    • Just buy a faster car.

      33 35.87%
    • Mod. All. The Things!

      32 34.78%
    • Warranty? Who needs a warranty?

      1 1.09%
    • Be sensible and at least wait out the warranty before you mess with it.

      18 19.57%
    • Be less poor.

      8 8.70%
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    Thread: Buy New Car & Mod Immediately vs Just buy a faster car.

    1. Geriatric Member Sporin's Avatar
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      09-18-2020 08:42 AM #1
      >>It's Friday, I don't want to talk about politics and pandemics, so let's talk about cars<<

      So I'm wondering if you modders can walk me through this... I'm seeing a lot of folks on the Civic forum modding their cars as soon as they buy them* and every time I wonder why they didn't just buy a faster car to start with?

      We are talking Civics here so I don't think the "I want something unique" play really makes sense.

      But on this forum as well, we regularly see people buy a brand new vehicle then immediately drop $5k into it with wheels and suspension and flashes anet. etc.

      Heck, we had a member here buy a "really special" very expensive car, special because of the set of options it has, then immediately start modding it. I guess when we are talking 6 figure cars the cost of mods is irrelevant, but still.

      I know I'm just a boring old man, but I kind of don't get it.

      Wouldn't it be better just to buy the better, faster car to start with?

      Do people not care about warranties anymore?

      Do people just like to tinker?

      Do I only care about this because I'm not wealthy?

      * Just one example


      To clarify, I have no intention of flashing my car, it's more than fast enough for me, fastest car I've ever owned in fact. I just thought this would be an interesting discussion today. Thanks.
      Last edited by Sporin; 09-18-2020 at 08:48 AM.

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    3. Member
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      09-18-2020 08:54 AM #2
      It probably really is "I want something unique" or "I want something better" (even if "better" is only in their own eyes and isn't actually better) ... even though it all ends up the same (and usually rubbish). Usually these owners are too young to listen to others or have learned the hard way. Too much money and not enough responsibilities yet.

      In someone's mind, the Civic is a tuner car or race car, I suppose.

      I'm at a point where I will do upgrades but only when there is a reason to do so. I've been eyeing Koni Yellow struts and shocks all around for my Fiat 500 ... but only because the car has 160,000 km on it and the stock stuff is due for replacement. If it needs replacing anyhow and I plan to keep the car then I might as well install something good. It will not be lowered, the stock springs will remain.

    4. Member Chris_V's Avatar
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      09-18-2020 09:02 AM #3
      Some people want/like a particular car, but want it personalized. That's why the wheels and tires and lowering, for me at least (like I did on my Volt).

      Most cars are compromises, even expensive ones and choices may be made at the factory that we wouldn't make (wheels and tires are one of those areas). Tunes are there because we might think the car would be perfect with just a touch more power. We might be able to buy a faster car, but then there are other compromises we'd be making (style, size, handling balance, etc) that would have to be addressed. Lots of factors go into a decision like this.

      A good example, is Brandon's E63 wagon. The wheels just didn't do it for him (or many of us) and took a way a bit from the car. But, after lowering the car slightly, the wheels kind of fit, though they are still a bit dated. But that's a case of a car built by someone else to their own tastes, which may be good taste, but still slightly different from the current owner's tastes. So even though it's unique in it's own right, it's not perfect, nor perfectly suited to it's current owner. It WILL be with a few choice changes.
      "Like a fine Detroit wine, this vehicle has aged to budgetary perfection"

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      09-18-2020 09:09 AM #4
      It's def way cheaper to get a $500 tune than get a car actually built to make use of that power. At least in the short term, which is how these people think.

      Plus there's def an element of feeling like one is pulling a fast one on the car companies, which is why a lot of them falsely claim dealers can't see the tunes. It's always funny when someone is constantly bragging about all their mods, then when their car blows up they scramble to get rid of all the digital evidence.

      TL;DR: people are idiots.

      That said, I heard a summary from Cammissa and Co. that kind of nicely summed it up. If you mod a car in ways that fundamentally change what it is, you probably bought the wrong car. But mods that enhance a car's natural character make sense. So tightening up the handling or giving the engine a little more throat are OK. Adding another 100HP and hoping all goes OK? God bless
      Quote Originally Posted by QUIRKiT View Post
      I spent my entire season budget during the off-season on go fast parts, so now I'm wishing I hadn't and had saved a little so I could buy a sim rig.

    6. Senior Member 6cylVWguy's Avatar
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      09-18-2020 09:10 AM #5
      My mindset with modding has always been to make the car better vs just making the car different. So as I've gotten older and have more buying power, as well as comparatively few responsibilities that directly impact my transportation decisions, I can buy more of what I like out of the box. And I've found that while modding can be fun, buying the car that's set up better from the factory works best for me. Not that I won't mod a pricier car, but the extend of the mods is less. I find most modern cars to be just too quiet. So I'll do an intake and exhaust to improve the sound. I generally live with the car for a while to get a sense of the stock goodness before I start modding.

      There are definitely current and previous members who had a stash of mods waiting for the car that they didn't take delivery of just yet. I don't really understand that personally, but I think I'm coming at this a bit differently. Even if I know I don't like the wheels on a car I haven't taken delivery of just yet, I'm going to burn through the stock tires at least before I blow money on a new wheel/tire package---for example. And I also just like to experience the best the engineers could accomplish in the given situation before I go messing with it.

      In the case of the Civic, I can see modding it early on if I wanted to track it for example. But at this point in my life, if I was dropping $10k on mods for a Civic Si, I'd rather buy a Type R and spend a fraction of that on mods.

    7. Member burgerbob's Avatar
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      09-18-2020 09:12 AM #6
      Every single vehicle I own has some kind of modification, including the Atlas CS. Granted, the Atlas just has a homelink mirror installed, but wasn't from the factory.

      I don't see the term modified meaning just fully built twin turbo rocket ships or wide body track weapons. Modifying a vehicle is a touch of personality to an otherwise blank canvas, no matter the level at which the car started life. As with RVAE34's E63, it is a grail. But it was his blank canvas. Things weren't exactly as he'd have them. Are you saying he needed to get a better 6 figure car? I could go buy that 3 million dollar 300mph Bugatti and find something to change on it. It's the roots of hot rodding, it's the foundation of the car enthusiast community. It's about making the car truly yours. Otherwise we'd all be driving around bone stock RS3's and car events would be pretty darn boring if you ask me.
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    8. Member CostcoPizza's Avatar
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      09-18-2020 09:22 AM #7
      • CTR is still $12k more than an Si + higher insurance I'm sure
      • His mods are what, $3k?
      • No sedan or coupe body style in CTR
      • Some people like the challenge/idea of modding the lesser engine
      • Not sure why I'm replying in a list

    9. Global Moderator EPilot's Avatar
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      09-18-2020 09:23 AM #8
      It's the Fast and Furious movies. Everyone wants to go to Tuner Wars and beat Dom.

      Same goes for GTIs. Everyone wants 500+hp from a front wheel drive car but yet wants to do 5 minutes around the "Ring".

      The other thing is most are 18-19 year olds living at home and using their parents money to mod their lower level first car given to them by their parents.

      My thinking is buy fast enough within your financial means. Instead of using credit cards to make HP.

    10. Member AHTOXA's Avatar
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      09-18-2020 09:28 AM #9
      It highly depends on the car and specific mods. Enhancing the character of the car vs making it to be something it is not.

      I’ve 4.5k just in suspension parts in my 4runner. I see it as enhancement to its character because it allows me to take better advantage of its targeted use - off-road.

      Why didn’t I put that money towards the PRO? Because my suspension is specifically built for my use case, is more tunable and also provides lift without sacrificing road manners and simultaneously enhancing off-road performance.

      If I were to SAS it (solid axle swap it) and do all that, the I probably bought the wrong car and should have been modding an 80 series Land Cruiser or something.

    11. Member Chris_V's Avatar
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      09-18-2020 09:30 AM #10
      Quote Originally Posted by CTK View Post
      That said, I heard a summary from Cammissa and Co. that kind of nicely summed it up. If you mod a car in ways that fundamentally change what it is, you probably bought the wrong car. But mods that enhance a car's natural character make sense. So tightening up the handling or giving the engine a little more throat are OK. Adding another 100HP and hoping all goes OK? God bless
      So did I buy the wrong car or did I BUILD the right car?



      I built something uniquely mine, that cost me considerably less than a car already done that was as fast, handled as good, or looked as good (to me). And it was fundamentally changed from what I started with.







      Buying a Miata or 86/BRZ and turbocharging it will give you something that is not available on the market at anywhere near the price. But then there's this:



      Fundamentally different than what it started out as, and patterned after another car that could have been bought for the money it cost. BUt it was SOOOOO worth it to have been built and is well respected around the car world (enough that it sold for $43k on BaT)
      "Like a fine Detroit wine, this vehicle has aged to budgetary perfection"

    12. Geriatric Member Sporin's Avatar
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      09-18-2020 09:36 AM #11
      Great discussion! To be clear, I'm not anti-modding at all. I've modified every single offroader I've owned, that's for sure. There are just so many takes on it, so many facets, makes for good chatter.

      Quote Originally Posted by CTK View Post
      That said, I heard a summary from Cammissa and Co. that kind of nicely summed it up. If you mod a car in ways that fundamentally change what it is, you probably bought the wrong car. But mods that enhance a car's natural character make sense. So tightening up the handling or giving the engine a little more throat are OK. Adding another 100HP and hoping all goes OK? God bless
      I like that.

    13. Member 2ohgti's Avatar
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      09-18-2020 09:46 AM #12
      I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. Like if you have to mod and drastically change that car-do you really love that car? I mean if you feel the need to change it then how much do you really love it? Maybe you just haven’t driven anything better?
      On my car I don’t want to change the stock feel. Maybe could use just a little more power, better handling and braking. Nothing drastic. Do not want 500hp. Absolutely not because it would change too much and is a waste in a FWD IMO.

    14. Member
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      09-18-2020 09:57 AM #13
      I don’t buy new cars but..

      When I bought my E46 M3, I knew the mods I wanted because at the end of the day, car is built for general public and by bean counters. I wanted better front grip, more airbox noise(carbon), less weight and better seats. There is no other car that would tick those boxes stock. I loved the chassis, loved the engine and the styling.

      For daily cars, I don’t modify them, reliability is #1.


      Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

    15. Member Nealric's Avatar
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      09-18-2020 09:58 AM #14
      It somewhat depends on the car and its class. For example, if you are looking in the flagship hot hatch class (CTR/GolfR/STI), there's not really anything quicker in the compact 4 door category. Anything quicker is bigger/heavier or has smaller interior dimensions. So it sort of makes sense to mod if stock isn't good enough for you.

      Personally, I wouldn't do significant mods to an under warranty car. You are just throwing away a valuable asset (i.e. the warranty). I limit it to wheels/tires/brake pads/fluid and minor suspension mods like swaybars. Those can get the vehicle track/AutoX ready, and tighten things up with minimal cost and are unlikely to cause warranty issues.

      The Alfa, on the other hand, is "mod all the things." Since it's purely a fun car, I can experiment as much as I want and get my wrenching fix in.

    16. Member Taco1933's Avatar
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      09-18-2020 10:04 AM #15
      On the cheaper end of the spectrum, cars are designed to sell in bulk, even the performance models. I can understand wanting to dial it in a bit to your preferences. There is no Porsche 911 Carrera T version of the GTI sold by VW. You want more aggressive, you do it yourself. For an all-in budget of $30k, I doubt I could find a more fun/practical car to drive than a mildly modified GTI.

      When the improvement budget starts to get out of control, I’d agree. It’s rarely a good idea to buy a car for $X then put $.5X in parts on it.

    17. Member bificus99's Avatar
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      09-18-2020 10:35 AM #16
      If its a new to me car, I figure out what I like and don't like about it. Usually a rear sway bar and an intake for a daily. I went too far on a Civic Si daily and broke a strut on a pothole and tokico was backordered for over a month. Car was on blocks for quite some time. I have a 280z and its not a numbers matching car, has a 280zx F54 block and an N47 head making 9.x:1 compression. Depending on what calculator close to 10:1 compression. It had a header and I replaced it all the way back to the rear bumper in parts, and I added an intake to help it breathe. Nothing crazy. Lots of things can be done on it Im slowly working through it. My daily not much you can do to these newer maximas. Better tires, better brakes, and better struts (ones you can get at any part house) and just drive the thing. There are manual swaps being done. That is very tempting, cvt is uninspiring but a manual 6 speed using oem plus parts.

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      09-18-2020 10:35 AM #17
      ^^ right there with you, Taco.

      Everyone's tastes are unique, right? Regardless of how many options you can throw at a car, there will still be things that you, as an enthusiast, will want to tweak. For me, it comes down to shifting linkages/bushings, suspension, lightweight wheels w/good tires, and maybe an ECU tune.

      But, as an enthusiast, it's more than the stuff you change. Doing all of the work myself lends a special connection to the car. It is now mine, for better or for worse. Could I have bought a Golf R? Sure. But I wanted to keep my budget in check, so instead I focused in on the things that mattered to me on a GTI. Now, I have exactly the car I want for the right price, tweaks and all.
      Quote Originally Posted by Triumph View Post
      That's like a child saying, "I'm going to swing my fists and walk towards you, and if you get hit, it's your fault!"

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      09-18-2020 10:37 AM #18
      For me, if the mods void the warranty, then I purchased the wrong vehicle.
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    20. Member The_Real_Stack's Avatar
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      09-18-2020 10:58 AM #19
      I think it’s a lot of things. Desire to tinker/customize, next step up costing a lot more than just some bolt-ons, ability to add parts quickly or slowly without being tied to a monthly payment, and mods can enhance a car without necessarily changing its character.

      You see this a lot in the Jeep community, guys will buy a new Jeep and immediately start throw parts at it. One one hand, there’s definitely the mall-crawler for show group, but then there’s the dedicated rock crawler group who can afford to buy the best (Rubicon) and then start throwing money at it, and the group that says “If I’m going to rip it all apart anyways better to start with a $30k Sport than a $50k Rubicon.” None are “wrong” per se.

      For sports cars, I dunno. I would love to put a blower on my S2000. Some would say I should just spend that $5-10k and upgrade to a Boxster or Corvette if I want more speed. I would counter with I don’t necessarily want a Boxster or Corvette and all that entails; I’d rather keep the car I have and know the history of and have owned for the past 14 years and make it quicker.

      I like and respect Camissa and consume all of his content, but he does have a bit of an arrogant “my way is the right way” attitude. Some of it is probably real, and some is probably for show because no one consumes content to hear “yeah you know whatever you want...” they want to hear opinions that they can then either spout or fight with. Makes for more interesting content. I think his “if you fundamentally change it you bought the wrong car” can be right but can be wrong. Some guys just want to see if they can make stupid power. Some people don’t want the next step because it doesn’t look as good or isn’t the right brand or whatever. Lots of reasons. Many of them personal and unique.
      Quote Originally Posted by Volkl View Post
      My wife wanted a SUV with a manual transmission. I suggested a Wrangler, she said no way, too masculine

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      09-18-2020 11:13 AM #20
      I just like personalizing cars to my own taste with suspension and wheels. Any time I budget money for a car I always include a budget for mods so I'm not driving the same thing everyone else has.

      Also, in the case of the Golf, there's no other version to buy. It was the last of the manual, AWD wagons so it's not like I had another choice even if I wanted to spend more money.

      I do constantly have the internal battle of how much I want to end up spending on an economy car platform, no matter how nice the car is. Dropping $3k+ for a nice set of Volk wheels is a hard pill to swallow on a daily driver wagon with 170 hp.
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      09-18-2020 11:15 AM #21
      Quote Originally Posted by The_Real_Stack View Post
      I like and respect Camissa and consume all of his content, but he does have a bit of an arrogant “my way is the right way” attitude. Some of it is probably real, and some is probably for show because no one consumes content to hear “yeah you know whatever you want...” they want to hear opinions that they can then either spout or fight with. Makes for more interesting content. I think his “if you fundamentally change it you bought the wrong car” can be right but can be wrong. Some guys just want to see if they can make stupid power. Some people don’t want the next step because it doesn’t look as good or isn’t the right brand or whatever. Lots of reasons. Many of them personal and unique.
      I don't take it as a hard rule; for example if you buy a car with the intentions (AND MEANS) to do a huge project that's cool. But the examples they used were on the money. I.e. someone buying a V6 Camaro hoping to swap to a V8 later. That just doesn't make sense.
      Quote Originally Posted by QUIRKiT View Post
      I spent my entire season budget during the off-season on go fast parts, so now I'm wishing I hadn't and had saved a little so I could buy a sim rig.

    23. Member ATurundzev's Avatar
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      09-18-2020 11:19 AM #22
      I'm in this boat as well. As much as I like modifying, I'll tend to do the mods that make my car look like I want it to (wheels, tires, suspension) first before going after performance mods. If it gives rtha car the character I want, I'm happy, and if not, I bought the wrong car

    24. Member Tommietank's Avatar
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      09-18-2020 11:21 AM #23
      OP, I've always wondered the same. Like why not buy a RWD platform and mod that? I've always wondered the same with FWD cars. Dropping $2k on a few things here and there sure but going stage 3 and all out for what? A used 370z would wipe the floor
      Slow Car Fast

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      09-18-2020 11:25 AM #24
      I don't know if there's a car on the planet that is set up exactly how I would want it from the factory. Even a GT3RS with all the right options would be going straight to a shop for shorter gearing to be swapped in plus smaller wheels and an aggressive alignment. The average new car, even an "enthusiast" model, has some combo of these features:

      Big, heavy wheels.

      Compromised tires.

      Conservative/sloppy alignments.

      Suspensions tuned for mild understeer.

      Gear ratios chosen for fuel economy.

      Cheap heavy brake rotors/calipers.

      Soft rubber bushings everywhere for slight NVH reduction.

      Boat anchor mufflers.

      Seats designed to fit the average fat American.

      Stereo speakers supplied by the lowest bidder.

      etc.

    26. Member davewg's Avatar
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      09-18-2020 11:25 AM #25
      I agree with a lot of what's said here.

      On my Golf R I didn't feel the need to do a lot of mechanical mods. Everything I'd done was cosmetic (Euro spec tails, euro mirror glass, homelink interior mirror, dynamic mirror blinkers, wheels), or was just added OEM stuff (spare tire kit). The car was fast enough and handled well enough to leave all that alone (plus keeping the warranty).

      When I moved to the Audi, the S3 was just not a comfortable financial proposition, but I saved enough staying with the A5 that I can do a few mods to personalize the car. I won't touch the ECU, but I plan to improve the handling (rear sway bar, perhaps some lowering springs, I'd like some lighter wheels). Some of the cosmetic stuff I want to do is just significantly more costly on the Audi, so it may just be longer before I do them. If I do more power it'll be with a removable piggyback tuner (which will only add about 50hp - not near enough to stress the drive train, but just give it that little extra...)
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