Wow, I hadn't realized that the automotive aftermarket has grown 80% since 1995. Thus, it makes sense to go over a few potential pitfalls of modifying your ride. First, don't expect to get much money back, if any, for the changes you've made when it comes time to sell the vehicle. I've even seen vehicles modified by reputable shops, such as Lingenfelter, selling for far less than the initial investment.

Next, consider talking to your insurance company.

Speaking from personal experience, this can be a bit uncomfortable. I?d recommend talking about the modifications themselves, and maybe not mentioning too many specifics about why they were made (?Yea, I used a $1000 forged crank so it would take a 250-horse hit of nitrous - now, what about some coverage??). Some insurance companies will cover mods under a normal policy, but if this is the case, then expect a battle when it comes time to make a claim (and forget about getting compensated for anything that doesn?t have a receipt). Consider special-use insurance for highly modified or older vehicles.

On the topic of insurance, expect an increased chance of a theft claim if your modifications increase the vehicle?s profile. There?s nothing like a thumping stereo, big wheels, or a blower sticking up through the hood to attract the darker elements of our society. Alarms are OK, keeping the vehicle out of sight is better, and moving to a state with ?make my day? laws is best.

Although not mentioned in the article below, the impact of mods on the vehicle?s warranty is worthy of some thought, if the vehicle is still covered. It used to be said that performance modifications that are emissions-legal (carrying a CARB number) will not void an OEM warranty. Yeah, sure. The reality is that your local dealer will take one look at that new supercharger kit and kick you out to the curb. SEMA suggests a variety of approaches to take if your warranty claim is denied due to aftermarket mods. Also keep in mind that a simple visit to the drag strip or autocross course may be used against you at a later time, as some Mitsubishi owners have learned. If you do try to make a claim, cleaning the rubber out of the fenderwells and removing the shoe-polished numbers from the windows can help. Or, um, so I?ve heard.

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