The tricky thing about car advice is knowing whether or not it’s actually helpful. Many of us have friends who are well-versed in all things on four wheels and provide indispensable knowledge. Then there are those who aren’t exactly experts but still offer sound feedback when they can. Finally, we have ‘enthusiasts’ who know substantially less, yet are convinced of their expertise. You’ll find them at every car meet, forum, etc., offering unsolicited advise so bad it’s good. Here are a few of our favorite examples:
1. Not Enough Power? Simple: Keep Turning Up Boost
Turbocharged cars offer a unique advantage over naturally-aspirated counterparts: by adjusting boost (i.e. turbo PSI), you can increase horsepower dramatically. Of course, by doing so, you’re putting increasingly more strain on already hard-working engine internals. To a certain extent, most factory engines can handle increased boost pressure. Emphasis on to an extent. Your friend’s SRT4 running 15 PSI over stock boost, with stock engine internals, is not a great idea. Here’s how that usually turns out:
- Boost gets dialed up to insane levels
- Car pulls “so hard bro!” for a few highway runs
- Some rod knock but “not a big deal at all bro”
- Piston starts to hate being one with the engine
- Gratuitous explosion
Sound advice: before cranking up boost, do some research to see what safe or less-risky levels work best. Just like at the gym, “bro science” only goes so far. And gaining horsepower by continually dialing up boost regardless of engine capabilities is among the bro-est advice imaginable.
2. Forget Coil-Overs: Just Cut the Springs
Doesn’t this just sound like a horrific idea? If you want to lower your car, there are numerous springs available on the market. Even for top-shelf examples you won’t be spending much over $200. Saving money by cutting your stock springs is not only insanely dangerous, but it’ll completely annihilate any ride quality. We don’t mind a firm suspension setup. But receiving moderate concussions on every commute doesn’t sound awesome. Please, on behalf of chiropractors everywhere, do not cut your springs.
3. Forget the Warranty: Magnuson-Moss, Bro
Yes, thanks to the Magnuson-Moss Act, the only way an automaker can void the warranty on a modified car is if they prove an aftermarket component caused the failure. Let’s say the part that failed is a $2,000 transmission. Are you ready to spend significantly more than that in court costs fighting the expense? Remember who you’ll be going to war with: not the dealer, but the automaker. An automaker who has nearly unlimited resources and doesn’t like to set precedent for warranty claims.
If losing your warranty means you no longer can afford to keep your car running should something break, here’s a suggestion: keep your warranty. Most engine warranties only last around 36k miles as is, which goes by pretty quickly. After that, do whatever your heart desires. It’s probably worth avoiding any questionable modifications before that time is up.
4. Install a Full Roll Cage in Your Daily Driver
Ever seen what happens when a watermelon slams into a metal rod at 60 mph? Unless you’re in a track car, with a helmet, padding and five-point harness, there’s very, very little reason to install a full roll cage. True, they look incredibly cool, offer increased rigidity and safety. For your daily driver, a half cage will offer nearly the same protection, look amazing and, most importantly, not risk astonishing head injuries. Save the full cage for the track. Stick to a half for road use.
5. Better Exhaust = Remove the Mufflers
We beg of you: Don’t. Do. This. Unless you buy a full race exhaust that intentionally excludes restrictive mufflers, removing them is a particularly negative idea. There’s a reason respectable aftermarket exhaust companies put so much time into sound development. Making a car sound better and making it louder are not necessarily the same thing. Yours truly owns a BRZ. I’ve seen the YouTube clips and heard muffler-less versions in-person: it’s not beautiful. An aggressive exhaust system is a very worthwhile investment. Taking a hacksaw to your stock exhaust…is not.