Last time we lined up a few small items that go a long way towards improving your driving experience. On the flip side there are plenty of accessories or borloloys that are useless or even detrimental to the performance of your car. To compliment the useful accessories we’ve shown last time, here are 10 items and parts that do nothing to improve your car:
Blinking Brake Lights
You know how they say ‘A fool is a menace to all but himself’? This item is the exact embodiment of that quip in vehicular form. You may think that blinking red brake lamps are cool, but the people sitting behind you in traffic DEFINITELY think otherwise. Try staring at these for a good 5 seconds in traffic and tell us again if it’s a good idea. Blinking brake lamps are an unneccessary distraction that veers away from the true purpose of a brake lamp: To indicate that your car is stopping/stopped. Instead, blinking lights may possibly distract the driver behind you and ultimately rear-end your car.
“But they use these blinking brake lights in motorsports.”
In Formula One the blinking lights tucked beneath the car’s rear end serve as Rear Fog Lamps for use only during heavy downpour or during low-visibility conditions to alert drivers of the positions of cars ahead. Is your car anywhere near a racing circuit? Is your car a vehicle used for racing? No? Didn’t think so. Please do everyone a favor and return your brake lamps to factory spec.
“Fuel Saving Devices”
Advances in internal combustion technology have come a long way. With manufacturers doing everything to eke out efficiency out of new motors the cars of today are actually much more efficient than the cars of yesteryear. With tech such as start-stop, variable cylinder management, and even hybrid propulsion there have been many ways wherein car makers have stretched the fuel economy of conventional motors. Over the past couple decades billions have already been invested into further developing the internal combustion engine into what it is now.
Now imagine some tiny ‘fuel saving’ device that simply slots somewhere between your fuel lines could supposedly give ’30-50% more savings’ in fuel consumption. Truth be told, all those billions in research and development could have just been spent on this ‘magical device’ if it were that simple. What we can tell you though is how the gist of these devices work. To make the long story short, these fuel saving devices literally ‘trickle’ fuel into your engine – meaning instead of using the actual amount of fuel needed per combustion there is now more air than fuel in every combustion cycle. More air than fuel = more chance of detonation/knocking = more chances of blowing your motor up in the long run. The amount you ‘save’ in fuel will just bite you back harder eventually with the replacement of a new engine.
‘Fart Can’ Mufflers
We get it. You want a little more noise out of your car so you can hear that ‘vroom vroom’ noise every time you prod the throttle. There is a correct way of doing this, and of course there is the wrong way. The wrong way is literally cutting your pre-existing stock muffler and in its place welding in a ‘sporty’ big bore muffler with a ‘titanium burnt tip’. You can claim the noise feels like your car got more power, but in truth perhaps you may have lost some power or torque somewhere along your rev range. That last sentence is what psychologists would call The Placebo Effect, and it’s doing nothing to truly bring out more power from your car.
The correct way is to properly invest in a cat-back/full exhaust system. The operative word here is ‘system’ – a collection of parts that all contribute towards one goal; In this case efficiently extracting exhaust gasses from your car to produce power.
Oversized/Improperly fitted wheels and tires
Stance and fitment are very much in right now, but simply cutting your springs and fitting large wheels will not give you any ‘street cred’ whatsoever. Chances are if you just get any wheel off the shelf without doing your homework measuring and computing for the right wheel and tire sizes, you just might end up with a wheel that sticks out way past the fenders of your car. This, apart from making the car look funny, is also unsafe as the wheel might hit another object beyond the car. Not to mention the fact that adding absurdly large wheels to a car not meant for them may also affect fuel economy.
Overly Dark Tint
Yes, we get why people do this. While dark tint may be used for security purposes, they are not exactly the safest when it comes to maneuvering a car around traffic and in tight spaces. Perhaps a workaround to this would be using a less darker shade for the front windows of the vehicle and then darkening the back glasses for more privacy. This gives the driver more visibility and still retain the security of the passengers of the vehicle.
Speaking of heavy tint, another place you shouldn’t be laying them onto are your headlamps and tail lights. The whole reason why headlamps are clear is so that you get the most light and visibility ahead, and tail lights need to be visible so people behind you can see if you’re stopping, changing lanes, or reversing. Tinting these a darker shade or in another color may confuse other cars around you and may lead to a mishap.
Arguably a clear cut sign of entitlement these days would be fitting sirens and flashers onto a non-government registered emergency vehicle. Despite these items having already been outlawed by the previous administration these ‘wang wang’ devices are still pretty rampant today. With the way congestion is now, we doubt traffic will move any faster when you flaunt these anyway.
Seatbelt Chime Canceler
Perhaps we can say that the purchase of this item is a litmus test for Charles Darwin’s Theory of Evolution in an automotive context. Buy one of these and deliberately use them so you won’t need to use your seatbelts and bypass your car’s warning chimes and, well, guess you’ll eventually end up as another statistic by way of natural selection. There’s a reason Volvo’s gift to the world has been on every mass production vehicle since its invention; Seatbelts save lives.
Rear headrest trays
Your rear occupants may be the type to munch on a snack now and then, hence the need for trays for the back seats. These days you can get trays that mount onto the poles of the front row headrests, but the thing is these may be more dangerous than you think. In the event of an accident, the manufacturer of your vehicle has not factored in a foreign object getting in the way of your rear occupant and the front headrest/seat. This means you’re introducing an object that may cost your rear occupant’s life in the event of an accident – or at least, a few more stitches than they would have needed.
Roof Rails without Roof Racks
For some reason this has become a trend with local scene kids and those who follow aftermarket styling in Europe and the US. Fitting roof rails without any racks or sporting equipment to haul pretty much only does the following: ruin airflow, add weight, and thereby decrease fuel economy.
All these items are pretty much to be avoided if you want to make your motoring experience a proper, responsible, and fruitful ordeal. Take what you can from our ‘useful’ and ‘useless’ lists and see what works for your and your vehicle.