Buying a body kit for your vehicle online can be a difficult decision for a variety of factors. Whether it is the hefty price tag, the sheer number of styles and options to choose from, the fear of selecting a kit that will not stand the test of time or the reality that you may not be able to install a kit without professional assistance there are a lot of reasons to be hesitant. A quick search on the internet will yield tons of results showing that these and other issues are real obstacles one should consider before purchasing a kit online. Fortunately for all parties involved,one of the premier manufacturers of aftermarket body kits in the USA, Extreme Dimensions, has produced a video which walks you through the possible pitfalls one can encounter when buying a body kit online and how to successfully navigate them.
For those of you who didn’t feel like spending the 3 minutes of your life watching the video, the main points are:
- Always check for damage when you get the kit–even if the box looks okay. If any part of the kit is damaged or parts are missing be sure write this on the shipping label when you sign or you could be in for a lot of trouble like these Yelpers.
- If there is minor scuffing you DO NOT need to note it as this will not affect the final product when installed.
- DO have these kits professionally installed as many kits will need to be modified to completely fit simply due to the materials from which they are made.
If you follow these simply tips you can pretty much count on getting the best bang for your buck and having a successful outcome at the same time. Still, when buying a body kit from a website it isn’t always easy to know which material to choose (and, here’s a hint: price may not always be the best guide). So, what do you choose?
What Type of Body Kit Material Should I Choose?
According to a great article written by Justin Gazzara on CarID.com, the four main materials that one should consider when purchasing a body kit are:
- ABS Plastics
- Carbon Fiber
Each of these has distinct advantages and disadvantages which we will discuss briefly to give you a good idea of how to proceed.
ABS plastics are probably one of the most common materials found in the construction of most of today’s aftermarket accessories. Although I will spare you the details of how ABS plastic is made suffice it to say that it is impact and heat resistant while being chemically non-reactive. It is so durable, in fact, that it is the material of choice for many OEM manufacturers. When it comes to cost ABS kits are a great deal for the money, is easier to paint than fiberglass but it also much heavier and less flexible than the alternatives.
Polyurethane is a great material for body kits due to its unparalleled flexibility. Unfortunately, they are more difficult to produce and, as a result, are more expensive than ABS kits. However, if you’re considering doing a DIY installation (despite my warnings not to) then a polyurethane kit is the way to go, especially when compared to fiberglass. Best of all, unlike fiberglass, poly kits can withstand minor impacts without breaking so they are certainly a better deal for anyone who will be driving their vehicle on a daily basis (i.e., most of us who don’t have pure show cars).
Despite how much we have seemingly maligned fiberglass it is the most common material used in body kit construction for good reason. It is pretty easy to manufacture and is relatively inexpensive. Probably the most important thing to consider when purchasing fiberglass is the company you’re buying from because there are differing levels of quality and you certainly don’t want to be left with a cheap kit that will immediately crack out of the box. Also, if you go the fiberglass route you simply CANNOT attempt installation on your own. If you watched the video above you will note that even body shops with years in the business may not know how to install a body kit unless they have experience with aftermarket, fiberglass body kits so don’t waste your time or money by attempting it yourself.
Carbon fiber is the holy grail of aftermarket accessories. Again, I’ll spare you the details on the chemical composition but it is both incredibly strong and ultra-light makingthem ideal for performance driving and in race cars. For the rest of us, however, carbon fiber is really about adding the mystique and improving the aesthetic of our rides. In addition, they are, like poly kits, usually ready to be installed right out of the box without modification. The only real con about carbon fiber body kits is the fact that they are so darn expensive.
The Final Analysis
So, what have we learned? Simply that yo can buy a body kit online with condfidence but that you need to do your homework. Body kits are expensive and require a lot of work to install so don’t go rushing in without know what to expect or you will regret it. Be smart and follow the advice above and you can enjoy the low prices found online and the look of a great body kit.