It’s easy to be seduced by options that sex-up a car, but maintenance can be a killjoy. Here are 10 options that seemed like a good idea at the time.
1. BLACK PAINT
Black paint gets very hot and will heat up your car and any electronics left inside. It’s the hardest colour to keep clean, as it shows every particle of dust and every fingerprint. And, any scratch or dent will be enhanced by black paint. Word is, those who go black never go back… to black.
Anyone who has seen Tesla’s 17-inch touchscreen knows how awesome it is. But using a touchscreen means a lot of random poking, and all that frustrated prodding takes its toll. Ford was stung by its foray into touchscreens when consumers reported slow response times and too much distraction compared to knobs and buttons. If your car is a short-termer, touch away. If you think your car is a keeper, stick with knobs.
3. PERFORATED SEATS
Perforations in leather and Alcantara may look sporty and luxurious, but it’s easy to forget they are just holes. Goop gets in the cracks, and when you clean them, cleaning goop gets in there, too. Never spray cleaner directly on the seat, instead, spray cleaner onto a soft brush and use the brush to apply the cleaner to the seat material.
4. OVERSIZED WHEELS
Most car designers visualise their cars with wheels that fill the arches because it makes a vehicle look sleek, sporty and boss. Unfortunately, bad things happen when a wheel fills the arch: the suspension is compromised (in extreme cases you can feel the wheel hit the arch on a bump); the ride is harder because there is less rubber and more bling; and you’re in more strife than usual if you damage a tyre in transit.
5. LIFT KITS
A pick-up looks bad-ass when it’s lifted five inches; the world looks tiny from up there and your vehicle looks like it eats nails for breakfast. On the flipside, the brakes are compromised, any factory-installed safety sensors are almost useless because they’ve been jacked up, and your rear visibility is woeful. You’re also more likely to roll, so take it slow big boy.
6. “WARRIOR” OFF-ROAD TYRES
While we’re talking monster trucks, let’s address those chunky textured wheels. They look the biz and they are – when off-road. On-road, those deep treads pick up anything sharp they can find. Road kill will linger, and nails and glass will stick. Repairing those things costs a motza.
7. MATTE PAINT
First used on concept cars to set them apart from the usual high-gloss finish, matte has become an expensive and eye-catching option. Unfortunately, it shows scratches and can even be damaged by an automatic car wash. You need to remove bird poo immediately, but don’t do it with your usual carwash kit. You need microfibre towels, special mitts and a two-bucket cleaning system. You even need to quickly remove – wait for it – water spots. Turns out that hazy clear coat can be compromised by pretty much anything.
8. AEROKITS AND BODYKITS
Those flashy plastic covers that lower the front and rear of a car improve its aerodynamics at speed and can add a really cool look to a fairly ordinary vehicle. All great until you hit a gutter and crack the front. Cracked body plastic looks cheap and worsens the airflow over the car.
9. SEAT PIPING
The high-end look of contrast piping is seductive, but when the wrapping unravels and the plastic pipe sticks you in the arm a few years from now, all you can do is pay more money for more piping. It’s a vicious piping circle. So, don’t do it, unless the piping is a soft edge with no inner tube.
10. CARGO NETS AND OTHER “USEFUL” STORAGE THAT DOESN’T STOW
Horizontal blinds that roll out to hide your luggage are the worst. Where do you store those things when the car needs to be packed full? Enough said!