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Should I modify my car?

Five worst car modifications of all time

Since the advent of the wheel, there have been those among us who feel the need to take the design one step further. Some do it for speed, some for handling and some simply for style.

The result? Vehicles fitted with neon underglows, spinners and headlight eyelashes, to name a few. But be warned, installing the wrong optional extras could be a crime against more than just good taste.

Certain modifications may be deemed illegal by your state authority, so it pays to check before you drive to avoid picking up an unwanted fine. Other car mods made without your car insurer’s consent could void your policy leaving you high and dry if you are involved in an accident.

Also, depending on how tasteful (or not) your modification is, it can put a dent in the future resale value of your vehicle or even turn away potential buyers.

So before you install that turbo dump valve, read this list of “bad” modifications and beware, your modifications will have consequences.

DIY extras

Topping the list of aftermarket no-nos is fitting DIY extras, such as stereos and speakers. While you may think you’re doing a great thing by saving cash on installation fees the chances of you doing the job as well as a professional are pretty low.

Dodgy home-installation jobs will cause a car’s resale value to plummet so keep this in mind before you decide that you’re capable of installing that subwoofer in the boot yourself.

Bad alloys

While hotter rims and tyres may appeal to you, they may not appeal to your car insurance company, who may have conditions relating to vehicle modifications. It definitely pays to check the fine print of your policy or call your insurer before you have them fitted to your car. After all, it’s not worth the risk of having your car insurance declared invalid when you need it most.

Your modification to tyres and rims could also land you in trouble with the law so check with the road traffic authority in your state before you go through with it. Altering your rims and tyres beyond certain limits is illegal in some parts of Australia and will lead to a hefty fine.

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Colour crimes

Similarly, unusual car colours such as shades of yellow, orange and green are not as popular as traditional colours, and can make a vehicle more difficult to sell. Of course if you never plan to sell then feel free to get those hot pink flames painted down the side of your car but keep in mind that there’s no going back without outlaying further cash.

The same is true for some interior fabrics, such as fancy or expensive leather trims. While they may set you back quite a bit they add no more to the value than a basic full leather option so as far as investments go this is not a good one to make.


Even expensive extras paid for in the showroom and installed by the experts may be not be covered by your comprehensive car insurance policy, unless you specify at the time of taking up the cover. Car insurance policies can differ dramatically in what is covered and also in price, that’s why it’s so important to compare policies and read the product disclosures before signing up.

Over the top features

Fancy climate control systems can also be money for jam when it comes to the resale value of your vehicle. While standard air conditioning was found to boost a car’s value, extras such as zone control might be nice but don’t offer any return on investment in the long term.

With all this said, if you’re not concerned about the resell value of your car then go ahead and express yourself through mods. Keep in mind it is part of your duty of disclosure to tell your insurance provider immediately when you decide to make modifications to your car. If you don’t, by law your provider may reduce or refuse your claim or cancel your policy.

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Learn more about car loans

How much is your car worth?

If you already own a car, you could potentially bring down the cost by selling your car in the process. Before that happens, though, you’ll need to find out how much your car is worth.

One of the first places to find this value is to research the value of your current car, giving you an idea of roughly how much it’s worth in its peak condition.

There are plenty of websites that offer a free online valuation, allowing you to enter your car’s make, model, year, badge and description, with results listing a price guide based on both selling your car privately and through a dealership.

Of course, dealerships will try to profit on your trade-in by buying it for less than they can sell it, making it highly unlikely that you’ll get the same price selling a car to a dealer as you would selling a car privately.

However, private car sales can be costly and can take months to sell, making car trading more convenient with a guaranteed return, even if you may not be able to realise the total value of your car’s worth.

Remember that everything is negotiable. If the dealership is offering you less for your trade than you wanted, try to negotiate elsewhere to gain that money back. Start by negotiating on the price of the trade and then ask them if they can give you a further discount on your new car.

How much is my car worth?

If you own a car, it may be something that can help you bring down the cost of your next vehicle purchase through its sale. However, before you can do that you’ll want to find out how much your car is worth.

Your car’s worth can depend upon various aspects, including:

  • Age
  • Condition
  • Model and make

A great starting place for aspects of this includes websites that offer online valuations, allowing you to enter your car’s make, model, year, badge and description, with the listed results displaying a price guide based on both selling your car privately and through a dealership.

Both have pros and cons, as cars can be very profitable, something that will no doubt impact any chance you have to make the most of your car’s value upon sale. Dealerships will try to profit on your trade-in by buying it for less than they can sell it for, so you shouldn’t expect the same price selling a car to a dealer that you would necessarily get selling a car privately.

Can I buy a car as a student?

Buying a car is a huge financial decision, and shy of marriage and purchasing a house (or perhaps around the world travels), it may be the biggest financial decision you make. But if you’re looking at your empty pockets, don’t despair! Your dream of owning your own car could become a reality, if you look for and compare the right car loans for your circumstances.

What is a car loan?

A car loan, also known as vehicle finance, is money that a consumer borrows with the express purpose of buying a vehicle, such as a car, motorbike, van, truck or campervan. Car loans can be used for both new and used vehicles.