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Race Club Body Shop Newsletter

Pro's and Con's of Body Kits

Celica with Installed Body Kit

Should I install a body kit?  fiberglass body kit?  Urethane? Carbon Fiber?, we will attempt anserwing those questions here.  Detailed tips and how to's will be made available to registered customers.

When you consider styling changes to your car, there are many options today, many composites and styling choices, the more aggressive or stylish the look, the more likly it is to be fiberglass, to get the aggressive lines and curves it takes a rigid material to support the structure.

One of the concerns many people have is durability, repairability and cost.  Rarely does functionality come into play (aerodynamic downforce) because of the posted speed limit ;).

Below find some keywords of concerns you may have with some explanations, trade off's and helpful information when making your decision.  We will even try to explain them in the order they come up during your decision making process.

  • To install or not to install, that is the question (pro/con) -  Making the decision to even install one is the first step.  One of the con's is they chip, crack, are expensive (for a good ones), difficult to instal, don't typically come with a warranty and consequently are expensive to install properly.

  • Pro's - If you're always mindful of the additional clearance requirements (curbs, speed bumps etc), have it installed properly using additional supporting hardware, you get an aggressive, stylish look and, when installed properly can even look as if it was factory installed.  With fiberglass or carbon fiber, you have the ability to get a functional aerodynamic aid with increased down force, air directed for brake cooling, intakes and in some cases, depending on the design; underhood cooling as well.

  • Fiberglass (Pro)  -  It's popular, widely available, many shops have fiberglass experience, aggressive styling, aerodynamically useful, rigid.

  • Fiberglass (Con) -  Fragile, expensive to instal and maintain, clearance, expensive to repair, chips, cracks.

  • Carbon Fiber (Pro) -  Looks great, it’s techie, strong, lighter than fiberglass, typically fit's better than fiberglass kits.

  • Carbon Fiber (Con) - Rarely do you find a carbon fiber body kit with aggressive styling, manly because the material itself is expensive so most kits have subtle styling chages.  Most people dont like painting over carbon, you cant show it off if its covered with paint, expensive to purchase.

  • Urethane (Pro) -  Easy to install, flexible, the flexibility helps deflect major curb damage, no chips, no cracks.

  • Urethane (Con) -  They can be floppy when they get hot from the sun, they soften, too much flex for any real downforce advantages, sacrificed aggressive styling for added structural integrity, if not properly prepped the paint wont stay on, paint chiips and sometimes peeling.  Sometimes a simple lip kit can provide enough styling changes to quench your custom thirst.

  • Full body kits vs Add on Lip Kits - If after reading this, if you still can’t make a decision, you are a perfect candatit for a simple add on lip kit.  This removes the aggressive styling dilemma and brings flexibility and durability to the forefront of the argument.  If you don’t need aggressive styling or aerodynamic tools, go with and add on urethane lip kit.

Ultimately you have to weigh the pros with the con's and the intended use of the car as well as your personal taste.  In the end it's about you and your personality, after all thats what customization is all about.  Your car is reflecting who you are ...