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It’s practically baked into our culture to make our cars unique. While some stick with stickers and seat covers, others are willing to go further. However, doing the wrong modifications can ruin your car rather than make it better. Here are some of the worst car modifications that are guaranteed to ruin your car.

Wheel spacers

When chasing that perfect look for your car, getting the wheels to fit flush with the fenders is often one of the goals. One of the easiest ways to do this is with wheel spacers. However, this cheap modification can easily ruin your car’s handling.

For starters, wheel spacers unnaturally alter the relationship between the steering wheel, suspension, and tire. This can make steering either ultralight or too heavy, and can even cause ruts to suddenly pull the car around. Worse yet, spacers will put more leverage on the wheel hub and struts, causing premature wear and part failures.

Finally, adding wheel spacers will add unsprung weight to the car without tangible benefits to overall grip or performance. Instead, finding the right wheel and tire size to get your ideal fit is a better way to get the flush-fit look you’re going for. Use a wheel size calculator to determine the best options and shop for wheels matching those specifications.

This will give you the look you want, along with the improved handling and grip of a wider tire patch.

Race brakes are a modification that can ruin a daily driven car

These Mercedes-AMG race brakes are one of the worst modifications for a dail driven car
Mercedes-AMG racing brakes | Getty Images

On paper, race brakes seem like a worthwhile upgrade to any car. With more aggressive pad compounds and rotors that better dissipate heat, adding race brakes to a daily driver can only improve stopping power, right?

Not so fast, according to The Drive.

Race brakes have an optimum temperature window, and oftentimes normal driving isn’t enough to generate the required heat. This means brakes that are actually less effective than a stock system. In addition, race brakes are all about performance, so issues like dusting and brake noise aren’t often factors. So what you’ll get is squeaky brakes, ruined wheels, and worse stopping power despite a four-figure price tag.

Instead, opting for street-rated sport brakes is a good happy medium. It’s less costly than full-on race brakes and they’ll have a wider operating window for optimum performance.

Cheap wheels look great, but can quickly ruin your day

If it’s too good to be true, it probably is. It’s an old adage for a reason, and it applies especially to wheels.

Cheap wheels are often cast, which makes them both heavier and weaker than flow-formed rollers. Flow-formed wheels are more expensive, but the process allows for a stronger, more consistent metal grain throughout the entire wheel. Cast wheels may be cheaper, but they are often riddled with imperfections that leave invisible weak points.

Hitting a pothole or even aggressive cornering can expose those weaknesses and pitch you into an unsafe situation in an instant.

Cut springs will ruin your car’s ride and handling

A modified car at a car show
A modified car | Photo by Michael Tullberg/Getty Images

Because factory cars have to account for everyday driving, many enthusiasts will want to lower their cars to improve both handling and aesthetics. Lowering springs and coilovers can be expensive, so some will cut the stock springs to get the lowered look.

This modification is perhaps the easiest way to ruin a great car. Cut springs don’t have the higher spring rates to match the lowered height. In turn, a car on cut springs will be easier to bottom out, resulting in a harsh ride and damage to the underbody. For just a couple hundred bucks, a set of lowering springs will deliver that lowered look with the proper spring rate to keep your oil pan and transmission mounts off the asphalt.

Related 5 Easy Car Modifications That Cost Less Than $100

5 Easy Car Modifications That Cost Less Than $100