Body Kit Buyer’s Guide
- A body kit consists of different car components, mostly exterior body panels, that allow you to dramatically alter the look of your vehicle.
- Body kits can give a vehicle a custom look, update the look of an older or dilapidated car, and even improve vehicle performance.
- The most common materials used for body kits are: fiberglass, polyurethane or ABS plastic, and carbon fiber.
- There are various types of body kits including full body kits, lip kits or ground effects kits, and conversion body kits such as a wide body kit.
- Depending on your specific customization, the cost of parts for a full body kit can range from a couple of hundred dollars to thousands of dollars. If you’re having it installed at the shop, you will have to budget several hundred dollars for labor fees too.
Many car owners love to improve their vehicles in terms of looks and performance. That’s why the market for custom car parts and accessories keeps on growing. From a unique paint job to custom-built wheels, car enthusiasts are constantly looking for ways to make their beloved vehicles highly personalized. One of the best ways to change up the look of a car is by installing a body kit.
What’s a Body Kit for Cars?
A body kit consists of different car components, mostly exterior body panels, that allow you to dramatically alter the look of your vehicle. Since body kits are made to change your car’s factory appearance, these components are generally made by aftermarket car parts and accessories suppliers.
Aside from modifying your vehicle’s look, body kits are also made to improve the aerodynamics and overall performance of your vehicle. This is why sports car and muscle car owners are some of the most common buyers of body kits.
Reasons to Buy a Body Kit for Your Vehicle
Are body kits worth it? The answer to this is really subjective. Body kits can be very expensive, so getting one for your car should take some serious consideration. To help you decide, check out some of the benefits of installing a body kit below.
Giving Your Vehicle a Custom Look
Improving your car’s appearance to suit your personal style is really the biggest advantage of buying a body kit. There is a wide range of body kit options available on the market, so customizing your vehicle is easy to do whatever your needs and budget are. You can purchase a full body kit that’s designed to fit the original slots in your vehicle for easy installation. You can also get creative and mix and match body kit components from different brands. Some body kit manufacturers even do customization consultations so you can get custom-made body kits for your vehicle.
Improving Vehicle Performance
Some body panels are designed specifically to improve vehicle aerodynamics and downforce. By altering the original shape of major body panels, performance body kits can give your car a speed and handling boost. For this reason, performance body kits are popular for sports cars and muscle cars.
Updating the Look of an Old or Dilapidated Vehicle
Body kits can also be used to update the look of a second-hand car or an older vehicle. This is a great option if your car’s engine and other internal components are in excellent condition but the exterior body panels look a little worse for wear. By replacing some body panels with body kit components, you can get your vehicle looking as good as new.
Body Kit Materials
One of the most important factors that will affect your purchase decision is the material of the body kit. The material affects a lot of things including price, installation, and longevity, so it’s important to choose the right body kit material for your specific application.
Here are some of the most common body kit materials and their pros and cons.
Fiberglass body kits are the most common, and they are the most affordable, too. For street cars, fiberglass and plastic are the body kit materials of choice. The downside to fiberglass is that it’s brittle and not very durable compared to the other materials. If you’re looking to update your car but don’t have a huge budget, a fiberglass body kit is your best bet.
There are two types of plastic commonly used for body kits: thermoset polyurethane (urethane) and Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) plastic. Both are hardy plastics and are more durable than fiberglass, but they are also heavier and generally cost a little more.
Carbon fiber is undoubtedly the most expensive option for body kits, but that’s because it’s the most durable of all the material choices. Carbon fiber body kits are also very lightweight and have a premium look so they’re perfect for performance and show vehicles. Because of the hefty price tag, however, carbon fiber body kits are rarely seen on street vehicles.
Composites are materials made by putting together other materials. The composites used for body kits usually involve high-tech fibers (like carbon fiber) in a polymer matrix. They offer an excellent combination of durability and style. Unfortunately, composite body kits are harder to find than single-material body kits.
Components of Car Body Kits
What’s included in a typical car body kit? It depends on the type of kit you’re buying. There are two main types of kits designed to customize the exterior of your vehicle: full body kits and lip kits.
Full Body Kit
A full or complete body kit typically includes at least four components: the front bumper, the rear bumper, and two side skirts. Some full body kits are also called conversion body kits because they alter the shape of a vehicle dramatically. One popular type of conversion body kit is a wide body kit. A wide body kit usually has front and rear widening panels and widebody fenders and fender flares to make the car appear bigger and more bulky.
A lip kit, or ground effects body kit, contains fewer components than a full body kit or conversion body kit. Lip kits usually just include the front and/or rear bumper covers.
Individual Body Kit Components
If you want ultimate customization for your vehicle, you can choose to buy individual body kit components and mix and match them. Aside from the parts included in full body kits and lip kits, other body kit components to consider getting are: hoods, hood scoops, roof scoops, side scoops, trunk hatches, chrome or stainless steel add ons, and spoilers.
How Much Does a Body Kit Cost?
There is a vast selection of body kits available on the market, so the price range for a body kit is pretty wide too. Depending on your specific customization, the cost of parts for a full body kit can range from a couple of hundred dollars to thousands of dollars. If you’re having it installed at the shop, you may have to add several hundred dollars to your budget for labor fees.
Materials and the type of body kit you want will greatly affect the price of a body kit. For instance, high-quality carbon fiber body kits will definitely cost a lot more than standard fiberglass body kits. ABS plastic or polyurethane body kits will be priced somewhere in between. As for the type of body kit, a lip kit will cost much less than a full body kit simply because it has fewer components.