When you think of car modifications you probably think of expensive and complicated mods which require a professional to install. Alternatively, maybe you think of tacky ricer body kits or obnoxiously big rims. Either way, ignore them. Here are 5 cool and inexpensive car mods you can do yourself, transforming your car without even touching the engine.

Polyurethane steering rack bushings

Whether you have a new or older car, chances are you have a rack and pinion steering setup. This means that the steering assembly is connected to the car`s body with a set of rubber bushings that deteriorate over time. If you change the stock rubber bushings to a set of aftermarket polyurethane ones, you will get a much more direct steering feel, less flex in the system and more precise input.

This mod will improve feedback and give you the feeling like you’re driving a brand new vehicle. You can find all kinds of polyurethane steering rack bushings for sale online with prices starting from around $50. Even if you’re not particularly crafty with the tools or as skilled as a mechanic, you can change them by yourself with a good maintenance manual, a set of tools and a free afternoon.

Aftermarket steering wheel

Despite the fact that a steering wheel doesn’t make your car go faster or handle better it is still an obviously important component. After all, 100% of the time you spend inside the car you’re holding onto it, so a nice steering wheel can make all the difference. There are numerous choices online ranging from really tacky performance steering wheels with fake carbon to really elegant and cool looking wooden or leather ones.

My advice is pretty simple, avoid those ricer-style steering wheels and choose something suited to your car. If you have an older or classic car from the ‘60s, ‘70s or even the ‘80s, a wooden Nardi or Moto-Lita steering wheel will perfectly fit in your interior. If you have a modern car, you can always opt for a racing, three-spoke design in black which will enhance performance aspect and make you look like a racer, not a ricer.

Stiffer springs

Installing a set of lowering springs is always a good idea and a welcomed mod for any car. Stiffer springs will not only transform the looks of your vehicle by making it 1 to 3 inches lower but also transform handling, making it more composed, stable and planted on the road. Of course, lower springs will not make your car faster but they will make it handle better and prevent the body roll. The only downside of this mod is the fact that the ride will be slightly harsher but nothing too uncomfortable.

There are too many options to mention, but you can get springs for around $100. Installing this mod takes a little bit of time since you have to dismantle the car`s front and rear suspension to replace the old stuff, but it is well worth the effort. Lower springs work best if paired with stiffer shock absorbers so consider installing that also. If you are not a skilled mechanic it is better to look for a professional but if you think you can handle this task, then all you need is patience, a car jack, spring compressor and a set of ordinary car tools.

Quality brake pads

Even though they look the same, standard brake pads and quality brake pads are worlds apart. They do the same job roughly, but this is where the similarities end. Quality brake pads are more expensive for a reason since they are far better in stopping, produce less heat, they are less prone to fading and can stand up to heavier abuse. If you’re planning to modify your car to get the most out of its stock brake system, then quality brake pads must be on top of the list. For an enthusiastic driver, stock brakes just aren’t that good, even on some performance cars.

The good thing about better brake pads is that they’re not overly expensive, with a decent set costing you around $50. Replacing brake pads is a relatively easy and fast job too, and you can do it in less than an hour if you know what you’re doing.

When you go for a drive you will see how the braking is transformed and your car will stop much better, giving you more confidence and control.

Wheels and tires

Finally, my favorite basic mod is improving your wheels and tires combo. Even if you have a totally stock vehicle, a nice set of wheels can transform its looks and make your car accelerate, handle and stop better. There are a few things to watch out for though when in search for your new wheels. Firstly, stay away from cheap reproduction wheels or knockoffs of popular designs. Cheap wheels may look the same and cost a fraction of the price but they are made to no specific standards and from less durable materials. Lots of these wheels are known to crack or bend when you go over potholes, or worse, when turning a corner! Obviously a safety issue!

Secondly, do not go for enormous wheels, which will hardly fit your wheel arches. The trends of oversized chrome wheels is mostly behind us now, but if the set is too big, the car could have a hard time turning and your tires will scrape the wheel arches, damaging the tires as well as the car`s body.

So there you are. Which mods did I miss? Let me know in the comments.