An increasingly popular exterior modification in the tuner crowd is the body kit. Movies like “The Fast and Furious (2001)” and shows such as “Tricked Out” have caused an increased demand for these exterior modifications. Kits typically consist of a front bumper, rear bumper, and side skirts. However, some manufacturers such as Extreme Dimensions offer 9 piece kits which also include front and rear fenders as well as additional add-ons. While most kits are primarily for visual appeal they also can provide aerodynamic benefits to your vehicle and reduce drag. Lighter kits may also reduce the overall weight of the vehicle.
When choosing a body kit it is important to keep in mind that they are made out of a variety of materials and quality will vary depending on the manufacturer. The most common materials are fiberglass, polyurethane, and carbon fiber. Fiberglass is usually the most affordable; however polyurethane is generally the better alternative. Polyurethane is more resistant to damage, more flexible, and doesn’t crack like fiberglass in cold weather. Another alternative to consider is carbon fiber. While this is the most expensive option it can offer auto enthusiasts a unique look and can reduce the overall weight of the vehicle.
If you are considering purchasing an exterior kit here are a few guidelines:
Make sure to shop around and price match multiple retailers.
Get a quote for the installation and painting of the kit before purchasing.
Most fiberglass kits will start as low as $350 for fiberglass and can go as high as $1,500 for carbon fiber kits.
If possible consider purchasing the kit locally as shipping for online body kits will easily run $100 or more.
Some retailers will allow you to mix and match side skirts and rear and front bumpers.
Auto body shops may charge as much as $1,000 or more for the installation and painting. If you do decide to install the body kit yourself, instead, make sure to ask the seller if they offer installation instructions or a manual with the kit. It’s also important to note that many kits will require some modifications such as trimming in order to acquire a flush fit with your vehicle. This information is usually obtainable from the retailer before purchasing.