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Spoiler Alert: The Modifications That Devalue Cars the Most

November 24, 2020 by

We’re pretty open-minded here at carwow, but when it comes to mods, there’s some we love, and then there’s some we’re not huge fans of. Mainly because some can be illegal and may invalidate your insurance, but also because some are just plain ugly.

But, drive down any A road in the country and you could be treated to an impressive display of modified cars – from lowered suspensions to underbody neon lights, and everything in between. So, to find out once and for all which ones are the most hated, which ones knock the most off a car’s value, and which ones would actually render a car unsaleable, we took to the streets and asked drivers up and down the country to tell us their thoughts.

First Up – The Mods We Love To Hate

The nation has voted, and eyelashes on headlights are officially the most hated car modification. Whether it’s to add a personal touch or to just make the car stand out from the crowd, it’s the smaller decorative additions that dominate the top 10.

Christmas antlers, car flags, spinning rims, spoilers and ‘wonky wheels’ all make the top 20 list. If you have all 20 on your vehicle, please get in touch, we need to have a word.

The UK’s Most Hated Mods

1. Eyelashes on headlights 32.25%
2. Fluffy dice 26.41%
3. Modified exhaust 26.01%
4. Novelty horns 25.76%
5. Christmas antlers 22.97%
6. Beaded seat covers 19.02%
7. Lowered suspension 18.42%
8. Car stickers/ bumper stickers (e.g. ‘powered by fairy dust’) 17.82%
9. Underbody neon lights 17.32%
10. ‘Wonky wheels’ (extreme negative camber) 17.27%
11. Novelty decals, for example flames down the sides or racing stripes 16.18%
12. Car flags 16.08%
13. Dashboard accessories (e.g. toys and models) 15.08%
14. Modified sound system/speakers 14.08%
15. Custom numberplate 12.03%
16. Spinning rims 11.93%
17. Tinted windows 11.03%
18. Tinted headlights 10.83%
19. Steering wheel covers 10.48%
20. Spoilers 10.23%

To Mod or Not to Mod

Now, if fluffy dice aren’t your cup of tea, that’s one thing, but if some modifications actually reduce your car’s resale value, then that’s a whole other thing – especially as you would have probably paid a reasonably pretty penny to have the modification in the first place.

‘Wonky wheels’ (wheels that are modified in an extreme way to achieve a negative camber) could knock more than £300 of a car’s value – not to mention the possible safety issues and the potential to invalidate your insurance. And, more than 40% of UK drivers actually say a car with a set of splayed-out wheels would put them off from buying it completely.

A lowered suspension, modified exhaust, custom paint job and novelty decals make up the rest of the top five modifications that devalue cars the most, knocking £985 off between them.

The Mods That Decrease A Car’s Value the Most (and by how much)

1. ‘Wonky wheels’ (extreme negative camber) £310.71
2. Car lowered £286.29
3. Modified exhaust £239.08
4. Custom paint job/wrap £233.44
5. Novelty decals, for example flames down the sides £226.59
6. Underbody neon lights £206.15
7. Spinning rims £196.31
8. Novelty horns £190.60
9. Bucket seats/racing seats £187.33
10. Colourful alloys £186.36
11. Spoilers £183.91
12. Custom interior £175.17
13. Eyelashes on headlights £169.96
14. Tinted headlights £165.85
15. Christmas antlers £160.72
16. Custom numberplate £159.59
17. Tinted windows £155.98
18. Car stickers/ bumper stickers (e.g. ‘powered by fairy dust’) £154.87
19. Modified sound system/speakers £149.85
20. Car flags £130.64

(ranked by the average amount respondents said they would look to reduce the price by if a car had been modified in these ways)

To the people who would try and knock £130 off for some car flags, we applaud your confidence at negotiating, but that’s possibly a bit steep.

Want To Sell Your Car? Don’t Get These Modifications

What could be worse than reducing a car’s resale value? Making it completely unsaleable, that’s what. When conducting our research, some people also said they would flat out refuse to buy a car, regardless of its price, if it had any of these modifications.

The Car Mods That Affect Saleability The Most

1. Wonky wheels’ (extreme negative camber) 41.49%
2. Car lowered 37.44%
3. Modified exhaust 31.65%
4. Eyelashes on headlights 31.50%
5. Novelty decals, for example flames 31.30%
6. Novelty horns 31.05%
7. Underbody neon lights 28.36%
8. Spinning rims 26.96%
9. Christmas antlers 25.86%
10. Custom paint job/wrap 24.06%
11. Car stickers/ bumper stickers (e.g. ‘powered by fairy dust’) 22.77%
12. Bucket seats/racing seats 22.47%
13. Colourful alloys 20.82%
14. Spoilers 20.67%
15. Car flags 19.52%
16. Tinted headlights 19.07%
17. Fluffy dice 17.47%
18. Beaded seat covers 16.67%
19. Custom interior 16.03%
20. Dashboard accessories (e.g. toys and models) 15.23%

(ranked by the percentage of people who wouldn’t be interested in buying a car with these modifications)

A huge 41% of potential buyers wouldn’t even entertain the possibility of buying a car if it had ‘wonky wheels’. Other personal design choices that don’t seem to be popular with buyers include modified exhausts, with almost a third of UK drivers (31.65%), and underbody neon lights with well over a quarter (28.36%) saying this would be an instant no-no.

Spinning rims, modified exhausts, custom paint jobs and racing seats also all feature in the top 15 modifications to avoid if you’re looking to sell on.

Check out the stupid car mods that actually make your car worse

Rocking Mods

At the other end of the scale, which upgrades and add-ons are the most coveted by potential buyers? And which would increase the value of a car the most?

Air conditioning takes the top spot, and parking sensors, heated seats, an integrated Sat Nav, and a DAB digital radio also feature in the top 10.

The Upgrades and Add-ons That Increase A Car’s Value the Most

1. Air conditioning 36.95%
2. Parking sensors 36.75%
3. Reversing/ parking camera 33.15%
4. Integrated Sat Nav 31.67%
5. Heated seats 27.24%
6. Phone charger/USB port 25.76%
7. Alloy wheels 20.84%
8. Cruise control 20.69%
9. Leather upholstery 18.52%
10. DAB radio 17.64%
11. Bluetooth 17.64%
12. Upgraded audio system and speakers 15.67%
13. Heated door mirrors 13.84%
14. High performance tyres 13.45%
15. Dusk and rain sensors 13.10%
16. Sunroof 11.97%
17. Tinted windows 11.82%
18. Car mats 10.74%
19. Metallic paint 9.66%
20. Custom paint job/wrap 5.62%

Unsurprisingly, the gadgetry upgrades most valued also include Bluetooth, USB ports, heated seats and parking cameras.

But, old faithfuls like metallic paint, a sunroof, high performance tyres, leather seats and alloy wheels all feature in the list of most valuable upgrades.

So, there you have it – a conclusive look into the most hated and most loved mods and upgrades.