Upgrading as your car parts need replacements?

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Feb 4, 2020
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Schaumburg, IL
Do you ever come up with a list of parts that you will upgrade as they need replacements? Have you considered improvements if they were swapped with better aftermarket parts? When people talk about mods, I often get things like getting a new exhaust, coil-overs, and turbo/super charger, etc. These don't seemed like upgrades you would use for driving and in my opinion are unrealistic. Things I was considering: 1. New Tires The easiest upgrade, and have big impact on performance. Actually, the stock tires on the last couple of cars have been pretty good. 2. Brakes I haven't explore this, are aftermarket brake pads or rotor typically better than stock? 3. Lights After a few years, the lens yellow, then it requires constant polish or I could just replace the whole light assembly. Paul
 
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I have a list of "upgrades", but I know I'll be like "Meh, I'm going to sell the car in X yrs, might as well save the money".
 
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Upgrade is a loaded word. You said, "...as they need replacements (ing?)". For me, I just want good quality replacement parts for whatever wore or failed. You have to be more specific with your question because parts exist in various worlds. "Stock", "Racing", "Show-Off (various age ranges)", "Show Car", Street Rod, "Trophy Wife Bling", "Newly Divorced Guy" and last but not least, "I'm successful so I Bought My Kid an Overly Expensive Car". All legit categories. Your examples: 1. Tires are "good, better and best". They're also specific a perfect tire for some application mighn't be for everyone. 2. Brakes are empirically measured for stopping distance, dust and fade. 3. Lights age. Plastic ages. Technology changes. There's a lot to learn.
 
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I am at the point now where I want to replace the shocks/struts on the Mustang. I could get the same OEM Track Pack ones, which are pretty good to begin with. Or I could get Bilstein. Kind of a tossup at the moment. Or I could get the Ford Performance ones, but I don't really want to lower the car.
 
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Nope. I don't modify my cars. They stay stock. I have downgraded in the muffler category and regret it. Only mufflers I have had to replace are in my 4Runner. If I had a mulligan, I would go back and purchase the Toyota one. The rest are all original.
 
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Mar 20, 2008
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New tires, brakes (especially coated rotors), and a stainless exhaust when the original one rots out Many aftermarket brake pads are better than OE. In particular, installing ceramic pads on European cars will make them dust much less. Another good mod is to install a cabin filter in cars that didn't originally come with one but have the slot for it. Most of these cars are within a few years of 2000, plus or minus a couple years, when cabin filters first started to become a common feature. The 3rd and 4th gen Camry and Mk1 Focus are examples of this. They have the tray where the filter goes, but no filter inside. It just drops in smile On some other cars, like some late 90s Subarus and early/mid-00s American cars, you have to cut a slot open with a knife, then you can install the cabin filter. Retrofitting power mirrors and other goodies that the car is pre-wired for but didn't actually come on your particular example. Lights. Osram Nightbreakers, or retrofitting sealed beams with those Hella conversions, etc.
 
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Virginia, USA
When I had my Ford, I had to upgrade as I repaired various things because of Ford's poor quality control. For example: - The original equipment sway-bar end-links from Motorcraft only lasted 22K so I replaced them with Moog greaseabke ones that were still going strong 66K later when I got rid of it. - I had two of the original Mexican-made fuel injectors that came with the car fail between around 30-40K so I replaced them all with USA made Bosch ones which were going well at 88K when I got rid of the car. - The OEM rotors had excessive runout/pad deposits by 25K so I replaced the Raybestos EHT pads and their cheapest rotors. The Raybestos equipment performed better under panic braking and had no detectable pad deposits or run out when I got rid of the car. - Both front wheel bearings went by 30K and were replaced under warranty. They went again at 55-63K, so I replaced them Timken bearings which were still fine 25-33K later. My Subaru on the other-hand will be getting only OEM Subaru parts as everything that it came with has lasted for 137K except a single idler pulley which went at 119K. I purchased the OEM pulley and replaced it myself for $16 including shipping. The car is still on all original brake pads and rotors so when/if I ever do have to replace them, OEM is going back on it.
 
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Kingston
Originally Posted by Paul_Siu
Do you ever come up with a list of parts that you will upgrade as they need replacements? Have you considered improvements if they were swapped with better aftermarket parts? When people talk about mods, I often get things like getting a new exhaust, coil-overs, and turbo/super charger, etc. These don't seemed like upgrades you would use for driving and in my opinion are unrealistic. Things I was considering: 1. New Tires The easiest upgrade, and have big impact on performance. Actually, the stock tires on the last couple of cars have been pretty good. 2. Brakes I haven't explore this, are aftermarket brake pads or rotor typically better than stock? 3. Lights After a few years, the lens yellow, then it requires constant polish or I could just replace the whole light assembly. Paul
Next time I need ball joints in my 84 Cutlass I'll be upgrading to tubular control arms (for better handling), brakes I'd like to upgrade as well, especially rear drums just because I hate installing shoes with all the springs etc. Depending on the part, yeah I would usually want to turn a repair into an upgrade, but this is mostly because I'm driving a 35 year old car with 35 year old technology. It can use some upgrades here and there. The work truck, I don't think I'll be upgrading. I just need it to stay reliable and make me money.
 
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Originally Posted by Gebo
Nope. I don't modify my cars. They stay stock. I have downgraded in the muffler category and regret it. Only mufflers I have had to replace are in my 4Runner. If I had a mulligan, I would go back and purchase the Toyota one. The rest are all original.
Mulligan Exhausts....never heard of them.... have they gone out of business? ???
 
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Sep 6, 2007
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TX, USA
Yes, I have done upgrade but it is a 25 years young diesel truck. The Sienna does not need any parts yet. May be a set of brake in 6 months or so.
 
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Nick1994

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Yup, that's what I try to do with my Jeep. 1. Went with a little bigger than stock BFG All Terrain KO2's for tires 2. Injectors are 4 hole neon injectors, and I had Trav rebuild them. 3. Front coil springs are for a Grand Cherokee, a little more height and spring for offroad. 4. Shocks are severe service Monroe's 5. Seats are out of a Grand Cherokee 6. Catalytic converters is a high flow 7. Soon will probably be a high performance radiator from a local shop.
 
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ROCHESTER, NY
I wait for things to wear out before replacing them. The features/items that I like, I'll keep OEish and only upgrade what I think needs improving for my own criteria.
 
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Mar 11, 2012
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San Antonio, TX
It depends. Most replacement aftermarket parts are a downgrade. I upgraded my battery in the Mazda to an AGM. I upgraded the headlight bulbs to I think H11? I've only replaced the fan blower motor and the brake pads. All Mazda parts. The genuine ones too. Not the Mazda value line stuff. I put an aftermarket radiator in the Buick and regret it.
 
Joined
Dec 10, 2006
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1,357
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The IL
Yes. Pretty much the easy stuff when it needs replaced. Brakes, tires, suspension, lights, tires. I keep my vehicles, so I don't have any problem with "upgrading" when I can.
 
Joined
Jul 21, 2002
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KY
My Wrangler is a pretty good example of my upgrade philosophy. When a part fails I almost always replace it with an upgraded part- or OEM at the bare minimum. The upgrades on the Wrangler include: Banks Engineering stainless steel exhaust manifold Bilstein HD shocks Hella E Code H4 headlamps Osram Night Breaker bulbs in headlamps and fog lamps Bestop Sailcloth convertible top MB Quart front/rear speakers As for the Club Sport: Turner/Conforti power chip Turner stainless steel clutch hose UUC Motorwerks clutch pedal bushings, clutch pedal stop, RK II stainless steel shift knob Phillips Vision Plus headlamp bulbs If I keep the 2 Series I'll add a Dinan tune(63 HP/108 LBFT) and the M Performance LSD. My goal with modifications is to make incremental improvements rather than massive changes that affect the everyday usability of the vehicle.
 
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