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Fitting Auto Body Kits

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Fitting Auto Body Kits

Mark Heywood
July 26, 2006

Fitting auto body kits to your car, truck or SUV can radically update your vehicles appearance. In fact, once many of the latest ground effects kits have been fitted it is often difficult to see where the original car ends and the kit starts.

With the popularity of motor sports again on the rise it is only natural for people to want the latest performance ‘look’ for their own car. And highly styled cars as featured on the Nascar and Touring Car circuit are helping to fuel the demand for the street racer look

So how do you choose the right body kit? Well, the first step is to check out some of the car performance magazines. Here you will find the good, the bad and the downright ridiculous! Make a note of the designs that catch your eye and jot down any relevant details such as manufacturer, style name or model number.

Many auto stores now sell body kits online so you can browse sites such as Streetbeats or JCWhitney to compare prices.

As you plan out your project it is worth taking into consideration any other related tasks that will need to be done such as upgrading your braking system or perhaps lowering the suspension. Only start the job when you have all the parts you need to complete that stage of the project. As ever, a little planning before you start can save a lot of heartache later!

As with any job, the work is a lot easier if you have the right tools for the task. No, I’m not suggesting that you go out and buy a complete new set of tools, but you really do need to replace any that are worn out or are in a poor condition. Using substandard tools can cause expensive damage to the body kit or worse, to yourself.

On the subject of safety, it is essential that you have a safe and clean working environment. Take a tip from the professionals and think safety. By taking a few simple precautions you will remember the project for all the right reasons. This is especially important when the car is raised. Propping the car on a few bricks is not an option!

So you are now ready to fit the kit. I have one piece of advice, read the instructions first. Check that your kit has all the parts and tick them off on the parts list. It doesn’t matter how experienced you think you are or how many kits you have fitted for friends, read the manual before you begin. As body kits get ever more sophisticated there is often a set way to install each piece so that it lines up with the rest of the body perfectly. Get this wrong and your car will look distinctly amateurish.

The final stage is to paint the kit to blend in with the rest of the car. Most installers respray the whole car rather than try to match up each piece. Once again, safety is the key and particular attention needs to be taken to both the fire risk and breathing hazard of the job. The area should be well ventilated and a mask should be worn.

Your only task now is to get out there and enjoy driving your new vehicle.

Mark Heywood loves all things automotive and runs a website about Cobra kit cars

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