As all car enthusiasts understand, car customisation as a culture has grown dramatically in recent times. There’s no denying that adding a custom body kit to your ride is a surefire way to make it stand out amongst the crowd. However, before you go ahead with purchasing and installing a custom body kit, it’s best to take some time to figure out what it will set you back.
When it comes to the total cost of a body kit there are a number of aspects to consider, including the type of kit you’re after, the type of materials you wish to use, brands, the degree of kit design complexity as well as whether or not performance-enhancing parts are included in your kit.
Let’s take a look now at what things you should take into careful consideration before making your purchase!
The Type of Body Kit
The type of body kit you wish to add to your car largely impacts how much money you will wind up spending. A full body kit will set you back a whole lot further than a ‘ground effects’ or ‘lip kit’ for example, due to its many inclusions (i.e. front plus rear bumpers, side skirts as well as hood replacements). A lip kit on the other hand is generally comprised of bolt-on components, which are attached to the car’s bumpers.
Other body kit types you may wish to take into account are wide body kits (which enhance the width of a car via broadening of the bumpers and fenders) and bumper replacement kits. You can of course choose to add a custom kit to your ride that reflects your personality and is unique to all others on the road. Similar to most things in life, cost goes up as the complexity of a kit increases.
Selecting Your Body Kit Material
Another key factor which contributes to the overall cost of a body kit is the type of material you select. Different kit materials have different characteristics and therefore come with a variety of price tags. In general, custom body kits are able to be purchased in fibreglass, polyurethane, ABS plastic and carbon fibre, alongside composite materials. When it comes to choosing the right body kit material for your vehicle, keep in mind that price is often a solid reflection of quality.
Let’s start with fibreglass. It is not only lightweight and inexpensive, it is also relatively easy to source. It also holds its form in high temperatures. However, its high degree of rigidity means it can be prone to breaking or shattering when hit or put under pressure.
Polyurethane is both more flexible and therefore more durable when compared to fibreglass. Despite these benefits, it has a tendency to warp in conditions of extreme heat and is comparably more expensive.
If you are looking for a material that is dent-resistant as well as strong and durable, ABS Plastic may be the material for you. It is a common choice for vehicle manufacturers when it comes to producing OEM parts. However, similar to polyurethane, it is heavier and more expensive than fibreglass.
As you may already be aware, carbon fibre is the material of choice for high-performance/race cars. This is thanks to being not only light, but also strong and the most durable of all kit materials available. As a result, it comes with a hefty price tag.
Composite materials, as the name suggests, are combinations of some or all of the above-mentioned body kit materials. Duraflex® material manufactured by Extreme Dimensions, Inc. is one of the most popular kit materials of this type, as it is not only lightweight, but also moldable and very durable. Unfortunately, composite materials tend to be more expensive than kits produced using fibreglass only.
The average cost of a full body kit is not likely to reach higher than $16,000, despite the fact that full body kits can set you back anywhere from as little as $7,000, all the way up to $60,000.
In many cases, despite being an important factor to take into consideration when looking to purchase a body kit, shipping is often overlooked. Body kit pieces are designed to complement your car’s dimensions and hence are both long and wide. As a result, packaging dimensions for body kit components often exceed the limits applied by regular package carriers. Not only is size an important consideration, but also the fact that kit components are delicate and if not handled very carefully, breaking or cracking may occur during the shipping process.
Specific cargo carriers are used by body kit manufacturers in order to overcome any issues surrounding packaging dimensions and potential damage to kit components. What may appear to be an unnecessary expense in the short term, can save you down the track when your kit arrives safely and complete.
Selecting and purchasing the components of your body kit is merely step one in the process – i.e. following receipt of your kit and checking all pieces are in top condition, professional installation follows (it is advisable not to complete installation on your own).
The majority of body kit components are handcrafted and therefore may not fit precisely straight off the bat (unlike original/stock car parts and accessories). Therefore, having the kit installed by a professional and reputable body shop is necessary.
Do your research and select a body shop that will complete installation correctly. Be sure to verify the body shop you choose to go ahead with has relevant experience in both fitting and modifying kits similar to yours (for example, if your kit is made from fibreglass, go with a body shop experienced in fitting and modifying fibreglass kits).
Keep in mind that cost goes up where more hours are required to fit and modify the body kit to your vehicle (e.g. in the case of wide body kits). You should also keep in mind any paintwork requirements. It is not uncommon for the installation process in its entirety to cost from $6,000 to over $18,000 (for more difficult and time-consuming jobs).
Choosing the Right Kit for You
No one particular style of body kit or body kit material is a “one size fits all” solution. It is best to pick and choose what suits your style, functional needs and budget and to go for body kit components that can be delivered and installed safely and professionally. Where you can, communicate with the relevant body shop of your choice to determine what kit is appropriate for your vehicle before purchasing it – this can help you avoid any headaches regarding receiving a kit, then finding out it was not in fact compatible with your car to begin with!