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The Worst Aftermarket Car Accessories

Jesse McGraw

Making your car look the way you want it to is great, but you’ll want to steer clear from these options. Here’s the worst aftermarket car accessories.

Just Because You Can, Doesn’t Mean You Should

I remember getting my first car in high school and immediately looking online for which car accessories I could afford. Being that I only worked part time, I probably would have been better off just saving my money for gas and basic maintenance, but that wasn’t “cool”. I wanted my Chevy Malibu to look like it came straight out of a street racing scene from the original The Fast and The Furious movie. Looking back, it’s probably good that I didn’t follow through with a couple of ideas.

Sometimes it’s better to just leave your car alone rather than stick on a bunch of cheap garbage you found listed on Ebay or Amazon to it. I took a look around the internet and witnessed a few sad examples in person to bring you a list of aftermarket car accessories that you don’t need. Save your money if you’re thinking about buying something on this list.

Cheap Vinyl Decals

Claw Marks Headlight Sticker - amazon.com
Claw Marks Headlight Sticker - amazon.com

Now I’m not saying full-sized racing stripes are necessarily a bad addition to a car, they actually look pretty great on the Ford Mustang or Chevrolet Camaro. What I’m talking about are those decals that are small and cheaply made. I know you’ve seen the claw mark across the headlight, the way too small flame decal on the door, or just random text like “turbo” or “sport” randomly slapped on a naturally aspirated Dodge Dart base model.

There are also those “carbon fiber” vinyl wraps that are intended to cover interior parts for accenting, but the cheap ones start to peel and leave residue all over. People also love to use these to cover the hood, sidemirrors, or the rear spoiler. It may look alright if you follow best practices by cleaning the surface, heat treating the wrap, and smoothing out imperfections slowly, but good luck. Even the professionals will tell you to stay away since working with these cheap wraps can be a nightmare and they won’t last as long as premium ones.

Non-Functioning Plastic Hood Scoops

Plastic Hood Scoop - amazon.com
Plastic Hood Scoop - amazon.com

I’ll admit, I purchased one of these stick-on hood scoops back in the day. They’re matte black, plastic, adhere with 3M tape, and serve no purpose other than to look like they do something. The other downside is how small some of these hood scoops are when they arrive. I remember when I shopped for one, the listing showed a huge scoop on a Dodge Challenger, so naturally I thought that’s how big the one I’d get was. Instead, it measured out to be just a little larger than my hand and looked dumb in the center of the hood.

These faux exterior car accessories don’t stop at just the hood scoops though. There are also simple side vents all the way up to full-on fake blowers attached to fake superchargers. The fake blowers are supposed to be for mocking up what it could look like if you weren’t ready to take the plunge, but some figure it just looks cool on their 4-cylinder Ford Focus too.

Low-Quality Aero Parts

Rear Spoiler - amazon.com
Rear Spoiler - amazon.com

Some aerodynamic accessories can help with downforce and drag, but not all of them are made the same. There are some rear spoilers out there that sound good online, but look bad in person. An adjustable GT styled rear spoiler sounds cool and effective, but then you get it and realize it isn’t very wide, is made with cheap components, and some of the essential installation hardware is missing. You’re better off saving up for a better and larger one if that’s your style, or just get a nice flush mounted lip style one made for your vehicle.

Other aerodynamic car accessories you don’t need are the universal front bumper kits and those stick-on rear diffusers. The front bumper kits typically include a lower lip spoiler or some wings positioned at the sides, but if they get bumped wrong or even experience too much turbulence, they’ll flip off to the side of the road never to be seen again. Then those rear diffusers… Diffusers are supposed to help with airflow from under the vehicle to reduce drag and help with downforce, but these little individual plastic or foam diffusers aren’t going to cut it. They’re just for looks, so make sure you take the time to evenly space them and not have one placed crooked. Or, better yet, just don’t get them at all.

RGB Lighting

RGB LED Lights - amazon.com
RGB LED Lights - amazon.com

Neon underglow used to be a cool trend for street tuners in the early 2000’s, but doing the same idea with RGB LED lights today is too much. As if having a single-color show from under the vehicle wasn’t enough, these taped on LED light strips cycle through a bunch of different colors in different patterns continuously. Adding these to a car is a huge scream for attention that’ll only get you some cringy looks.

Car manufacturers are gradually adding ambient lighting to their interiors, but that doesn’t mean the cheap light strip from Ebay will have the same appeal. These interior light strips perform the same function as exterior ones, but they make the installation worse. You either have a long single strip to work with as you try to fit it along the dash or you have multiple strips that can be set up separately that come together with odd cords to one power source. That power source is typically the auxiliary power outlet or a USB plug, but either way it doesn’t give off a clean feel to the interior.

Quirky Grandma Car Accessories

Carlashes - amazon.com
Carlashes - amazon.com

That title alone should already paint a picture of what car accessories I’m talking about. The eyelashes on the headlights, flower styled hubcaps, leopard print steering wheel and seat covers, unnecessary rhinestone accenting, and throw pillows? These car accessories might fit the aesthetic of some nice old ladies driving around in Volkswagen Beetles, but they’re quite the eyesore for passengers and other motorists on the road.

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Jesse McGraw
Jesse McGraw

Jesse's life-long car obsession began when he started collecting Hot Wheels as a child. He’s constantly keeping up with the latest car news and diving deep into automotive history. His automotive journey began with a rusty ‘99 Dodge Dakota held together by zip ties, only recently replaced by an impeccable 2014 Kia Soul. You can find him modifying and racing cars in video games when he’s not playing paintball or writing about cars.

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