Friday, June 16, 2006

500 Auto Accessories!

by Matthew C. Keegan

An almost endless supply and variety of aftermarket parts and accessories are available for your vehicle. Who can you thank for this, the Beach Boys? Yeah, little deuce coupe...

The auto accessories market is experiencing explosive growth thanks to the ever increasing number of new vehicle models being marketed all across North America. For more than fifty years consumers have been the chief benefactors of this unrelenting growth and the selection for you has never been better. Let's take a look at some of the many automobile accessories available to auto enthusiasts like you and how you can get your hands on what you want!

By definition, automobile accessories are those items [including parts] that do not come with your vehicle. Yes, in some cases you can purchase a fully accessorized vehicle, but for the sake of clarity I am defining auto accessories as aftermarket purchases only.

Depending on the type of vehicle you drive, the accessories available for it will vary. The more popular the model, the more likely that someone, somewhere is making custom fitted accessories for it. Indeed, America's most popular vehicle - Ford's full size pick up trucks - have more than 500 different types of accessories made especially for that truck. These accessories come in a variety of shapes, sizes and colors and ultimately number in the many thousands of different items when calculated separately.

The following are just some of the many accessories available to owners of Ford's F-150 pick up truck: air deflector, air scoop, bed extender, bed rail cap, bed rails, bed wing, body armor, body kit, brake light cover, bug shield, bumper, bumper cover, bumper guard, bumper mounting kit, bumper trim, cab spoilers, car wash supplies, cargo rack, door handle, door handle cover, door panel, door sill, fender flares, fender molding, front bed cap, front bed protector, front spoiler, fuel door, graphics, grille, grille guard, grille insert, grille shell, header panel, headlight covers, headlight trim, hood hinge, hood protector, hood scoop,mirror,mirror cover, mud flaps, nerf bar mounting kit, nerf bars, push bar, rear window protector, roll pan, roof rack, roof rails, running board mounting kit, running boards, running side box board, side molding, side skirts, side step, skid plate, spoiler, sport tubes, sun shield, tail light covers, tail light guard, tailgate, tailgate cable, tailgate cap, tailgate cover, tailgate handle, tailgate handle cover, tailgate handle relocator, tailgate net, tailgate protector, tailgate spoiler, truck bed rack, truck bed side rail, valance, vent visor, visor, wheel well trim, window covers, windshield wiper, wiper cowls.
As you can see the list is quite lengthy! Staggering better describes the market.
So, how did this whole business get started? Well, for the most part we have California to thank, particularly southern California. While New Jersey gave the world the turnpike and the parkway, the Golden State brought us freeways and a beach culture popularized by such groups as the Beach Boys, who sang about cars, girls, and the youth lifestyle. Sand, surf, girls, and driving go together, so if you are going to be in your car for a long time you might as well make it comfortable and personalize it, right? Thus, companies like Covercraft got started, specializing in car covers, while other companies were launched specializing in the building or modifying of entire cars, like Saleen.

Yes, your choices for auto accessories are simply fantastic: you can outfit your car the way you want it to look by giving it your personal touch well beyond what the automaker had in mind. Hey, this is America: the land of freedom and individuality. Accessorize your car today!

About the Author
Copyright 2006 - Matt Keegan is The Auto Writer covering topics from replacement auto parts to car reviews. For discount auto accessories including quality Ventshade products and Husky liners, shop

Body Kits to Spruce Up Your Car

by Charles Kassotis

Many people want to be able to add cool effects to their cars. The problem, however, is that they can be pricey to have installed. This is where body kits come in. Even though you will likely need to go to a shop to have some of the parts properly installed, buying a body kit online can save you a great deal of money over all.

Body kits are the accessories that make your car cool. Things like spoilers, ground effects, wheels, LED lights, and other neat things that you can put on your car come in body kits. Some kits are pre-assembled, and you can browse pre-configured kits to decide what you want. It is also possible on some Web sites to put together your own custom body kit, choosing the particular parts and effects that you want. Then you can order, and have the car body kit shipped directly to you.

Car body kits are usually organized according to the type of car you have. Body kits are usually customized to make and model, as there are specific ways that the parts need to fit on different cars. Many people like to buy the stock model of a more expensive car, like an Acura, BMW, or some other car. Then it is possible to buy the body kit for that make and model, and then soup it up. This often costs less than buying the souped up model at the dealership. And with car body kits it is possible to improve the look of less expensive cars. You can add a sporty look to a Honda, Toyota, or even a Ford or Mercury make with the help of a body kit.

Most body kits are built so that you can put it together yourself, although the process is not a particularly easy one. However, it is often a good idea to go to a shop for some help, especially if the kit calls for some alterations to things like bars and some of the supports. Also note that most car body kits come without color. You will have to have it painted to match your car. There are some people with the experience and knowledge to paint their own body kit parts, but most people will not be able to get a good coat covering. Having the body kit properly painted can be helpful and ensure that your car looks right.

If you are going to assemble your car body kit yourself, it is important to test for the proper fit. Test fit all of your pieces before you do anything like prep and paint the parts, and certainly before you adequately secure them. Most body kits sellers will not allow you to return parts that have been prepped, painted, or drilled. Most will not even allow you credit or an exchange. It is extremely important to make sure that you have the proper parts, and that you know where they go, before you start doing any actual work.

About the Author
For more information on body kits and the different makes and models of cars that you can purchase kits for, visit The Body Kit Info

Car Bras For New Fashion

by Chris Andretti

Anytime you hit the road, your vehicle faces rocks, debris, bugs and many other enemies that are waiting to lay waste to your hood and grille. Safeguard your sensitive leading-end paint with a car bra, sometimes known as a car mask or front end mask, to:

- Preserve like-new paint
- Ensure resale value
- Eliminate worry from dings and dents
- Sport classic race-inspired looks that virtually scream speed

A guide to protecting your paint with a car bra
Your vehicle's front end is confronted by a barrage of attackers every day. Whether it's tire-tossed rocks, flying debris or exploding bugs, your paint ends up bearing the brunt of your commute. The results can be distressing: dings in your grille detail, chipping of your paint layers, and evil scratches. Not only are they unsightly, these damage marks also invite rust underneath your paint.

To stop this process, car bras employ thick vinyl material for deflecting these airborne adversaries away from your vehicle's finish. Small dings and scratches can't get through your car bra's outer layer, leaving your paint pristine.

Car bras protect your finish underneath the vinyl layer, too. They employ soft, paint-safe linings that pamper your vehicle and complete the network of protection over your front end. When installed properly, the quality protective outer layer, soft inner lining and custom-tailored fit ensure perfect front-end paint condition. You get like-new looks, boosted resale value and extra satisfaction with your vehicle.

Each type of car bra has its own unique set of upsides to choose from:
Full front end car bras
The original bra design is still overwhelmingly popular with today's cars, trucks, SUVs, vans and minivans.

These bras offer complete shielding for your vehicle's front end and look great, too. They employ separate pieces for the hood and grille/bumper sections of the bra, allowing full engine compartment access. Plus, they're designed to accommodate whatever factory air dams, pop-up headlights and driving/fog lamps your vehicle uses.

Sport bras
Same paint-protecting concept in a smaller-scale version. Sport bras like the Lebra car bra fit just the leading end of the hood of your vehicle, stopping paint damage in the most commonly attacked area. The popular feature of sport bras is they allow the original looks of your vehicle to show through. And, they feature the same custom-tailored crafting as a full front end bra.

T-style bras
Designed from the same concept as sport bras, T-style bras stand guard over the larger hoods of trucks, SUVs, vans and minivans. Because these autos have raised hoods and significantly more vulnerable paint, T-style bras cover the leading edge and the center of the hood, stretching from front to back. They attach in much the same way as a sport bra and allow full hood access.

How much of your front end do you want to cover?
Each style and shape of car bra covers a different amount of the front end of your vehicle. The more paint your car bra covers, the more paint is protected. The less area the Colgan car bra covers, the more your vehicle's original looks can show through. It's all a matter of personal preference.

When you want to cover the most possible area of your vehicle's front end, select a full front end car bra If you want to protect the most vulnerable paint on your front end and still show the original looks of your vehicle, pick a sport bra To safeguard the exposed, sensitive hood of your truck, SUV, van or minivan, grab a T-style bra.

Although this might sound like more fashion information than the latest issue of Cosmopolitan, I'm convinced that car bras serve many purposes and will continue to be a hot dress-up item for vehicles in the future....:)

About the Author
Chris Andretti is a writer and aftermarket accessory specialist for Visit their site for a car bra if you're looking for a Colgan car bra or a Lebra car bra.

Exhaust X-Pipes For More Power

by Pat Stevens

Although X-pipes are essential for race cars, adding this modification to a stock car can be a good idea for many reasons - increased power, fuel economy and less noise inside the vehicle. This type of aftermarket performance part is something you can either purchase or have custom-made for you by a good muffler shop. Installation is simple enough for the at-home pro, and the result will be well worth the effort.

The Evolution of the X-Pipe

To understand the importance of the X-pipe in relation to improved performance and power, you have to know about its roots. The X-pipe is really the offspring of the H-pipe design, which was first conceived in the 1960s by the major American car manufacturing companies at the time. Duel exhaust pipes for V-8-powered vehicles are very noisy, as there is no sound wave cancellation between the 2 separate four-cylinder engines and unconnected exhaust systems. Engineers were looking for a way to cut down on interior noise levels and improve the engine's power. They realized that running a balance tube between the two branches of exhaust pipe would work to broaden the torque curve (thus improving engine performance) and dissipate sound resonance in the exhaust system.

In the 1990s improved technological advancements made it possible to construct an exhaust pipe that, instead of connecting by means of a balance pipe at a severe 90-degree angle, could unify the two branches of pipe to create a flow of exhaust in one direction.

Now X-pipes are being manufactured for popular performance cars, usually off-road versions minus catalytic converters, but you can also find them in legal models fully equipped with proper emissions equipment. Performing an X-pipe mod is an option that you should consider.

Why X over H?

It has been proven time and again that the X-pipe design is more efficient than the H-pipe. Various tests have shown that for multiple cylinder engines the X-pipe outperforms H-pipe exhaust systems, especially as rpm increases, providing both better torque and power. Unified exhaust pipes work most efficiently with multiple cylinders because of the scavenging effect. With exhaust X-pipes the almost seamless connection between the two exhaust pipes allows sequential firing cylinders to salvage any spent exhaust gases from the combustion chamber more efficiently and creates more room in the cylinder for a fresh intake of undiluted fuel and air. When you have two exhaust pipes, as the velocity in one header tube increases, the pressure in the adjacent tube is lowered causing the exhaust to be sucked out of that cylinder. X-pipes are simply better at doing the job, especially at higher speeds.

Installing Exhaust X-Pipes

This is a simple mod that almost anyone can perform successfully. Most companies produce exhaust X-pipes that are simple bolt-ons that can be installed in less than an hour using the usual hand tools.

If you own a vehicle that doesn't have an X-pipe available, it is possible to have a custom X-pipe assembled for you. A muffler shop can construct it by taking an X-pipe union and bending up some exhaust tubing until it fits. If you decide to make your own exhaust X-pipe from scratch, so-to-speak, remember to place the X-pipe union as close to the rear of the vehicle as you can to increase the power.

A Brief How-To

To install exhaust X-pipes, first begin by positioning the passenger-side header pipe in place and tightening it before moving on to the next step. Make sure it is secure. Now, fit in the actual X-pipe along with the driver's side header pipe. Remember that the long leg of the X must go toward the front driver's side of the car. Now it's time to fit the pipes of the X into position and loosely attach them to the after-cat system. You might have to adjust how the after-cat is hanging for proper tailpipe positioning and tuck up the X-pipe square. On some vehicles the tranny crossmember has an exhaust hangar - if this is the case you can tack the hardware onto the pipes. Tighten the bolts and tack-weld the junctions at the X. Check everything one more time before removing the X-pipe and welding the full length of the junctions. The assembled unit now needs to be bolted back into position - simple as that.

All in all, with exhaust X-pipes torque and power will increase resulting in fast acceleration, improved fuel economy and a nice quiet ride. The difference is noticeable with the installation of X-pipes on a V-8 engine vehicle - interior noise is reduced considerably because you don't hear the firing impulses of 2 four-cylinder engines, but instead hear the noise of all 8 cylinders blasting out of both pipes at once.

About the Author
Written by Pat Stevens sponsored by The Auto Parts Warehouse offers 24h sales support & free shipping for orders over $50. Also, you'll find BMW auto parts here. Please link to us when using this article.