It's not unusual for car owners to install a host of accessories to enhance the visual appeal of their ride. The trend of the addition of aftermarket add-ons is more prevalent among the SUV owners, who often rely heavily on the unauthorised fitments to give their vehicles a personal touch. That said, most accessories should be avoided as they do more harm than good. In fact, some are illegal and limit the capabilities of the vehicle. Here is a list of 10 accessories that SUV owners can safely steer clear of -
Useless accessories SUV owners should avoid
This is a commonly used accessory that is not only illegal but can even harm your vehicle. While a bullbar might protect your SUV's bodywork from small contacts, they prove to be lethal in the event of a significant crash. This is because they directly interfere with the crumple zones of an SUV, thereby leading to improper energy distribution in case of an impact. Furthermore, this accessory can even hamper the functioning of airbags, which can fail to deploy even after a collision. What makes these things even worse is that they affect a monocoque vehicle's underpinnings in the event of a severe crash. Hence, it's quite clear that bull bars should be best avoided by all SUV owners.
Most 4WD-equipped SUVs feature factory-fitted all-terrain (A/T) tires that are suitable for mild off-roading. While the hardcore mud-plungers can opt for bigger off-road-spec rubber to enhance the off-roading capabilities of their SUV, installing such tires on an SUV with a 2WD format is entirely useless. Almost all SUVs sold in India are devoid of the 4WD hardware and are mostly driven on the beaten tarmac. Hence, it makes little sense to replace the stock rubber with higher-spec tires. While the Mud Terrain (M/T) tires won't do much good to the off-roading capabilities of a 2WD SUV, they might adversely affect the performance of the vehicle.
Lowered body kits
One of the biggest USPs of an SUV is its high ground clearance, which allows it to glide over the rough terrain. It also plays a role in lending the vehicle a decidedly bold stance. Some SUV owners, however, often opt to install body lowering kits to achieve a sporty appearance. While there is nothing too wrong with this, the advantage of extra ground clearance that an SUV holds is mitigated by installing a body kit that would instead look better on a sedan or a coupe. Installing a sporty body kit on an SUV is especially not recommended in a country like ours, where most streets are riddled with potholes and all sort of undulations.
Some SUV owners find it appropriate to bully road users by driving aggressively and using loud horns to startle them. As per the Central Motor Vehicle Rules, the noise range for horns is currently fixed between 93 decibels (dB) to 112 dB. The aftermarket pressure horns, however, emit a loud and a shrill noise that is way over the prescribed limits. Such horns are not only a nuisance but can also cause discomfort to the occupants of residential areas, schools, and hospitals built alongside the roads. Needless to say, such horns are even illegal.
Many Indian SUV owners install aftermarket rooftop lights to make their vehicle look off-road-ready. Unfortunately, however, it's a useless installation as a vast majority of Sports Utility Vehicles in India are not equipped with 4WD hardware that is essential for off-roading activities. If anything, using these lights on a public road will only blind the oncoming road users, who might ultimately end up have a head-on collision. Furthermore, it's worth a mention here that installing any sort of lights above the headlamp-level is illegal. The only purpose these extra lights serve is to provide the necessary illumination during the off-road expeditions conducted in the dark. For most other purposes, however, these are completely useless.
Low Profile Tires
Another frequently observed trend among the SUV owners is to upgrade to larger rims shod with low profile tires. Once again, such a modification hampers the ruggedness and off-road performance of a Sports Utility Vehicle by a large extent. While using a bigger set of rims with ultra-low-profile rubber could help you make your vehicle look cooler, it harms the ride quality, along with limiting the off-road/rough-road capabilities. There is a reason behind most SUVs being fitted with small rims that wear high profile tires. These stalk tires provide the SUV with the extra strength and traction required to tackle a rough tarmac.
Some SUV owners install flashlights to their vehicles to garner attention on the streets. While these lights can surely get you noticed, they can distract other road users and are even banned by the law. If anything, using these will make you like an attention-seeker.
In application, brush bars are similar to the bull bars. They can save the posterior of your SUV from minor contacts but can cause severe damage in case of a major rear collision. Like the bull bar, a brush bar can damage the chassis of a monocoque vehicle. It can even cause additional damage to the car that has rear-ended you. Furthermore, there have been many cases of uneven tire wear owing to the installation of this accessory.
Many SUV owners install an aftermarket front grille for a flashier appearance. While this accessory might help one achieve the desired look, using one is a pretty bad idea as it might lead to improper air flow to the engine compartment. In some cases the unauthorised accessory won't perform as well as a stock unit in the event of a crash, which means even the adjacent parts may suffer during a collision.
This is another accessory that many SUV owners install in a bid to enhance the rugged looks of their vehicles, but apart from the highly questionable aesthetic value, a ladder doesn't serve any real purpose. Such accessories work well for off-roading enthusiasts, who might need them to access the rooftop for mounting a tent, but most SUVs on sale in India hardly ever venture off the tarmac. Moreover, a rear-mounted ladder could lead to additional damage in the event of a collision.