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As every car enthusiast knows, the car customization culture has grown significantly over the last few years. Custom body kits make your vehicle stand out - there’s no denying that. But, if you’re planning to buy and install a custom body kit on your vehicle, a good start is figuring out how much it’s going to set your wallet back.
The cost of buying a body kit depends on a variety of aspects e.g. the type you want, the type of materials you intend to use, the complexity of the body kit’s design, whether the kit includes performance enhancing parts, the brand, and much more.
Let’s take a quick look at the things you are going to need to consider and why, before you make that big purchase!
The type of body kit that you want is the biggest factor in how much you will spend.
For example, a “ground effects” body kit, also called a “lip kit” is sure to cost you much less than a full body kit because it has fewer components. A lip kit mostly comprises of bolt-on components that are attached to the front and rear bumpers. A full body kit is comprised of replacements for the hood, the left- and right-side skirts, and the front and rear bumpers.
Other types of body kits available for most vehicles include bumper replacementkits and wide body kits that add width to the car by broadening the fenders and bumpers. You can also choose to do a custom kit that is personalized and unique.
Like most things in life, the more complex the body kit design, the costlier it will be.
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The body kit material you choose also determines the cost of the body kit. Custom body kits are largely available in fibreglass, ABS plastic, polyurethane, carbon fibre or composite materials, all of which have different characteristics and costs. It is here that the age-old debate of quality vs. price is going to affect what kind of kit you purchase.
Fibreglass is lightweight, inexpensive and easy to source. It also doesn’t change form in high temperatures. Downside: It tends to be extremely rigid, so it can easily break or shatter when hit or otherwise under pressure.
Polyurethane or ‘urethane’ is more durable and more flexible than fibreglass. Downside: It is heavier, it tends to warp in extreme heat and it is more expensive than fibreglass.
ABS Plastic is also strong, durable, and dent-resistant. Many vehicle manufacturers use it for their OEM parts. Downside: Like urethane, it is pricier and heavier than fibreglass.
Carbon fibre, as you probably know, is the strongest, lightest, and most durable body kit material available, hence the reason why it is used on high-performance cars. Downside: Carbon fibre is easily the most expensive material to use.
Composite materials are combinations of a few, or all, of the above materials. Currently, one of the most popular composite materials for body kits is Duraflex® material by Extreme Dimensions, Inc. Duraflex® is lightweight, durable and moldable. Downside: While more reasonably priced than other materials, it is more expensive than fibreglass.
The prices of full body kits can range from $7,000 to $60,000; but in most cases, they do not go above $16,000.
Shipping is one of the most neglected factors in costing out a body kit installation. Body kit pieces match the dimensions of your vehicle, so they are going to be long and wide. In many cases, the dimensions of the packages that hold body kit components exceed the package-size limits set by regular package carriers. On top of that, body kits are delicate; if they are handled roughly, they are likely to break or crack while being shipped.
Because of the above, body kit manufacturers need to ship packages through specific cargo carriers that both handle such large packages, and that can be trusted to handle the packages with care.
It may seem like an unnecessary expense to ship through the right carrier, but if you’re going to spend money on an amazing body kit, you’ll want it to be in peak condition when it arrives.
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Purchasing your body kit is only step one of the process.
Once you receive the body kit package and confirm that all the pieces are intact, you then need to get professionals to install them onto your vehicle. Don’t try to do it on your own.
Body kit pieces are not like original manufacturer parts and accessories that fit perfectly; they are mostly handcrafted, and because of this, they may not fit right off the bat. As a result, you need to go to a professional body shop to modify and adjust them so that they fit the way they should.
Make sure to choose a body shop that will perform the installation right. The body shop you choose will need to be experienced in fitting and modifying body kits like yours e.g. if you bought a carbon fibre body kit, it should be handled by a body shop that is experienced in modifying carbon fibre body kits.
The cost of installation also depends on the amount of work required – you will spend more if you are installing a wide body kit. You need to consider paintwork, the cost of modifying and fitting the body kit pieces and the cost of modifying the parts and components of your vehicle to accommodate the body kit e.g. the suspension system. The total cost of installation can range from $6,000 to more than $18,000 for the toughest jobs.
There is no one right style of body kit or material for every car owner. Depending on what your budget is, picking and choosing what you can afford to have delivered and installed properly is the smart way to go.
It is always a good call to communicate with the body shop beforehand that is going to do the installation and decide what will work with your vehicle. After all, the last thing you want is to have an expensive kit shipped over, only to find that it isn’t even compatible with your vehicle in the first place!