Have you thought about the different types of materials that are used to make body kits? If you’re thinking about customising your car, you’ve probably given a lot of thought to the style that you’re after.
You probably know the pieces you want to start with, and the overall look that you’re going for. But what about quality? What makes one material better, or more expensive, than the next?
To give you an idea of what’s available, we’ve outlined the four most common materials used to make body kits. That way, you’ll know what they are, and what the key differences are between them.
Fibreglass is a material you will most certainly come across once you start looking at body kits. For those who are concerned with price point, you’ll find fibreglass is at the inexpensive end of the spectrum. Further pros of fibreglass are that it’s lightweight and doesn’t warp with heat. While this (together with its price point) can make fibreglass appealing, the downside is that it’s very rigid, making it vulnerable to shattering, cracking or chipping on installation. As a result, fibreglass pieces need to be very carefully fitted by a professional.
Often confused with plastic, polyurethane is actually a ‘true elastomer’. What’s the difference? A true elastomer can maintain elasticity while providing strength, while plastic on the other hand is brittle and prone to breakage and cracks.
Polyurethane is an excellent choice for your kit because it’s very durable, and aesthetically it provides a great-looking smooth, even finish. Unlike fibreglass (which is very rigid and prone to shattering), polyurethane holds more flex. This is an important factor when it comes to installation as it means pieces can be fitted more exactly without that same fear of shattering. It’s also important for you as a driver to be aware of these differences because a kit that has a bit of flex can withstand low impact bumps and knocks (like when you have to navigate a difficult driveway or car park barriers) in a way that fibreglass can’t be expected to.
As with any material, there are some downsides to polyurethane too. If you want to pain it, it needs to be prepared by a professional in order to achieve a proper finish. While this is inconvenient, the result is superb once it’s done. The other downside to be aware of is that polyurethane can warp under extreme heat, so it’s important to think about the conditions your car will be in.
ABS Plastic is a solid choice for your body kit material. In fact, ABS Plastic is widely used by car manufacturers as a trim material on original vehicles and this is largely because of its durability and the fact that it offers good protection against dints.
While ABS Plastic is less flexible than the polyurethane discussed above, it does combine strength and rigidity with the durability of polybutadiene rubber. As such, it’s classified as a ‘thermoplastic blend’. Unlike polyurethane, ABS Plastic is heat resistant, and it’s also very easy to apply new paint to.
Carbon fibre is considered by some to be top of the range and is often used for racing vehicles. This is because it is very strong, but also extremely light weight.
Carbon Fibre is constructed from a polymer-like epoxy that’s strengthened by incorporating carbon fibres. As well as being strong and light, carbon fibre is a great looking option as the fibres woven into the polymer give a really distinctive, impressive finish.
The downside to carbon fibre really just lies in its price point. But, if your budget allows it, it’s an excellent choice.
Making your decision
When it comes to choosing what’s right for you, the best thing you can do is go with a company you trust. Find someone who can answer your questions about materials, and also about installation processes. And remember, as important as looks and style are, it’s really important to understand the materials your kit is made from so that you know you’re getting the best for your budget and your car. If you’re in the market for a new body kit why not head on over to AusBody Works