Hooniverse Asks: Have you ever put a part on your car then regretted it?

No, this one doesn’t come from experience. And no, I don’t have an update on the Wombat, I just felt like using that picture of it from when I bought it… many many years ago. But I do want to hear about a time when you bought something to put on your car and then regretted doing so either immediately or sometime later.

Maybe you put one of those crazy fuel efficiency improvement devices on there? Did you go with a bad set of wheels or tires? Perhaps those eBay-sourced lowering springs were a bit bouncier than you expected?

There has to have been a time when you sought out a part, found it, installed it, and then went “…shit, I shouldn’t have done that”. And that’s what we’re talking about today. Let’s share pain here. Spill your automotive shame upgrades in the comments below.


  1. I put a gentle lowering kit (~1in) on my car several years ago. I had a broken factory spring, but got a great deal on the OEM kit ($50). At the time, it made sense, and the ride isn’t punishing. That said, once my wife got pregnant, any loss of ride compliance was a downside, and it’s not much better now that she’s relegated to riding in the back until our son outgrows rear-facing.

  2. Can’t think of a specific mod, but my first attempts at fixing paint were all a lot of work for no good result. From trying to grind down rust and ‘fixing’ it with rust converter on an orange Volvo 242, that looked like a lady bug after, to polishing a burgundy 145 that went pink-ish, to trying to rattle can the hood of a tired, white 245…all pretty time-intensive jobs that made the car look worse. AFAIK all three were wrecked by the people who bought them after me.

    1. I feel thankful that any real rust repairs I’ve tried have been to worthless beaters, mostly to get through a safety inspection, so however terrible looking my work was, I wasn’t bothered by it.

      1. Fair point, but I got quite far with adult points in my life account before I stopped dailying beaters. Well, the Leaf is debatable still. Even with a bad car, barely scraping from A to B, I have had two fairly consistent ideas: It needs to have the best tires I can afford, and it should be clean. Not for others, but for myself, as I want to feel at home in a car, too. Giving them a “shoddy makeover” may have preserved their short remaining lives, but it failed at that other requirement.

  3. A handful of trucks ago, I bought a ’97 Dodge Ram Sport. Regular cab, short box (the truck that almost ended my engagement to the MiSSus). Once the factory Goodyears wore out, I decided to put on a level kit and the biggest set of Kumho mud tires that would fit – well, they almost fit. There was rubbing at full lock. Being a short box, the handling got REALLY squirrely on snowy roads and the mileage dropped to an embarrassing level. The Kumhos looked good, but were just trash. Soooooo noisy and they got rock hard in winter. That was a very expensive and regretful move.

    1. I did something similar to my first suv, a 1995 Honda passport, v6, with the manual.. It needed new tires when I got it from my dad, and I went with bigger tires that rubbed at close to full lock, cause it looked cool and was a cheap way of getting a little lift, thinking it wouldn’t bother me. It did for the life of the tires.

  4. I bought a car with staggered tires. It looked good, but would cause the ABS to malfunction.

    The left front tire had a problem. I bought another tire, the same size as the one it replaced. The tire store offered a discount to buy one for the other side, too, but I declined to spend the extra money; the tire being replaced mismatched the brand/model in the rears, but the right front was the same except for size, and I figured it would be OK for a while.

    I ended up replacing the right front about a month later. I regretted not changing them as a pair, since I could have gone back to a size that played nice with ABS.

  5. I should never have put a license plate on my Zap Xebra, as it turned out to be utterly superfluous for the entirety of my ownership.

  6. Installed lowering I-beams and rear axle flip kit on a ’97 Ranger. I thought it looked cool at the time, and I really thought it helped the handling at first, but after hitting the bump stops a few times I got tired of it and went back to stock. All it effectively did was lower the center of gravity, but honestly I liked the handling better with the original parts.

    To this day I don’t like lowered vehicles, and I prefer muscle cars to have a fairly tall stance.

  7. My ’70 F-250 Sport Custom Camper Special had hella wide mudder tires on it that made tons of noise. I replaced them with some cheapos from Sears that were much narrower.
    They were so quiet I could hear the low-end rod knock I’d been blissfully unaware of with the old set. Hello tires, goodbye engine!

    1. I realize it’s not the popular thing to do, but I love tall skinny tires on trucks and Jeeps. Pizza cutters for the win, in my opinion.

  8. On my first Alfa, I removed the factory air box – whadda them Italiyan Engin-ears know anyhow? and replaced it with a K&N. (Unsurprisingly) unimpressed by the amount of additional power, I figured it was a restrictive exhaust that the engineers didn’t know how to make. Then I figured it must be the cams they couldn’t design. Never really ran right after that. Yeah, I rejetted the carb (this was a 66 Giulia) but there was always a stumble with a flat spot in the rpm range. In short, I took a sweet little car designed by guys with racing experience and turned it into a poor running and noisy ride.

  9. “Did you go with a bad set of wheels or tires?”

    Yes. My 2014 Mustang GT had the base model GT wheels on it from the factory that were tucked in a bit too much for my aesthetic tastes, so I figured I get a set of well sized 19″ wheels that would look better to boot. The tires were fine, probably an upgrade from the stock Pirelli all seasons, but the whole package was significantly heavier. Acceleration, braking and road feel were all made worse. A decent analogy would be swapping your ugly running shoes for a nice looking set of boots.

  10. My first car was a tired 1976 Camaro. The headliner and package tray needed attention, so I went with 3″ synthetic fur. In the rear window the black fur turned purple from uv exposure and the stuff dangling over me tickled my scalp. I tinted the rear window and trimmed the fur over my head.

    To give myself a little grace, I was 16 and stoopid and, being a 70s Camaro in the 80s, it was kind of on brand.

  11. My Tiguan made a terrible beating noise with the windows even slightly open, so I fitted window fenders (wind/rain guards) to the tops of the doors. They didn’t look as naff as expected but they didn’t improve the noise problem either, and were gone within a day.

  12. Replaced a spigot bush with a needle-roller type because it sounded better, only to learn that when it fails it would cause major damage instead of just being noisy like a plain bronze bush

  13. I follow your post and like your words very much. I have a bad experience, I want to share it. Many days ago I painted my uaz white. At first I thought that the color would be very good in my uaz but after doing that the color looked so bad I can’t explain it, I don’t know how it looked to others, but my work looked very bad. This is my worst experience. https://buylinkedinaccount.com/

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