Benefits and Risks of Customizing Your Ride

When you think about car customization, it’s hard to resist the options. You can make your wheels look better and sound faster. Some upgrades even promise to increase performance, from engine upgrades and beyond. But every change from the factory settings makes your car maintenance a little more complicated. At Kennedy Transmission, our Minneapolis-St. Paul area auto shops have seen everything from stock cars to customized rides. Here are some common customizations we see and what that means for you.

Raised or Slammed Suspension

If you’re willing to make the investment, these car customizations give your vehicle a very cool profile.


  • Raised trucks have better body, frame and differential clearance.
  • Slamming a car with a lowrider look improves handling and tire grip.


  • Raising a truck can damage its suspension system by changing wheel alignment and driveshaft angle.
  • A slammed suspension system rides rough, especially on inclines and speed bumps.

Giant Wheels and Low-Profile Tires

Wheels may seem like an overlooked part of a vehicle, but changing them up can make a big statement at a relatively reasonable cost.


  • The wheel-tire combination looks great on trucks and high-riding SUVs.
  • Larger wheels and shallow sidewalls can give you better control over cornering and braking.


  • The tires don’t cushion against the impact of potholes and speed bumps.
  • Low-profile tires don’t handle as well on wet or icy roads as factory-installed tires.
  • Giant wheels change the original balance between transmission and tires.

Performance Tail Pipes

If you love the roar of a custom tail pipe, stand out on the road with this modification.


  • Tail pipe car customization gives ordinary wheels the powerful sound of a professional race car.
  • Some exhaust pipe upgrades promise better engine performance and mileage.


  • The modification increases exhaust temperatures, potentially damaging cylinder head valves.
  • A performance tail pipe can hurt the engine by reducing back pressure on the exhaust system.

Smarter Performance Chips

If you drive a modern car, you understand the power of digital control over its internal systems. It’s tempting to upgrade that network by re-chipping your ride.


  • Replacing the factory-installed smart chip in your car can result in more power and torque as well as better mileage.
  • Re-chipping increases the performance in diesel trucks and high-end cars built for speed.


  • Replacing your vehicle’s original chip can cause sensor problems that interfere with regular car maintenance.
  • Your insurance company may have restrictions on this type of modification, and that can affect policy costs.
  • Chipping your car will probably void the original factory warranty, so it’s not a good idea on newer models.

Solid Automotive Advice

Before you jump into any type of car customization, stop by one of our seven Kennedy Transmission locations. Let our pro mechanics help you make the best decision about what you should and shouldn’t do to upgrade your ride. We’re always here to help with solid advice you can trust and the best automotive services in Minnesota.

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