AFTERMARKET: Fiberglass Body Kits–Pros and Cons
Your car may look great as it is, but if you want to improve the look or give it your own personal flair, fiberglass body kits are among your most popular options toward this end. It’s been used by racers in most racing circuits because of its amazing properties, but like any material, it has its advantages and drawbacks. CARMUDI PHILIPPINES discusses each side to help you determine if a fiberglass body kit is what you need to raise your ride’s style and performance.
What is fiberglass?
Fiberglass is a composite material made of tiny glass shards glued together by resin and other components. The fiberglass used in body kits often comprises different layers, including a gel-coated layer, tissue layer,and matting. The result is a lightweight, durable, and completely watertight body kit material that enjoys wide use in basketball boards, boats, aquariums, waterslides, and surfboards. In the automotive world, fiberglass is used in different types of body kits including ground effect, front and rear bumpers, full car body, wide body and custom kits.
Enhances appearance – an auto body kit can make a boring design look better. Body kits come in a different number of styles, and each package offers a different look to improve the appearance of your car.
Lightweight – in racing, fiberglass body kits are often used to replace metal panels because their lighter weight allows the car to go faster. Generally, fiberglass weighs just one-fifth that of steel.
Sturdy – fiberglass is a stable material with the ability to hold its original form well and resist the negative effects of extreme temperatures. This feature is why it’s a highly-favored material in the warmest and coldest places in the world.
Customizable – the sturdiness of fiberglass makes it easy to create a sportier and more aggressive style that other kit materials can’t match.
Affordable – fiberglass doesn’t cost much to produce. The material itself is cheap because it’s mainly made from recycled components, plus the molds and machines used for its manufacture are inexpensive.
Improves performance and safety – a well-designed body kit can improve a vehicle’s aerodynamics, which permits a car to go faster and use less gas. Some kits help keep the back end down on the ground, which can be a boon to safety especially when the vehicle is taking corners.
Difficult to install – the sturdiness of fiberglass makes it inflexible, making it difficult to adjust for proper fit. Body shops often require a lot of time to install a full fiberglass body kit.
Less precise fit – most fiberglass kits, especially unbranded ones, don’t have the same precise measurements as their machine-made counterparts. This can be solved by ensuring you only buy branded kits with guaranteed precision and quality.
Prone to cracking or braking – unlike metal that bends with force, fiberglass will break or crack during strong impact. That said, the material is easy to repair. A broken fiberglass panel can be mended by applying epoxy to the damaged section and working the material until it achieves its former shape.