OPINION | Three reasons not to let your non-petrolhead partner drive your modified car

There comes a time in a petrolhead’s life when a critical decision has to be made.

Even with the love you have for your partner, do you trust them enough to get behind the wheel of your pride and joy?

Decisions, decisions

Many wouldn’t have a problem with it, but a petrolhead’s car is never stock – either sporting tuning upgrades, bigger aftermarket wheels and a drop in suspension.

SEE | The prices of these aftermarket wheels will make you cry

Being the owner of your vehicle means you are familiar with aspects like the driveability or any possible ‘moods’ some cars tend to have. Just like people, cars often have bad days too.


Have you been a position where your partner or a friend damaged an area of your car? Email us we’d like to know how you handled the situation.


Someone else, like your partner, for example, might not be aware of all the ‘conditions’ and continue to drive it just like a normal vehicle.

Trust is an important word when it comes to relationships, but giving someone the reins of something you spent plenty of time and money on requires tenfold of it.

Wheels24’s Janine Van der Post says: “I get what Classen is saying because I think most petrolheads feel this way. I never allowed any man to drive any of my cars, unless it was a serious relationship, so when I moved back home to Cape Town and finally allowed my then-boyfriend to drive my Corolla 20V RSI, I knew I was probably going to marry him. 

“Yet, I needed to explain, ‘don’t feed the throttle when you start, just swing once and he’ll take, ‘don’t rev it up until the oil is at optimum temperature’, and ‘if you’re going to let redline the revs, for goodness sake it’s not a Honda!’.” 

“I kept such a pedantic hand on my car that I would service it every three months, even if I only drove less than 1000km in that time.

“And, certain parts would always be straight from a Toyota dealer. Thank goodness I found out about the spare shop in Joburg CBD which sold the same quality parts at a fraction of the cost. Along with the thousands of taxi drivers, I became a regular customer because only the best would do for my baby boy.

“Crazy, I know. But it’s the kind of bond Classen speaks of; having it washed regularly, I even kept a Bible in his cubbyhole to keep us both safe. Yes, I prayed over my car. I had already had my Ballade VTEC stolen, and here I was, driving a neat 20V, in Joburg. Had I not learned my lesson?

“He’s getting on in years, but my folks drive him now. Trying to source a distributor cap and some shortened shocks is proving more difficult than it was ten years ago – and not having to sell your organs for it too.”

These are the reasons NOT to let your non-petrolhead partner drive your modified car:

1. Bye bye front spoiler

white rim

                                                                         Image:  David Latorre Romero

Speed bumps are situated in just about every residential area or on a stretch of road where speeding frequently takes place. Depending on the area, some road obstacles aren’t that high and can be driven over at a constant speed, while there are others that force you to go over it slowly and carefully.

Often a petrolhead’s car is lower than standard vehicles, and the fitment of an aftermarket front spoiler or ‘lip’ is never too far away. So, when faced with a huge bump, going sideways across is the best way of not damaging or completely removing the spoiler.

Picture the scenario with someone who doesn’t know you’re supposed to do that; you’ll either get a phone call to say something ‘fell off’ the car, or better (or worse) yet, see the damage in person.

2. Dodging them potholes

                                                                    Image: iStock

Many of South Africa’s roads are filled with potholes; some so big it looks like a small meteorite crashed into the ground. They can cause a good load of damage to not only your tyres and rims, but the suspension as well, and this can prove expensive.

Because lowered cars have a lower ground clearance, the ride becomes stiffer and drivers tend to feel every bump more than they would if the car was raised.

Hitting a pothole at speed, especially when the roads are wet and making visibility challenging, can buckle an aftermarket wheel and cause surface damage as well.

3. Wheel size compensation

alloy wheel damage

                                                                      Image: Motorpress

Cars with lower offsets provide a wider stance and this means the tyre stands outside of the fender. This type of fitment is most commonly used with stanced or modified cars.

This means compensation has to be made for the extra clearance when taking sharp turns or standing in line at the shopping mall parking when taking a ticket.

Curbs and alloy wheels are like oil and water – they don’t go together. Known as curb rash, they are inexpensive to fix, depending on the severity, and can easily make an aftermarket wheel look horrible – especially if it is coated in a different colour.

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