This one was tough. Every large chain parts store has a performance or dress up aisle filled with automotive abominations that should never be spoken of, let along applied to the defenseless flanks of an automobile. In the great book of “Car Guy” (and girl) there is a paragraph that gives the green light to tackling anyone you see in that aisle, at any time. Even if they are just window shopping.
The Top 11 Worst Parts Found in the “Performance” Aisle of a Chain Parts Store
11) Spinner hubcaps: As horrible a trend or fad as spinner wheels were, at least they were actual wheels. The fake, plastic, spinner hub caps are without question a violation that you can not absolve yourself of for the rest of your life, even if that is 80 years after first buying them.
10) Light-up windshield washer squirters: There should be a registry for people who buy these, much like the one for sex offenders.
9) Any interior junk with flames on it: Good automotive interiors are artwork. Bad automotive interiors are barf inducting. Anything that comes out of “the aisle” with flames on it is automotive ipecac.
8) Chinese chrome exhaust tips: They’re cheap, they look like dog poo, they’ll rust in about 71 seconds, and if you have not gotten the point yet, they suck. The kid buying these is going to install them (improperly) on his 1992 Chevy Celebrity that formerly belonged to his grandmother.
7) Any type of glue-on fake scoop/ground effects/etc: How many pickup trucks do we need to see with the glue-on hood scoops that are asymmetrically placed on their hoods by owners who’ve downed three or four beers before starting the install?
6) Simulated diamond plate floor mats: When you see a vehicle with these mats in it, you have our permission to remove them, find the owner, wrap the matt around their head, and hit them with a shovel. It’s diamond plate so it won’t hurt them right? That’s what you tell the judge.
5) Flame decals: The only good thing about stick-on flames is that you immediately identify yourself as someone we want nothing to do with. It saves all of us the awkwardness of staring at you and walking away muttering insults.
4) High-performance pedal covers: Typically installed on automatic, low-po, imported junk, they are frequently found on V6 Mustangs as well. Replacing grippy factory rubber pedal covers with plastic, slippery covers is a brilliant move. The guy you rear-end will thank you.
3) Billet-look fuel filler door: This seems to be a popular “upgrade” amongst pickup truck owners. It’s a pickup truck guys, nothing racy about it. Please stop.
2) Fake Carbon Fiber: The ultimate cheesy, poseur, ricer junk out there. The only thing worse than the actual product is normally the application technique of the vehicle owner, it’s usually craptastic. Makes simulated woodgrain look stylish.
1) Stick-on portholes: Buick had a good idea once, a styling point recalling the heyday of the classic exhaust ports through the hood. That same idea has been made horrific now that stick-on, plastic portholes are seen on everything from Smart cars to Escalades.
Note: Skull license plates and frames have been omitted from this list to protect the sensibilities of the guilty among us.