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One of the most common materials found on aftermarket lip kits, rear wings, body kits, and even under the hood, is ABS plastic. ABS stands for acrylonitrile butadiene styrene and is a common thermoplastic, or a moldable plastic using a specific temperature. This copolymer is made of a percentage of the three compounds that stand for ABS. Depending on the needed properties of what is being manufactured; the proportions can vary from 15 to 35% acrylonitrile, 5 to 30% butadiene, and 40 to 60% styrene.
When the ABS elements are combined, they create an extremely strong plastic with excellent qualities. This tough material has excellent weather capabilities and can functionally be used in temperatures between -4 degrees and 176 degrees Fahrenheit. The finished product, depending on the size, can come to a total parts weight of 2.2 pounds of ABS.
ABS plastic does have flaws. Automotive parts, in particular, are known to fade with direct sunlight. Also, over time, ABS plastic does become brittle. However, since the cost of manufacturing such lightweight, durable parts, many automotive companies rely on ABS. For everything from bumpers, to door side moldings and even seat belt buttons. To counter such issues, it is recommended to paint or coat your ABS plastic, or even save up and order carbon fiber.
Here is a video of someone test fitting and ABS plastic rear lip for a Honda Accord. Notice it doesn’t 100% like high quality ones offered by Octane MotorSports:
To see a full list of automotive ABS parts that Octane MotorSports offers, check out our website. If you have any questions, send us a message.
Another type of polymer, like carbon fiber and fiber glass, that is used in the automotive industry is polyurethane. Since this strong, easy to manufacture polymer is cheap to use and easy to manipulate in any design, poly-urethane is used for almost anything on the inside or outside of your ride.
Depending on what type of polyurethane is used depends on what it is for. There are three types of poly-urethane: foam, reaction injection-molded, and coatings, adhesives, sealants and elastomers. All three are used in almost every vehicle and each has a specific use.
Polyurethane foam is offers automobile manufactures the ability to produce comfortable seats easily. This high performance material allows for a wide range of shapes and sizes, without adding weight. Overtime, polyurethane foam holds its firmness, shape, and resiliency as it did when originally installed. Other interior parts that have any sort of cushion also uses poly-urethane including arm rests and head rests.
The second type of polyurethane used in automotive applications is reaction injection-molded polyurethane, also called RIM polyurethane parts. Manufactures us RIM polyurethane is used in parts that need some sort of flex, but still has plenty of strength. These body parts include fenders, bumpers and spoilers. Because of the lightweight of such body parts, having RIM polyurethane bumpers and fenders will drop weight compared to metal or steel parts and create extra mileage per gallon.
CASE polyurethanes are the last type of poly-urethanes that are used in cars. CASE stands for coating, adhesives, sealants and elastomers, all of which are used in various parts. Polyurethane coating is typically found in paint and provides a car’s exterior with the high gloss, durable finish. Some windshields and windows also use poly-urethane coating which increases strength and lowers the windows ability to fog up.
Polyurethane sealants and adhesives are used in various parts during the installation phase such as in the headlights assemblies or on plastic parts that are in need of extra bonding to other parts on the vehicle. Poly-urethane adhesives and sealants are used in the installation of the these parts because of its strength and durability.
The final polyurethane used are elastomers which are used in water seals, O-rings, and run-flat tires. The properties of these elastomers are made to allow for slight movement, however incredible durability in any application.
Polyurethane is also commonly found in aftermarket suspensions. All vehicles from factory use a rubber based mounts and bushings in the suspensions. With the age and stress, these rubber mounts and bushings deteriorate and need to be replaced. To provide stronger mounts, aftermarket company created suspension bushings, motor mounts, and transmission mounts using polyurethane.
Here is a video about a polyurethane foam that is used in repairing punctures in gas tanks:
Octane MotorSports offers a wide selection of poly-urethane parts including body kits and lip spoilers. If you have any questions about other applications of polyurethane, let us know.
The ultimate in lightweight and strongest in strength, carbon fiber is the hottest material used on fast cars and aftermarket parts. Carbon fiber is, like fiberglass, a very strong and light fiber-reinforced polymer, but carbon fiber uses individual strains of carbon fibers. What happens is these fibers are then fused together using an epoxy to create the part needed for your application. Depending on properties, some carbon fiber mixtures could include Kevlar, aluminum, or even a little fiberglass to create extra strength or necessary weight.
Real carbon fiber parts are very expensive due to the process needed to create such a strong material and currently there is a very limited amount of large manufacturing facilities; however the strength-to-weight ratio and good rigidity is worth the price, depending on the application and the person’s budget. In the automotive racing world today, many race cars use carbon fiber parts such as “safety cells” which are found in F1 and Indy cars and is used for driver protection. For automobile manufactures, some vehicles come with a large amount of carbon fiber from the factory including roofs, spoilers, and front lips.
In the aftermarket world, depending on your application, many aftermarket parts are available including front lips, air intakes, and engine covers. However, the most popular aftermarket carbon fiber part is the carbon fiber hood. These high quality hoods offer a light weight aftermarket solution that provides a great look. In many vehicles, a factory hood can weigh upwards of 50 pounds, where-as an aftermarket carbon fiber hood weighs anywhere between 12-20 pounds depending on the manufacture and the necessary rigidness desired. Because of the drop in weight, your vehicle will have a slightly increased power-to-weight ratio and also will have less drag and could account for better mpgs!
Another benefit of installing a carbon fiber hood is the looks. Many aftermarket carbon fiber hoods come unpainted, but don’t worry; the beautiful design of the fibers themselves looks great on any vehicle. And when you’re ready, install a carbon fiber lip to complete to front end. Other popular carbon fiber body parts are full doors and trucks.
Here is a quick video showing how easy the installation of a carbon fiber hood is on a Honda Civic:
Fiberglass is currently used in plenty of applications including boats, hot tubs, and, of course, car parts like body kits. But what is fiber glass and why is it used? Fiberglass is a reinforced polymer made of a plastic matrix with reinforced fine fibers of glass. This combination creates a lightweight, but extremely strong material that can be molded into any shape or size.
Depending on the size of the job, basic fiber glass can come in three typical forms: tissue, mat, or cloth. The fiberglass tissue is a very thin layer of fiberglass that is smooth and porous that allows placement under the gelcoat, but on top of the fiberglass mat or cloth, depending on how strong the part is supposed to be.
To form fiberglass into a part, manufacturers take a predesigned mold and then fill it with a gelcoat and then
place a thin fiberglass tissue on top. The gelcoat consists of a thick gel-like resin mixed with a color to create the exterior of the part.
Once those steps are done, hardener is used during the drying process that involves a chemical reaction to finalize the part. This sounds easy, however depending on the amount of chemical, temperature, humidity and any water that is present in the fiberglass can mean either 5 minutes or five hours of drying time.
Because this process is very quick for manufactures, fiberglass is used greatly in the automotive aftermarket world. The majority of body kits and hoods are all molded using fiberglass to create a great fitting, strong part for every vehicle while saving, or not adding, weight.
No matter what part is being made, working with fiberglass is very dangerous due to deadly fumes and sharp glass that is used in the mixture. Make sure that you have a well-ventilated area, head to toe protection including mask, and frequent fresh air breaks.
Here is a cool video about Duraflex fiberglass body kits:
Although, adding a full body kit or ground effects kit will add massive style to your ride which comes with all the necessary parts, but if you want complete originality you can order side skirts or rocker panels separately. These parts attach to the existing side molding or under the side of the vehicle and will enhance the look of your vehicle.
Depending on your application, side skirts or rocket panels will add a bit of flair to the portfolio of your vehicle. These body additions also offer a bit of an air blocker, depending on the design, which will lower the air flow under the vehicle which will keep it more stable at higher speeds.
Although these parts are usually not very hard to install, they do come unpainted and will need to send to a paint shop to match your existing vehicle.
To learn more about the different side skirts or rocker panels, contact us. If you want to look through our full line of side skirts, go to Octane MotorSport.
Like my last post, adding a front bumper from an aggressive trim model of your current car or a front lip or front spoiler can add a unique look to your ride, but also increase down force. The aftermarket world has also taken these upgrades to the back of your vehicle where you can install a trunk spoiler or trunk mounted wing to increase the overall looks and aerodynamics of your ride.
Many vehicles in the current marketplace come with some type of trunk mounted spoiler or wing including the latest BMW M3, Honda Civic Si, or the Mitsubishi EVO GSR. All of these manufactured vehicles were designed with such add-ons because of the gain in down force for racing purposes and lower drag or improved aerodynamics which can help fuel efficiency.
Depending on the look you want and the performance gains you’re trying to get, installing either a trunk mounted spoiler of wing is completely up to you. While trunk mounted spoilers are usually unique to the individual car, the majority of wings currently on the market could be installed on any vehicle. With a trunk mounted spoiler, the aerodynamic properties that are changed are not as drastic as a wing; however these do increase the overall drag efficiency of your car.
The wing, on the other hand, has a lot more properties that can affect the down force of the car. Depending on the style of the wing you install, it could be adjustable where the top or sides of the wing can be tilted for optimum specifications.
Here is a cool video of a Porsche being tested in a wind tunnel to study the properties of the rear wing:
Looking to get new looks for the front end of your vehicle? Depending on your application, your vehicle has two different choices: a replacement front bumper cover or a front lip or spoiler kit. Both of these exterior add-ons offer great options to make your ride look a cool as it can, but which is best for your ride.
Depending on the trim level of your car, many manufactures offers more aggressive styling or options for the front bumper. For instance, a stock 2005 Chevy Silverado would come with a steel bumper and plastic corners with fog light cut outs, but no lights. That same year, Chevy offered the Silverado with an SS trim that offered a painted bumper with air intake slits in both the corners. Although these replacement front bumper covers are expensive, once installed, your vehicle could look just like the performance model does from factory.
If your pockets aren’t deep enough for a replacement front bumper cover, consider installed a front lip or front spoiler. These basic trim pieces enhance the look of the front bumper and create a sportier look. Depending on your application and the front lip or front spoiler kit you order, these can drastically increase the down force of your vehicle and help with handling and speed. Some front lip kits or front spoilers even have adjustable features where you can change the amount of down force desired.
Here is a video of a carbon fiber lip on a E92 BMW. Instead of upgrading to the expensive M-Sport bumpers, installing one of these will change the way everyone looks at your ride:
To drastically increase the look of your vehicle, plus possibly giving it a little bit extra down force, installing a body kit or ground effects kit would be the perfect choice. Depending on your vehicle and the look you are going for, body modifications could transform your vehicle from grandma’s old ride, to the hottest car on the block.
The first option to increase the look of your car is to install a body kit. A Body kit usually includes a new front and rear bumpers that have drastic design changes, plus matching side skirts that flow with the bumpers. This kit offers a complete replacement for the existing parts which makes installation easy, but professional installation is still recommended due to parts need to be painted and installed properly.
If you are not looking for a complete makeover, you might be interest in installing ground effects on your car. A ground effects kit installs over the original bumpers and side skirts that create a more unique look for your car without altering it as extremely as a body kit. Many ground effect kits have what has been known as lip spoilers which, recently, have been options on many higher performance vehicles from the dealership.
Here is one of the sickest ground effects kit on the market for the latest Camaro that you can order directly from Octane MotorSports: