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Old 15th December 2011, 11:57   #1
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Default Are we hypocritical on safety? How safe are mods & accessories?

A manufacturer releases a product after much research and testing. Even the smallest screw used in our car is actually a design component. The slightest modification we do on our car, are we not mocking the countless hours of R & D put behind in building such a wonderful engineering, the car?

On one side, we bash manufacturers for not putting ABS and air-bags as standards. On the other hand, we, after buying a car with ABS and air-bags, rush to the nearest accessories center, change the ICE, add DRLs, add brighter head lamps, change alloys, add wider tires and all sort of modifications even without making the warranty void. My question is why are we not aware (if aware, why do we tend to ignore) the safety implications each and every changed / added part make? We bash people who put non-OEM spares on their vehicle, yet the same us, clap for every modded vehicles that has not been designed in any way.

Will the ICE installer check the load rating and put an appropriate fuse, or will he put any spare fuse available? Are we actually testing it out? Are the after-market alloys tested long term on each and every vehicle it is being put? Are the wider tires tested for the safety of the lower arm and other suspension components? Are the spoilers we add tested for aerodynamics and high speed stability? Are you sure that the brighter bulb don't spark up a flame? Don't the spacers we add for seat height snap first in case of an emergency braking?

I am not totally against modifications, improvements and testings by ourselves, but I wanted to know why we follow double standards. Providing safety is not the duty of the manufacturers alone, but ours to not destroy whatever is available. Is it not high time we Indians changed our thought process? In India, there have been an ever increasing case of people (manufacturers, dealers and corporates are no exception) with the attitude "I know everything and I only am right".
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Old 15th December 2011, 12:19   #2
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Default Re: Are we hypocritical on safety?

I think that the modern assembly line car comes for a sample size of minds. Not all will like them fully. People like the car say like 40% of the car to 80% car end up buying it for various reasons. Now I don't see an issue in modding the cars to suit your style and requirements provided it remains within the design limits. We are a country known for using automobiles way beyond their limits.
  • Tata Ace carrying 2ton load is not an uncommon sight (allowed is only 700kgs)
  • Bajaj scooter carrying 4 people was a common sight through the 90s
  • Three wheelers carrying 10-15kids is a common and very dangerous thing.
Want to add another angle to the same issue of being hypocritical about safety.
We ask for safety in the form ABS Airbags etc and want it all standard in the car and when the car manufacturer brings it all standard we shy away from the car saying that it is costly.

We talk about safety that seat belts give etc and then when it comes to asking our co-passenger/your friend/parents to buckle up we have second thoughts about how he/she would react to our request.

Some of it due to the culture of our great country but somethings are better if they change.
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Old 15th December 2011, 12:27   #3
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Default Re: Are we hypocritical on safety?

Quote:
Originally Posted by thoma View Post

add wider tires .
Won't comment much about other stuff, but if your up size is within manufacturer's specs its fine.

I upsized the tires on my VDi to Zdi spec. Though this is an upsize for a Vdi, it still is stock for the Zdi.
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Old 15th December 2011, 12:29   #4
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Default Re: Are we hypocritical on safety?

Adding wider tyres and Alloy wheels are not going to make the car unsafe, yes if done without discretion the 'specifically designed' components of the suspension will not last the time they were designed to last. But what the heck, even cars without mods and having trouble are not really replaced/rectified by the manufacturers except in very few cases. Most of the folks who carry out these mods are quite aware of their warranty loses.

Moreover, the showrooms themselves offer the same mods, electrical or mechanical to the brand new cars and still cover them in warranty, so who is complaining ? I don't see the manufacturers complain and cancel their dealerships.

In fact wider and better tyres add to the stability and control of the car rather than to make it unsafe. Manufacturers have certain things only in their priority list, e.g better FE or better marketability and their products are designed keeping this in mind. They care a hoot about the customer's safety, to say the least. They are obliged to provide certain quality in their cars only due to competition, controls and awareness of the general public, if not we will still be driving cars like the amby and padmini.
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Old 15th December 2011, 15:03   #5
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Default Re: Are we hypocritical on safety?

I wanted to be more specific on Team-BHP member, rather than the general public, even though Team-BHP does represents the general public in some capacity.

Does the majority of Team-BHP support use of non-OEM spares and non-authorized services? No right? Then how does the same majority support modifications without proper design?
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Old 15th December 2011, 15:09   #6
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Default Re: Are we hypocritical on safety?

So how does one justify even BHPians fitting a FFE? What happens to the catcon in such cases? Will the car meet emission norms?
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Old 15th December 2011, 15:15   #7
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Default Re: Are we hypocritical on safety?

Quote:
Originally Posted by thoma View Post
I wanted to be more specific on Team-BHP member, rather than the general public, even though Team-BHP does represents the general public in some capacity.

Does the majority of Team-BHP support use of non-OEM spares and non-authorized services? No right? Then how does the same majority support modifications without proper design?
I, for one support modifications.
I agree there are design considerations but dont know how adding a spoiler, adding wider tires, including a piggy back ECU etc will harm the user or anyone around.
I also want to say that people are getting hurt on the road even otherwise.
Now tell if we replace the standard brakes with ventilated brakes how is it a problem ?
Same with Bilstein shocks instead of standard shock.
Sorry, I simply think that user of the car should have the choice and I believe no owner of the car would use a component if he/she thinks that is potentially dangerous.
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Old 15th December 2011, 15:25   #8
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Default Re: Are we hypocritical on safety?

Thoma, one aspect to remember is that many of these after market products that are purchased (atleast the ones from reputed brands) have also undergone countless hours of testing and R&D. They're built to standards that match (if not exceed) the ones that came with the vehicle.

Most OEM's have to supply components at a given price, for which quality often suffers. Aftermarket Companies, however, have the freedom to sell relatively more expensive components, of higher quality, as their customer base typically comes to them with improvement of their vehicles in mind, and are ready to pay for the same!

So yes, if you do your research there is absolutely nothing wrong in purchasing aftermarket components.

Last edited by anekho : 15th December 2011 at 15:27.
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Old 15th December 2011, 15:32   #9
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Default Re: Are we hypocritical on safety?

How does one justify putting stuff like Bull-Bars etc on their SUVs ? Not only they are fatally dangerous for pedestrians/other cars in case of accidents, they even make crumple zones useless. Still we have many BHP-ians proudly displaying their cars with bull bars and likes.
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Old 15th December 2011, 15:34   #10
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Default Re: Are we hypocritical on safety?

Modding a car is the owner's personal choice. The approach they take towards it makes the difference. If the owner is aware or made aware that higher wattage bulbs emit more heat and hence they have to use ceramic holders in order to not cause sparking/melting of the holder; made aware of the limitations of going higher than a certain value as it will dull the reflectors, then going for better bulbs with better throw and intensity than stock is perfectly safe. Same for each component that is changed. If done within certain limits, it will help in either better handling, grip etc rather than jeopardizing the safety. Going overboard with the mods is what causes safety hazards on the vehicle

My 2 cents!

EDIT: @ anekho: You said what i missed to pen down in my initial post mate! Aftermarket products from reputed brands do undergo extensive testing like you said and is perfectly safe to adopt on our vehicles.

Last edited by abhinav.s : 15th December 2011 at 15:36.
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Old 15th December 2011, 15:36   #11
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Default Re: Are we hypocritical on safety?

Quote:
Originally Posted by figo_mba View Post
I agree there are design considerations but dont know how adding a spoiler, adding wider tires, including a piggy back ECU etc will harm the user or anyone around.
That was exactly what i wanted to drive home. Can we make ignorance an excuse? Can we guarantee that nothing will happen? Manufacturers wind tunnel test for aerodynamics and stability. Do we? Same with other aspects. The carry out an extensive test. Do we?

Quote:
I also want to say that people are getting hurt on the road even otherwise.
Very true, but does it mean we do not do our part?

Quote:
Now tell if we replace the standard brakes with ventilated brakes how is it a problem ?
Same with Bilstein shocks instead of standard shock.
The only problem is that you are running a test car with those accessories out in the public. Where as the manufacturer has tested thousands of kms with their OEM parts. Please let me re-iterate that I am not against you or anyone in person, or against modifications. Just wanted to check out whether our mind is corrupted (read as illogical) in bashing non-OEM spares and lack of safety features on one side and appreciating modded cars on the other side.
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Old 15th December 2011, 15:38   #12
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Default Re: Are we hypocritical on safety?

Quote:
Originally Posted by thoma View Post
On one side, we bash manufacturers for not putting ABS and air-bags as standards. On the other hand, we, after buying a car with ABS and air-bags, rush to the nearest accessories center, change the ICE, add DRLs, add brighter head lamps, change alloys, add wider tires and all sort of modifications even without making the warranty void.
I tend to agree with your direction. When younger and with lower spec vehicles I also tended to add accessories. Now with age and higher end vehicles I try and avoid them as far as possible. With old Amby's and FIATs the choice was so limited that customisation became the name of the game. Now the options from the manufacturer allow you (within your pocket) to satisfy your desire.

One thing which I think is Ok as tyres. Just check the same car abroad, chances are it will have wider tyres and larger wheels. The latter for better handling. Our roads do not necessarily make it a good habit but due to interests of economy most cars are under tyred. So a One Upsize may be called for and even desirable.

As for music systems, most responsible installers do take care of the power, and cutting into the loom is now (almost) history.
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Old 15th December 2011, 15:50   #13
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Default Re: Are we hypocritical on safety?

My take is that out of the factory, a car is built to have general appeal, and down to the minimal cost.

I havent heard of ABS/airbag modifications.
all i have seen are
1. ICE:bare minimum supplied is replaced
2. Tyres/alloys : again, alloys are expensive, and tyres affect economy(and no manufacturer in india will ever take a hit on average!!)
3. engine : again, manufacturer will provide an optimum balance between power and average.Some of us prefer more of the former, the wider audience prefers the latter, so they win.we gotta do what we gotta do.
so on, and on ...


I will agree with you on a couple of things, like bullbars, and the flag thingies on cars
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Old 15th December 2011, 15:55   #14
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Default Re: Are we hypocritical on safety?

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Originally Posted by anekho View Post
Thoma, one aspect to remember is that many of these after market products that are purchased (atleast the ones from reputed brands) have also undergone countless hours of testing and R&D. They're built to standards that match (if not exceed) the ones that came with the vehicle.
Agreed, but not on the particular vehicle we buy, right? If then why do manufacturers void warranty even if you add a more quality part? Because it is not tested for suitability on that particular make of car. A manufacturer is not an assembler alone. They have to give road worthiness to the car as a whole.
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Old 15th December 2011, 15:58   #15
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Manufacturers have a certain set of priorities based on which design decisions are made, so there are trade offs you've got to make when modding your car e.g. wider tires reduce FE and make the steering harder in exchange for better grip, tuning boxes reduce engine life and FE for more power etc.
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