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This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!

Published on Mon, Oct 1, 2007

By: The LACar Editorial Staff

Book Review

COMPLETE IDIOT'S GUIDE TO CUSTOMIZING YOUR RIDE THE ULTIMATE RESOURCE TO TRICKING OUT YOUR CAR! by Tom Benford and Andy Goodman Alpha Books, Penguin USA, New York, 2007 Soft Bound; 294 pages, 8 color pages 9.4 x 7.4 x 0.8 inches ISBN-10: 1592576540 ISBN-13: 978-1592576548 $19.95


The Idiot's Guide genre has taken over the book world. Well, at least it has taken over the beginner's guide realm. The thinking goes that folks who might actually be beginners at something would be more willing to get in the game if they can first laugh at themselves. Shrugging off the "idiot" label has proven easy enough, as a host of titles under the banner has shown. The Complete Idiot's Guide to Customizing Your Ride is written with the beginner, er, idiot, in mind (okay, I'll get off the name game). Really, for the guy who wants to personalize his car there are so many ways to do it that the task of deciding what to do is in itself a daunting challenge. From external items such as air dams, lights, and tires/wheels to interior gauges, stereo, controls then under the hood modifications along the lines of intakes, computer chips, dress-up, and turbos a car guy could simply decide that doing nothing is easier than changing things around. The Complete Idiot's Guide to Customizing Your Ride handles all these tasks is fine order. Written in a friendly manner, the book focuses on tuner cars , also known as sports compact cars. Loosely defined as a high performance version of a sub-compact, the base vehicle frequently is a Honda Civic or Accord; Mitsubishi Eclipse; Toyota Camry or Corolla; Chevrolet Cavalier, Dodge Neon, or Ford Focus. Subcompact cars typically have front wheel drive, four cylinders, conservative design, and are built with practicality of point-A to point-B driving in mind. For the tuner-oriented owner, these cars are ripe with opportunity for personal modification. Arranged into logical sections, this book takes a reader through the variety of options and offers up a reasoned approach to determining which mods are right for a given owner and vehicle. From the tools and skill level required to the availability of parts and resources for each task, a reader can start the process with a degree of confidence. The Complete Idiot's Guide to Customizing Your Ride provides tips, tricks, and trivia to enlighten the reader. These are helpful in understanding the Why's as well as the How's when customizing your ride. The authors are quick to point up the importance of shop safety, calling in knowledgeable friends, and using car clubs or other events to establish a plan of action before getting too far over your head. Each chapter wraps up with a paragraph banner of "The Least You Need to Know" reminding the reader of key points made. At a mere 294 pages, this book is remarkably detailed and includes enough information to satisfy a seasoned tuner as well as the beginner. Its straightforward approach assumes the reader is an interested enthusiast in need of information and delivers in fine fashion. Anyone interested in modifying their ride would do well to add The Complete Idiot's Guide to Customizing Your Ride to their toolbox. Before disabling your transportation or (worse yet) deciding that personalizing your ride in any meaningful way is beyond your reach, consult The Complete Idiot's Guide to Customizing Your Ride. Chapter Headings 1. The fast-paced world of Tuners - In Tune with the Times - Different Types and Body Styles 2. Getting Started - Assessing Your Current Ride - Budgeting Time and Money - Tools are Cool 3. Outward Appearance - Front and Rear Lighting - Right Up Front - Body Parts - Fabricating Parts - Paint, Graphics, and Glass 4. Performance - Making More Ponies - Fire in the Hole (Hotter Ignition) - Deep Breathing (Air Induction) - Fueled (Improving Fuel Delivery) - Computer Hacking (Chips and Reprogramming) - Power Exhaling (Hi-Flow Exhaust) 5. Hit the Road - Shocks, Springs, and Coilovers - Struts, Sway Bars, and More - Better Binders for Improved Stopping Tires and Wheels 6. Customizing the Cabin - Touchy Feely - Seating - Audio and Video Gear 7. Car Culture Social Interaction - Seeing What She Can Do 8. Appendixes

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