Best Body Kit Material 2017

Posted by David @ PRO on

[title text="Which Body Kit Material Is Best?"]

Accidents happen every day.

The first line of defense are the bumpers or body panels on your vehicle. The automobile has come a long way, from its conception when everything was made from steel and metal to the modern-day automobile, which is essentially a metallic frame wrapped with plastic. Just like how a plastic surgeon can aesthetically alter the appearance of a patient, enthusiasts now have found much pleasure in altering the aesthetic appearance of their cars with body kit upgrades and conversion kits.

Today, there are many different materials used in the construction of a car’s body kit, and they each have their own advantages and disadvantages. From ABS plastic, to polyurethane, to more high tech polymers such as polypropylene, there is a wide variety of materials to choose from.

Have you ever asked yourself:

Which material is right for me? Did you know that polyurethane (urethane for short) gained popularity because of its flexibility and durability compared to fiberglass?

Did you know that fiberglass, on the other hand is more widely available and costs less, but is prone to fracture even under light impact?

Then there are more advanced plastics that have gained popularity in recent years such as polypropylene, along with premium materials such as carbon fiber, that has become more affordable over time as manufacturing practices evolve and become more efficient and cost effective.

Let’s take an in depth look at each of these materials:

[accordion] [accordion-item title="Poplypropylene"] [row] [col span__sm="12"]

Polypropylene is a polymer that has many commercial applications and is primary used in injection moulding manufacturing processes. This body kit material was later adopted by the automotive industry around 2014, because of its durability and its elastic properties. Who wouldn’t want a bumper that was light, strong, and could “bounce back” after impact? Further research was done by material science to enhance polypropylene and give it strong paint-adhesion properties. This makes it ideal for manufacturers, such as BMW, that use primerless paint systems to improve the efficiency of their in-house assembly line.

When considering materials for a body kit, it is important to understand why polypropylene is a popular choice and rising very quickly to the top. It achieves an excellent balance between impact resistance and stiffness, weight savings and flexibility, making it quite the ideal material for mass producing body kits. One would logically reason that if automakers themselves are choosing such a material to use in their own manufacturing process, they have probably done tremendous research to support that decision.

[ux_image id="2683" image_size="medium" link="https://www.proautomotion.com/shop/2014-bmw-f32-4-series-m-sport-style-full-body-conversion-kit/"] [/col] [/row] [/accordion-item] [accordion-item title="Carbon Fiber"]

Known in the manufacturing world as carbon fiber-reinforced polymer, carbon fiber itself isn’t actually a plastic but a cloth material made of strands of carbon atoms. The molecular alignment of carbon fibers is what give them their strength. These fibers are woven and braided together in a unique pattern which gives carbon fiber its distinctive appearance. The fabric is extremely light weight and strong, which is why this material was adopted for use in the automotive industry.

This body kit material is ideal for racing applications, which requires high strength materials while minimizing weight. Parts made from this material are clear coated and do not require painting, but that doesn’t mean you can’t paint them. The cost of carbon fiber is significantly more expensive than other materials. The manufacturing process is highly labor intensive and requires a breadth of experience to make sure the end product is a high-quality part that looks great and also can withstand the daily wear-and-tear.

[ux_image id="2660" link="https://www.proautomotion.com/shop/2014-bmw-f32-4-series-end-cc-style-carbon-fiber-front-splitter-lip/"] [/accordion-item] [accordion-item title="Fiberglass"]

Fiberglass is well known in the automotive industry because it is relatively cheap and easy to manufacture. However, the fit and finish are not as good as products made from other materials. This body kit material is also extremely rigid and is prone to breaking and shattering upon impact. It’s rigidity also makes installation troublesome and body shops will often have to spend much more effort to make the installation go smoothly. At the end of the day, cost does tend to win the battle of value, but as auto manufacturers begin to widely adopt the usage of the other materials, body kit manufacturers may also follow suit.

[ux_image id="2856" link="https://www.proautomotion.com"] [/accordion-item] [accordion-item title="Polyurethane"]

Fiberglass is well known in the automotive industry because it is relatively cheap and easy to manufacture. However, the fit and finish are not as good as products made from other materials. This body kit material is also extremely rigid and is prone to breaking and shattering upon impact. It’s rigidity also makes installation troublesome and body shops will often have to spend much more effort to make the installation go smoothly. At the end of the day, cost does tend to win the battle of value, but as auto manufacturers begin to widely adopt the usage of the other materials, body kit manufacturers may also follow suit.

[ux_image id="2857" link="https://www.proautomotion.com"] [/accordion-item] [accordion-item title="ABS Plastic"]

Fiberglass is well known in the automotive industry because it is relatively cheap and easy to manufacture. However, the fit and finish are not as good as products made from other materials. This body kit material is also extremely rigid and is prone to breaking and shattering upon impact. It’s rigidity also makes installation troublesome and body shops will often have to spend much more effort to make the installation go smoothly. At the end of the day, cost does tend to win the battle of value, but as auto manufacturers begin to widely adopt the usage of the other materials, body kit manufacturers may also follow suit.

[ux_image id="2858" link="https://www.proautomotion.com"] [/accordion-item] [/accordion]

We hope the above article is helpful for you when it comes to choosing the right body kit. We can't make this decision for you, but we hope this article can at least point you in the right direction.

We all know that cost is a very important factor, and no matter what material you chose, an experienced body shop (with enough funds/resources) can accomplish your desired outcome.

If you're thinking about saving money:

You may think that fiberglass is the ideal choice, however, the cost of having a shop install a fiberglass kit properly may far exceed your expectations. Investing in polypropylene body kit may be more expensive initially, but the amount of labor and materials it would cost a body shop to install such a kit may be much less, thus actually saving you money in the long run.

In closing, a very important note:

Find an experienced and reputable body shop! Ask questions! Set proper expectations! Call around, find 2-3 shops that you can get quotes from, and do your homework. Do not make these decisions in haste. Each of these materials have distinct advantages and disadvantages. Make sure to choose the best option for your needs and budget.

Consider the entire process when purchasing body kits, because you can easily end up spending hundreds of dollars more because you wanted to save a few bucks on the front end, whereas spending a bit more on the front end can potentially save you both time, money, and frustration on the back end.


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