“Pimp My Ride”: The Reality (And What You Should Do Instead)

Rusted Pickup Truck Abandoned Old Car Oldtimer

The starting point for “Pimp My Ride”

Pimp My Ride was a wildly successful TV show hosted by rapper Xzibit. It spawned the phrase “pimp my ride” to largely mean “improve my car in some way”– which is ironic, given what the TV show actually did to people’s cars. The premise of the show was simple; take a rusted, battered car and turn it into something showstopping.

While the show may be gone from the airwaves, it’s not been forgotten, especially by those who handed over their vehicles to the show. You may have watched a few episodes yourself and wondered how it was possible; perhaps even inspiring you to play with modifying your car. The next time you eye a modification and wonder if you should pimp your ride, it’s worth remembering what the phrase actually means– and why it was the beginning of a highway to hell for the owners featured on the show.

Pimp My Ride Rendered Cars Undriveable

Imagine what it’s like for the car owners of Pimp My Ride. They get the call to confirm they have been accepted for the show. They’re going to be on TV! Their not-so-great car is going to be given a dream makeover! What could possibly be more exciting?

Well, let’s go with “having a car that’s driveable”. That’s not particularly exciting for the most part; the majority of us automatically expect that our cars will be driveable, right? That’s their primary function, so why would someone who’d been featured on Pimp My Ride be excited about their car being driveable?

Because most of the “modified” cars that went through the show were rendered completely useless. Those that did get through their “pimping” and were still able to be driven were the lucky ones. It turns out if you add a huge stereo system to an old and rusted car, it doesn’t drive very well– who knew?

(Answer: everyone knew.)

Most Pimp My Ride Cars Were Illegal

If you’re driving and a car traveling in the opposite direction breaks the line and hits you, then that’s an annoyance. You have to deal with any potential injuries, learn more about the legalities of the situation, and deal with repairs to your vehicle. It’s an inconvenience, but you’re a reasonable person– accidents happen.

Now let’s say you’re driving and a car traveling in the opposite direction has an arcade machine, a TV, or any of the other “upgrades” offered by the show on board. Unsurprisingly, these mods have been distracting the driver. Are you still feeling reasonable about the crash? Or are you furious with the driver, the show, and law enforcement for allowing cars like this on the road? We’re betting the latter– and here’s the fun part: most of the modifications were completely  illegal. They were for the TV show only.

Former winners have explained how many of the modifications were removed pretty much as soon as filming finished.

Modifications Can Be Fun; But Not “Pimp My Ride” Fun

Adding modifications and upgrades to your car can be enjoyable and result in a better ride experience. However, Pimp My Ride is best looked back on as a work of fiction that was presented as reality. Fun, but not something any sensible driver would ever want to emulate!

It doesn’t seem everyone got the memo, though…

So, where does that leave the eager driving who wants to improve their car? By now, you know that the Pimp My Ride method of modification is definitely something that you’re going to want to avoid, so how can you modify your car without making the same mistakes?

Here are a few ideas that will give your car a touch of personality, without breaking the bank– or the law.

#1 – Go Crazy With Paint

The color of your car is one of the most expressive things about the vehicle. There’s a thousand and one pearl grey or metallic blue cars, so choosing anything remotely unusual will ensure your car is able to stand out from the crowd. You could go for an unusual single color, or paint entire intricate patterns if you have an artist’s touch.

There’s a fun upside to making your car’s paint more individual; it means your vehicle is less likely to be stolen. The reason behind this is simple; the more a car stands out, the more likely it is to be tracked by the police or owners. The common paint colors are far more likely to be stolen than more unusual colors, such as pink. So not only can you give your car an individual flair, but also help reduce the likelihood of theft, too.

#2 – Be Careful With The Sound System

Who needs a trunk when you can have volume?

One of the most common modifications that people do to their vehicles is to the sound system. Rather than the often-low-powered system that comes as a manufacturer’s default, people like to boost the sound with extra speakers and sound boosts.

That’s all well and good, but there’s a real risk to playing with the sound system of a car. First and foremost, you could invalidate your insurance. Changing the stereo of a car involves playing with the electronics, which can have a number of knock-on effects that make the car harder to drive. Insurers don’t like to insure cars that are harder to drive. If you do want to modify the sound system, it’s not a DIY job; ask a licensed professional to do the work, and inform your insurance as soon as it’s complete.

It’s also worth remembering that your car needs to fall within parameters of noise control and pollution. If you want to pump the volume in an isolated area, that’s fine, but in residential neighborhoods, you need to keep the volume turned way down.

#3 – Change The Upholstery

The upholstery is superficial, and you should be able to do whatever you want with it without causing an issue with your insurance. You could swap the fabric, install entirely new material, or use dyes to create a truly unique look. It won’t modify the way your car drives, but changing the upholstery does give a personal touch that can look incredible– definitely one of the easiest mods to DIY.

Have you ever been tempted to modify your car?

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