Auto tuning show highlights great deals

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Auto tuning show highlights great deals

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A model poses next to a car-wrapping product show at the 2016 Seoul Auto Salon on Thursday. This promotional exhibition for the car tuning industry is currently being held in COEX, southern Seoul, through Sunday. [KIM CHOON-SIK]

Car tuning doesn’t always have to be expensive to be good. Cost-effective alternatives are becoming readily available as the industry offers quality tuning products at lower price to meet market trends and consumers’ rising expectations.

Although the spotlight may center on the tunings of cars like the Lamborghini Huracan LP610-4 Polizia, a $300,000-interceptor boosted for Italian police, budget-car owners don’t have to feel envious because here in Korea, they can get their own set of tweaks for only about 3 million won ($2,600).

Affordable tuning packages offer either design remodeling or performance upgrades. For the design revamp, owners can start with their wheels. Wheels not only bestow a unique appearance on automobiles, but they can also be changed easily, making them an eligible first choice. Aluminum alloy wheels made by Hands Corporation, a domestic wheelmaker, can be purchased starting from 275,000-won apiece. Alloy wheels are lighter and smoother than their steel counterparts.

Owners can also opt to change the color of the streaks they leave behind by wrapping or repainting their cars with catchphrases, patterns or pictures that can best represent their personalities. Wraps produced by 3M cost around 1.8 to 2 million won including service fees, and prices may change for each brand and model of vehicle. Painting, the more expensive alternative, costs 4 to 5 million won but makes for a better presentation.

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For those who prefer comfort to fashion, car seats may be the more attractive choice. Prices differ greatly based on materials and producers, but a typical set of synthetic leather seats with warming function costs 800,000 won, while soft-tempered nappa leather seats are priced at around 1.9 million won, based on numbers offered by the domestic car seat producer Aimban.

The most cost-effective performance boost is brake tuning. A KGC-XR brand kit of disc brakes, whereby wheel-installed discs are clutched to stop movement with friction, is priced at 850,000 won, or more than 2 million won if additional equipment and service charges are considered. Prices for the brake pads themselves range from 70,000 to 500,000 won.

Wind resistance can also be adjusted with car body kits. Examples are a tail spoiler, which is attached to the end of the trunk to reduce turbulence, and the front splitter, which prevents undercar airflow from lifting to the front side of vehicles at high velocities. Lower side flanks can be protected with side skirts.

Speed enthusiasts, on the other hand, might want to browse car suspensions. KW Suspension’s three variant products are sold at 2 million to 3 million won, excluding installation fees.

Some tweaks of filters, turbochargers and oxygen sensors also allow drivers to reduce the fine-dust particle emission levels of their cars. The more complete combustion is, the less exhaust is emitted. These tunings increase the efficiency of the fuel-to-energy conversion process.

Owners who pay attention to environmental concerns should get their cars checked regularly. Filters and equipment that get rid of residual waste deteriorate as time passes and should be replaced once every year. Nitrogen oxide reduction systems such as the catalytic reduction should be checked every 5,000 kilometers, or 3,107 miles, whereas automobile’s exhaust gas recirculation systems should be checked once the 50,000 to 100,000-kilometer mark is reached.

Exhibitions of the latest trends in car tuning are opened more frequently as consumers show more interest. The affordable tuning packages are featured at the Seoul Auto Salon, a government-organized exhibition that ambitiously features tuning products and care services sold by 100 domestic and international companies. The event, which is organized by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport and the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy, started on Thursday in COEX, southern Seoul.


BY MOON HEE-CHUL [lee.dongeun@joongang.co.kr]

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