Are intakes ricey?

Intakes can be rice too. While they may only be under the hood a good ear can hear them.Some intakes that look cooler with flashy colors and big air filters may actually be worse for the car.  If the intake air is not extracted from an area of cold temp efficiently and to the correct specifications it will actually cause the vehicle to have reduced horse power and less performance. This makes most aftermarket air filters and intake systems, that may not be properly researcher and developed, simply eye candy. A properly flowing air filter will bring in the correct amount of air flow at cold temp thus improving the volumetric efficiency of the engine. Most of the time the company that has the means and time to provide this ample amount of research and development is the manufacturer. This is why in many cases, adding on an aftermarket air filter or intake will void your vehicles warranty unless it is provided through the manufacturer or is a manufacturer approved brand.

Smooth throttle upon clutch engagement

Have you ever heard an obnoxious car (typically Honda drivers) at a stop making weird noises?  Similar to the one below?

You may hear interesting noises right as they’re going to leave they’re parking space. The sound that i’m talking about is of an inexperienced manual car operator. It will sound like said driver is not smoothly depressing the throttle but gently and repeatedly tapping on the gas. This is something that is very difficult to achieve in a real performance car. A commonly used technique in front wheel drive vehicles with small wheels is flicking the gas while pulling out the clutch to prevent stalling out. This is a technique that inexperienced drivers will use to drive manual cars. The reason why this is considered ricey is because you literally can’t do this with any car that has any amount of unsprung weight, aka anything that is rear wheel drive or all wheel drive cars. Unsprung weight is what happens when you have a drivetrain built to handle any amount of power the weight of the components in the transmission, drive shaft, differentials, and even the wheels and tires will cause most vehicles that are able to handle power to need more gas upon initial acceleration  or you’ll have to have a clutch grabby enough to handle the power coming out of the engine. There is absolutely no benefit for tapping the gas before acceleration, it is solely

used for hiding the fact that those drivers do not know how to drive manuals car properly.

Is underglow ricey?

To put it simply, yes.

Underglow is a strictly appearance based modification and provides zero performance gain. For those of you who don’t know what underglow is, this is it. Underglow is a light system that installed to illuminate the lowest portion of the vehicles body.

There is absolutely no performance gain by installing these on your car. If anything it is adding on unnecessary weight that just slows the vehicle down. These light kits depending on where you buy it can be pretty cheap in terms of quality. A lot of the time, the pre-made kits are not perfect fits for individual cars but have a standard shape that somewhat fit most. Those kits that are made to fit multiple vehicles don’t come with housings to protect the wires as well. So you’re leaving those wires completely exposed on the underside of your vehicle. This does cause problems for not only the lights itself but for whatever else it is attached too. If any of the wire attach to anything and get snagged it can rip off accessory pieces to the underside of the car.  In most states underglow is actually illegal to run on your vehicle. To many other drivers around you, it is very distracting and can cause possible car accidents. Some states do allow it but have strict restrictions on where it is allowed to be installed and what color it can be.

Blow off Valves or BOVs

Let’s talk about a less common ricey modification but probably one of the most heart breaking. The blow off valve.

Blow off valves can only be equipped with turbocharged vehicles. Turbocharged cars typically come equipped with more performance than there base model counterparts. Some owners of turbocharged vehicles decided to equip their vehicles with what is called a blow off valve. In some but not all circumstances, this can be considered a ricey mod. Some modern turbocharged vehicles come stock with some sort of atmospheric venting for positive boost pressure. The sound of that venting is called “blow off”. If the vehicle is factory equipped with an atmospheric vent, allowing it to make more noise by replacing the valve has no performance gain and literally only makes it sound different.

Almost all turbocharged vehicles do not come from the factory with an atmospheric venting system, instead they are equipped with what is called a recirculating valve. The purpose of this is to not waste the positive pressure by “blowing off” into the atmosphere, but to take the pressure and reuse it to help the performance of the car. The real heartbreak comes when a vehicle that is equipped stock with a recirculating valve is replaced with a blow off valve for the purpose of having a more aggressive sound. A few different negative things happen to the vehicle when the owner does this without having proper supporting modifications. First off, in any application atmospheric blow off will reduce spool time in-between shift, therefore reducing the performance of the car. Secondly and more importantly, if the vehicle is equipped from the factory as “MAF sensed” most vehicles ECUs or engine control units will compensate for the loss in pressure by adding or reducing fuel to the air coming in therefore skewing the air to fuel ratio. As any mechanic will tell you, having the incorrect air to fuel ratio can cause a variety of symptoms ranging from fuel consumption, to reduced performance, and even engine failure. To correctly install a blow off system and have it be considered a performance upgrade, you must first spend multiple of thousands of dollars installing or upgrading a turbocharger on your vehicle. This concludes my personal opinions as to why blow off valves are considered ricey.

If you’re interested in what a blow off valve sounds like, check out this video below!

Annnndddd if you’d like a little giggle or are interested on what a fake one sounds like, check out this video!

Why do some cars have an obnoxious sounding exhaust?

The exhaust systems now a days can be pretty difficult to tell wether or not it would be considered ricey but we can talk about a common misconception.

Muffler size

Many people and car enthusiasts alike are under the false impression that a wider diameter pipe causes more noise from a car engine. For example, how many times have you seen an old Honda civic going down the road with a big can looking thing on the back of it? Probably sounded pretty terrible right? Again many people are under the impression that that style muffler will give it a louder and more impressive sound than a smaller one, this is false. The decibel level is determined by many different factors even including the motor itself. Less restriction and or fewer baffles are what increases the sound in the exhaust not the size of the piping. Piping does however denote the pitch at which the exhaust note is played at. Typically the larger the actual piping is, the higher the pitch will be. Many tuners and or adept modification enthusiasts know this fact to be true, where as the 18 year old with his Del Sol in the high school parking lot has yet to discover. Another misconceptions with amateur enthusiasts is that the exhaust tips actually improve performance. Depending on the car and part, it can even retard the performance of the car, unless a truly less restriction portion of the system is replaced or installed. In conclusion, a quick tip for spotting a ricer is a large fart can on the back of an exhaust. Below is also a video that I’ve found that shows different types of cars and exhaust notes common to tuners and ricers.

**As a heads up, there is explicit language in this video and comments that are a little distasteful as well. These are not comments of my own, this video just had some of the best videos for sound**

Why do people slam their cars down low??

Ride Height.

Why do people lower their cars? Isn’t it just a thing ricers do?

Lowering your suspension is a very common aftermarket modification which causes the vehicle to sit lower to the ground. There are some pretty good benefits to lower a cars suspension and some disadvantages to it as well.

Of some of the advantages a big one is aerodynamics. When the vehicle sits closer to the ground it decreases the amount of air that goes underneath the vehicle, which then reduces the amount of drag on the car. It also helps out with the cars handling and traction. With the car being closer to the ground it can actually improve the tires grip on the road which allows for better handling. There is a point in which it becomes too much and actually hinders the performance of the vehicle. Being lower to the ground also reduces the risk of rolling over. Lowering the car lowers the center of gravity for that vehicle which reduces the chances of flipping it over. Depending on how you lower the car, it can also improve the way it feels in terms of comfort. Lowering it can make the car feel smoother and less prone to rattling around, but this is all dependent on how you lower it. In some cases it makes it drastically worse.

Although there are many perks to lowering a car, it does come with some significant disadvantages too.

As soon as you lower the cars clearance you are significantly increasing the risk of bottoming out. This is when the bottom of the vehicle scrapes against the ground. This is especially troublesome when you have to go over speed bumps or go over any sort of incline. Even getting into sloped driveways or entry ways can be a nightmare. If that wasn’t already an issue, you also wear the tires unevenly. Lowering a car often adjusts the wear pattern of the tires and increases your chances of a blowout. This also goes hand in hand with the actual technical components of the suspension. It’ll actually bring the suspension closer to other parts on the car, for example the fenders in the wheel well. By bringing it down so far, if you were to try and turn your vehicle it can actually cause it to rub against the fenders.

Camber??

Another commonly modified part of sports cars or “riced” out cars is called “camber”. Camber is measure of the wheel perpendicular to the ground. Camber is measured in degrees, either positive or negative.

 positive.

Positive camber is when the top of the wheel sticks further out than the bottom of the wheel. Positive camber is usually not used on vehicles because it is very dangerous. When a vehicle goes into a turn the weight is shifted onto the outside of the tire, which is a very small portion of the tire. While this helps turn-in, it also causes very dangerous loss of traction in certain situations. The only cars that use positive camber is NASCAR cars. Positive camber is also typically seen on vehicles that are not properly maintained.

 

 Negative

Negative camber is when the bottom of the wheel sticks out further than the top of the wheel. This is seen in small amounts on every properly maintain vehicle. Unlike positive camber, negative camber actually helps provide safety in most turning situations. When a car is turning the weight is shifted to the outside edge of the vehicle, with negative camber it actually provides a wider contact patch with the road on the tire that the weight is being transferred to. Ergo, a safer turn providing more traction, equalling a faster car.

 ricey negative

Unfortunately many ricers enjoy the look of this on a lowered car, which is sometimes called stance. Past a few negative degrees this can actually hinder the performance of the vehicle, reducing the functionality of the suspension and the safety of that vehicles.

 

Spoilers? But aren’t they ricey?

But is it Ricey?

Everyone at some point in their life has driven past a heavily modified car and thought “Wow, what a ricer!”, or something similar to that. Is their a point to all of the modifications? Does it actually do something? Is it just for looks? This page is going to dive into different aspects of the automotive scene and where these “Ricey” automotive modifications actually originate.

Lets start from the beginning…. “Ricer” a term that is loosely thrown around in todays day and age. The Urban dictionary’s definition of a ricer is “A person who makes unnecessary modifications to their most often import car (hence the term “rice“) to make it (mostly make it look) faster.”. The import cars that its referring to are typically cars like, Honda Civics, Accords, Integras, CRXs, RSXs, Del Sols, Mitsubishi Eclipses, Lancers, Subaru Imprezas and WRXs. These cars are typically manufactured overseas in areas like Japan, where rice is a staple to their everyday cuisine.

Lets start with the first one. Typically the most commonly seen modification to any car, the spoiler.  

A majority of cars today come stock from the manufacturer with some version of a spoiler or “wing”, but are they ricey?

Spoilers were designed for two main reasons. To reduce the amount of drag on your car and to increase the amount of down force applied to a vehicle.

While there are many different shapes and sizes of “wings” that you may see equipped on a car, they mostly fall under two categories; spoilers and airfoils. In the first section of “Is It Ricey?” we will talk about the two main types and wether or not they help provide added function to the vehicle they may be equipped on.

An air foil is made to deflect the airflow upward to generate down-force on the rear of the vehicle. These are not meant to improve the aerodynamics of a vehicle. An aggressive airfoil actually increases the amount of drag on a car but in return helps gain traction at high speeds. You typically only see aggressive airfoils on formula 1 racecars, where grip is absolutely critical to success in racing.

A spoiler is something to disturb the localized air flow on a vehicle to help improve the overall airflow around a vehicle as a whole. By adding a barrier to an area of undesirable air flow so that the behavior of the air shifts to make it more desirable. This is why companies put them on economy cars to help improve the cars fuel economy.

Typically the airstream over a vehicle will flow around the obstruction without entering the blind pocket so the bulk of the airflow doesn’t even hit the spoiler. A properly designed spoiler can improve the drag on a vehicle even though it looks like a wall. Of course this only works if it is done right.