Adding aftermarket power enhancement accessories might seem like a good idea to the car enthusiast, but it is important to consult your insurer about these new additions to your vehicle.
Mpumelelo Tyikwe, Managing Director of Alexander Forbes Insurance, said insurers use power as a rating factor. He explains that it is the power to mass ratio of the vehicle that is important. “If the power is increased and the weight remains the same the vehicle can accelerate quicker and go faster.”
He continues, “It is one of the many rating factors that are considered but it is an important one because accidents cause more loss than theft and damage tends to be more severe with more powerful cars. Other important factors are area, age of driver, how long the person has been driving without loss.”
He adds, “Younger drivers tend to have riskier behavior, with a joy for speed and acceleration while having less experience in tricky situations. The factor does not only affect rating. In combination with other factors, the insurer may decide not to allow cover on the vehicle at all. If you do not disclose the enhancement the insurer is prejudiced in that they were not able to charge the correct premium or they were not given the opportunity to decline the risk.”
“Your intention may be to improve fuel economy, but the effect can still be that power output is increased,” Tyikwe said.
Tyikwe lists the following aftermarket vehicle performance modifications:
1. Cool Air Induction System – Tyikwe states that if you want your vehicle to run better then opening up its airflow is a good start. “The simple process of redirecting the filter to draw cooler air is good for power gain, fuel efficiency and it will probably make your engine sound better too.”
2. Intercooler – A type of air-conditioner used to keep the air cool for turbo charged motors
3. Down Pipe – It is part of the air inflow to cool air intake.
4. Turbo Charge – Tyikwe explains that this charge compresses the air and forces it into the motor as opposed to the Cool Air Induction System that redirects the airflow.
5. Exhaust Enhancement – According to Tyikwe, Exhaust Enhancements typically have less back pressure than conventional exhaust with less obstructions and bends so that the exhaust flow is increased.
Many automotive companies offer aftermarket exhaust system upgrades as a subcategory of engine tuning. “These upgrades can significantly improve engine performance by reducing the exhaust back pressure and by reducing the amount of heat from the exhaust being lost into the under-bonnet temperature which consequently improves power.
He adds, “This also has the positive side effect of preventing heat sensitive components from being damaged.”
“However you must always inform your insurer about any aftermarket modifications that increase the power of your vehicle or you may experience difficulty if you need to claim,” concludes Tyikwe.