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16 Things That Make Your Car or Truck Look Cheap and Tacky

Photo: logoboom (Shutterstock)There are two kinds of mistakes that make your car look bad: Things you do because you don’t care, and things you do because you care too much but in the wrong way. This list covers both.Dirty carImage: Shutterstock (Shutterstock)Dirty cars give off an “I do not care at all” vibe. This can…

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There are two kinds of mistakes that make your car look bad: Things you do because you don’t care, and things you do because you care too much but in the wrong way. This list covers both.

Dirty car

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Dirty cars give off an “I do not care at all” vibe. This can work as an automobile-aesthetic, but only in narrow circumstances. If you’re driving a late model Volvo because you’re so rich you legitimately don’t care what you drive, it should be dirty. If you’re coming back from off-roading, mud is expected. But driving a dirty car because you’re too lazy to clean it is not a good look. (My car is filthy and has never been off-road, so I’m not just judging you.)

Cloudy headlights

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It’s very easy to clean fogged up headlights, and it will make your car look better and make it safer for you to drive at night. According to website Lifehacker.com, you should defog your headlights “once every year or two for both good looks and maximum visibility.” I couldn’t agree more.

Dents and scratches

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There are perfectly valid reasons to drive around with dents in your car. Maybe you got in an accident and decided to keep the money instead of fixing your car. Maybe you want your car to look mean. Either way, it looks bad, but I’m not judging you.

Bubbly window tinting

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I do judge you, however, if you drive around with a bubbly windshield because you tried to tint your windows with one of these sticker-type things and you didn’t do it right, or you paid someone else to do a shitty job. Just scrape it off. Don’t drive around with evidence of your incompetence available for all to see.

Stuffed animals

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There’s nothing wrong with a stuffed animal or two in or on your car if you have a childlike nature you want to express. The problem is their shelf life. Stuffed animals are not meant to be exposed to the harsh sunlight of the dashboard and the dirt and bugs they’ll experience if you wedge them under the grill. So if you must decorate your car with stuffed animals, change them out when they start to look ratty.

“Rolling coal”

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Rolling coal is modifying your diesel engine so it burns fuel faster in order to produce a large cloud of dark smoke. Even though it’s illegal, people still do it, all so they can pull up next to a Prius and blow black smoke all over them. That will teach them to have different values! I used to think the total extinction of mankind was a bad thing, but now I’m OK with it.

Car eyelashes

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Car eyelashes have the same issue as stuffed animals. They don’t last long and look really bad when they’re deteriorating. Plus, it’s a very bold choice, and unless you have the lifestyle and look that demands car eyelashes, you should leave them off. It will look like you’re trying too hard.

Ripped car seats

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Some of the best people I have known in my life have had tears in their carseats. That said, it really makes your car look cheap. I know you’re doing the best you can, but maybe put a blanket over it or something.

Too many bumper stickers

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If you plaster your cars with more than one or two stickers, you’re not sending the message that you think you are. Twenty-five stickers with vegan slogans and peace messages doesn’t say, “I care about the Earth very much.” It says, “I must tell you how much I care about the Earth; please believe that I care about the Earth.” There’s a desperation and neediness to it, as if too many people have backed away from you at parties and no one follows your Twitter.

11 / 18

Parodies of family stickers

Parodies of family stickers

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I’m OK with family stickers on the backs of cars. Most people put them there because their kids think they’re cute. I don’t like when would-be clever people stick “parodies” of family stickers on their back windows, though, like a truck running over stick figures with the phrase, “No one cares about your family.” You’re not funny. You didn’t make the sticker. You’re just being a jerk to strangers.

Truck Nutz

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I actually think it’s pretty funny when people hang plastic testicles on the tow hitch of their truck. It’s not like I’d invite these people to my house, but they’re not hurting anyone, and I appreciate an earthy joke. Yeah, it makes their vehicle look tacky, but they probably already know that, and I doubt they care.

13 / 18

License plate frame from a mechanic or dealer

License plate frame from a mechanic or dealer

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When did it become common for car dealerships and mechanics to install ads under people’s license plates without telling them? How did we allow this to happen with no one raising their voice in protest? I paid to have my car fixed, Dezian Motors, I did not agree to become a driving billboard for your substandard repair shop!

Exhaust whistles

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I understand that you want your car to sound like it has turbo, but installing a whistle in your tailpipe to fake the noise is a sad advertisement of your inadequacy and the pettiness of your dreams.

Bad stereo played loudly

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In spite of my sometimes cranky internet posts, I’ve made peace with the people who drive around with their car stereos blaring. “Thanks for sharing your music with the neighborhood!” I call to them.

But I cannot stand when people play music at a higher volume than their stereo can handle. To them I say, “Turn it down a little and it won’t distort, ya jackass.”

16 / 18

Racing parts on non-racing cars

Racing parts on non-racing cars

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You are not fooling anyone.

17 / 18

‘Stanced’ and lowered cars

‘Stanced’ and lowered cars

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I’m including very-lowered cars and “stanced” cars in this list because these modifications make a car look literally worthless to me: How can you re-sell a car with a half-inch of clearance and diagonal wheels? (I secretly think they look cool, though, and I admire the commitment to a style it takes to do this to your vehicle.)

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