Carbon fiber is the hottest material in the car tuning world today. The fantastic look of this material makes it highly sought after by many. In addition, carbon fiber offers numerous benefits over metal and even fiberglass, in the form of reduced weight and increased structural rigidity. What types of carbon fiber additions can you find for your ride? There are, literally, hundreds of different options, from carbon fiber hoods and trunk lids to taillights and shifter trim.
Limiting the Load
Perhaps the single largest performance-oriented benefit of carbon fiber is the fact that it weigh significantly less than other applications. Metal hoods and trunk lids might be standard, but they are far from ideal. While carbon fiber hoods and other body parts are more expensive than standard metal or fiberglass, it is well worth the investment. The hood is perhaps the most common application of carbon fiber, though trunk lids made with the material are increasingly common. There are several types of carbon fiber hoods on the market, and not all of them feature the same benefits. Here’s a rundown of what you can expect to find:
Full Construction – This type of hood uses carbon fiber for the hood skin and the skeleton. The skin is the exterior materials, while the skeleton provides rigidity. This type of hood is significantly lighter than other options on the market, though they are also more expensive.
Partial Construction – This type of hood uses carbon fiber for the hood skin, but a different material for the skeleton. Aluminum, steel and fiberglass are all used in this application by different manufacturers. These hoods offer the look and most of the weight savings of carbon fiber, as well as lower prices than full carbon fiber construction.
Carbon Fiber Look – This moniker is somewhat misleading. These hoods either cover an existing metal or fiberglass skin with carbon fiber or employ a material that resembles carbon fiber. These are the cheapest option on the market, but they do not offer any of the benefits of real carbon fiber hoods.
Trunk lids are also available in carbon fiber and have the same varieties. However, most trunk lids still use metal trunk hinges to ensure longevity and correct use. Both hoods and trunk lids use metal latches, unless you choose to install hood pins.
It’s not just hoods and trunks that you can upgrade to carbon fiber, different aftermarket tuners create carbon fiber parts for many of your car’s applications, including the full body kit, interior trim (mostly for looks,) spoilers, engine bay parts and much more. Just watch the price – carbon fiber is becoming more expensive to produce, and you could wind up paying out the nose to upgrade to this fancy material.