Car Tuning in Custom Body Shops

custom body shop

Custom Body Shop

A custom body shop is a business that substantially alters and modifies vehicles. They can modify the body of the car for aesthetic reasons, using exclusive paint works and adding aftermarket accessories. Additionally, they improve the performance of the vehicle, by altering or replacing the engine and the transmission. Any transformation work is unique, because it starts in the owner’s imagination, and is up to the shop to carry it out.

Car Tuning in a Custom Body Shop

Tuning is the modification of the vehicle’s performance at the owner’s request. Any custom body shop does tuning in Audio and Video, Interior, Engine, Suspension, Body, and Tires. 

In the beginning, race car owners tuned their cars in special shops to compete in races. Simultaneously, large car manufacturers released high-performance sports cars that were street versions of their racing cars. However, their cost was high, so, only by drivers with higher income could afford them. When the aftermarket parts market grew wider, car tuning became popular. The growing offer drew the prices down, allowing a more significant number of drivers to tune their compact sports cars. Today, most people can afford to buy a small sports car and tune it up at a relatively low cost. 

Tuning involves almost every system of the car. On the lower end of the price spectrum is the upgrade of the sound system, and on the higher end, boosting the power output of the engine. Any custom body shop makes other important modifications, like changing the suspension, tires, brake system, steering, and transmission, not to mention the modification of the body.

Audio System Tuning

Tuning the audio system can go from changing the radio to the installation of a whole new integrated sound system with high-quality amplifiers, speakers, and subwoofers. Sometimes the sound system occupies a large portion of the car, including the passengers’ cabin, leaving in some cases space only for the driver and a passenger. Although the essence of tuning is to increment the performance of the vehicle, most custom body shops serve the other extreme, the modification for aesthetic and luxury reasons. One example is the modification of the interior of the car. 

Interior Tuning

Custom body shops modified the interior of a sports car based on race car regulations, like NASCAR’s. Today is another story, on one hand, they do interior tuning that follows those rules stripping bare the interior of the car for better weight distribution. Specifically, leaving only the roll cages, fire extinguishers, and the reinforced bucket seat of the driver. On the other hand, they build-up on components and furnishings to complete luxury packages that include leather seats, air-conditioned, and state of the art audio and video equipment.  

Engine Tuning

Engine tuning is the modification of the operating characteristics of the engine to increase the power output. An engine is a complex system in which every part works in combination with another. You cannot modify the performance of one part of the engine without altering the others. Consequently, once you increase the power output of the engine, you must modify the other components as well, such as suspension transmission, steering, and tires. (1)

 The tuning of the engine starts with the replacement of the factory-installed electronic control system, by a modified one. Additionally, the custom body shop can equip the engine with a forced induction system like a turbocharger. As mentioned before, the mechanics doing the modification must have the knowledge and expertise to do it well. Otherwise, in the case of an improper modification, that mistake not only can ruin the engine but also be a hazard to the driver and passengers.

Suspension Tuning

Suspension tuning involves modifying the springs, shock absorbers, and anti-roll bars. The goal is to improve the overall performance of the vehicle. The installation of shorter springs lower the vehicle’s center of gravity. Stiffer shock absorbers improve the dynamic weight shifting during cornering. Stiffer sway bars reduce body roll during cornering. This combination of modifications reduces body roll during cornering. Thus, improving the grip of the tires on the surface, enhancing the handling response due to faster weight shifting. However, as in the engine modification, a custom body shop has to do it responsibly. Overly stiff anti-roll bars cause the lifting of the inner wheel, causing a loss of traction. (1)

Body Tuning

Body tuning consists of adding or modifying a spoiler and body kit to improve the car’s performance and change its appearance. That modification pursues to increase the downforce, which improves the tire adhesion and cornering speeds. Most body kits available in the market do not improve the car’s performance. On the contrary, they are an adornment to the car that far for improving performance, add weight, increasing the drag coefficient of the vehicle, and reducing its overall performance. (1)

Auto Painting

Most custom body shops do custom auto painting as part of their offering. They serve the market of car owners looking for their vehicles to have an extraordinary look. There is an ample offering in this sense. One-color painting, which can be metallic, or matte. Two colors painting, like two-tone paint with hard lines and two-tone fade. Another option is pearlescent paint. All of the above options can include special designs, like flames. Additionally, there is car wrapping, which is involving the car with an adhesive vinyl wrap with different designs.


They are an essential part of the car’s performance since they can be replaced often, therefore, it makes sense to customize the vehicle via changing tires. There are tires for different weather and road conditions, different sizes and specifications for grip, rolling resistance, and handling. An array of different sizes and models of wheels complement tire tuning. (1)


The modifications made on these vehicles are mostly for lengthening the suspension travel and installing larger tires and wheels. Thus, increasing the ground clearance, the travel over rough terrain. Moreover, they decrease ground pressure, which is vital on soft surfaces. (1)

What a Custom Body Shop Does 

The concept of car tuning originated in car racing, and its focus is to increase the car’s performance. However, when you surf over the web and look at the best custom body shops, you can observe that all but a few have lines of business that go from installing home audio-video systems to performance upgrades in cars. Consequently, the custom body shop market can be classified by the type of vehicle that they modify, and the kind of service done to those cars. 

Types of Vehicles a Custom Body Shop Serves

Exotic, luxury, vintage, muscle, domestic, Japanese, European, SUV / trucks.

Types of Jobs Done by a Custom Body Shop

Audio systems, tuning, performance, paint, body, kits, suspension, exhaust, and wheels.


As we may see, every custom body shop has a particular mix of business, which depends on the local market, and the expertise and specific taste of the owner. You also have a unique project in mind for your vehicle. We invite you to locate the particular custom body shop for which you are looking, here

Sources: Complex, Carstechie, (1) Wikipedia