This is bound to be controversial. I have decided to raise this as a topic, as it really concerns me to see how much money is wasted on accessories. 

So, you think your car looks cool with a lowered suspension, tinted windows, mag wheels, a boot fin, racing pedals, an amp and speakers powerful enough to cause an earthquake, tweeters, skirts, air dams, one of those chromed after market filters under the bonnet and a fake metal petrol cap. All that stuff would have cost you several thousands of Rands . You have also substantially devalued your pride and joy by approximately double that which you have spent.

So you think I'm kidding? Well, I'm not.

Accessorising a car is the quickest possible way of devalueing your car. Dealers look for cars that are as factory standard as possible. And they will pay book value and often considerably higher for stock standard cars. The reason for this, is that the buying public want standard cars. The more it is modified and accesorised, the less desirable it is and the lower its resale value becomes. What looks cool to you does not necessarily appeal to the next person - but stock standard appeals to almost everyone.

One of the weirdest fads I have seen lately is the guys that completely deface their cars into a non-descript, spray painted vehicles that could have been built somewhere between China and Hungaria. No badges, grille substituted, a car which absolutely no-one would want to buy. It is worthless. Why do it? It's a bit like committing financial suicide.

Now I know there will be many of you recoiling in horror at what I have just said, but it is unfortunately true. The public spend millions annually on car accessories, but when the day comes when you want to trade your car in, you will find that it is worth considerably less than a stock standard model which has had nothing spent on it. So you think you can take all that stuff off and sell it independently. No Sir! It's worth very little on the second hand market.

There are certain cars that lend themselves to mag wheels, but not all cars. A Citi Golf, for example can look quite cool with a set of mags, but a Renault Clio might look terrible with the same mags. That three Grand you spent on that sound system that now fills your boot from pillar to post and means you can't get a suitcase in there to go on holiday, is worth 10% of what you paid for it. My advice is to keep your money for a better car and don't waste it on accessories. It is the surest way to lose your hard earned cash. You would have better odds at the casino.

So, your image is important to you and you don't care about resale value. Well, that's OK, as long as you understand what the market consequences are.

And here's the acid test. Ask yourself this question. Would you buy a car that has been heavily accessorized? Or would you rather buy a car that is neat and clean and is still in it's original factory condition?

The need to personalize your car is a normal and natural human need. We all need to belong to a group - be a part of an image - but it comes at a price. Just be aware of the potential to lose money this way.