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What Does FBO Mean For Cars?

Full bolt-on or full bolt-ons, more commonly called FBO, is a term used by car enthusiasts to describe the process of adding or replacing parts without cutting, tuning, or fabricating the part to work on the vehicle. 

A bolt-on is not something you would do if you are looking for a quick upgrade but refers to simple modifications to boost performance or for aesthetic purposes.

Bolt-on accessories or parts can usually be easily installed and include intakes, brake lines, exhaust systems, and performance tires.

So, what does FBO mean in the motoring world? Let’s get to it.

Plug And Play

mechanic working on car

There are many benefits of going for a full bolt-on upgrade on your car rather than undertaking a full engine rebuild.

The most obvious benefit is the cost; you don’t have to spend thousands of dollars on a full bolt-on.

Let’s say that you want to bolt on an aftermarket exhaust muffler on your car.

Remove the OEM muffler and install the new full-bolt aftermarket one.

It is designed to fit perfectly with the existing exhaust piping with no cutting, welding, or tuning – it works right away, and Voila! You have a bolt-on car.

In this context, a full bolt-on car means a vehicle with parts added to it or a partially modified car.

A bolt-on is almost anything that you can modify on your own.

If you’re planning a full bolt modification on your vehicle, rest easy.

The process can be completed within a few hours and requires basic tools and an elementary understanding of car mechanics so you can get your vehicle to full bolt-on status.

Bolt-On Components


Upgrading your full exhaust system can increase performance and change the way your car sounds.

Bolt-on mufflers provide an easy and relatively inexpensive way to boost performance (and sound) on a vehicle.

A typical muffler upgrade can cost up to $250.

If you have a bigger budget, you can opt for a cat-back exhaust system that results in better performance.

For greater sound, cat-back mufflers provide a more powerful rumble.

There is also the option of performance exhaust headers to improve your car’s performance.

Cold air intake systems

Standard air intakes are designed to hit that sweet spot between performance and fuel consumption.

If you’re looking to boost performance, then a cold air intake bolt-on is an option.

A cold air intake system uses an exposed air filter and is housed further away from the engine than a regular intake.

The better performance stems from the colder air’s higher oxygen density, creating a combustion reaction that’s more potent, giving you more power.

You can also consider mass air meter housing as a bolt-on installation.

Anti-roll bars

Anti-roll bars, also called sway bars, connect the left and right suspension of your car via the control arm.

This steel bar helps keep your car level and stable when cornering and prevents it from rolling over during hard cornering.

Bolt-on sway bars are firmer than factory-fitted ones.

This allows them to handle greater loads better and corner harder, tweaking overall stability and handling.

Brake lines

OEM brake lines are made from rubber, mainly because it’s cheap and relatively durable.

However, rubber can (and will) expand over time, decreasing the fluid pressure and damaging your car’s braking performance.

Steel brake lines, unlike rubber lines, don’t swell or flex under pressure.

This means consistent fluid pressure to your brake calipers and, therefore, better braking response.

There is also less chance of ruptured brake lines.

Note, though, that steel brake lines are prone to corrosion over time.

So, if money is not a factor, then Kevlar or Teflon brake lines are other options when considering this type of bolt-on.

Wider wheels and tires

Looking for a bolt-on to improve road-holding, turn-in precision, and braking?

Then the easiest way to do this is to “plus-size” your wheels and tires.

Wider tires enable your car to stick to the road better.

By increasing the contact patch between the tires and the road, you get better traction.

Performance tires are specifically designed with unique tread patterns, construction, and rubber compounds that enhance the driving experience.


What is an FBO car?

There’s an ongoing debate about what constitutes a full bolt-on and what doesn’t.

A bolt-on is any modification that can be added to a car by bolting it on—hence the name.

However, there is some disagreement among motoring enthusiasts as to which modifications qualify as bolt-ons and which are not bolt-ons.

The most contentious point of argument over the definition of a full bolt-on, specifically, which parts constitute one?

Typically, though, there’s consensus that exhaust mods would be included in a full bolt-on.

That said, the debate rages on.

Does an FBO void my warranty?

Bolt-on parts can void or nullify at least some of your warranty.

Dealerships generally frown when seeing bolt-ons because they can get in the way of necessary or routine maintenance.

Moreover, they will have to be removed prior to any work being done.

The price of labor will go up and this will reflect on your bill.

Are there risks when driving with bolt-ons?

The way your car handles depends on the parts you’ve added, if they’re bolted on properly, and the quality.

If you add significant weight to your car’s exterior, it will impact its handling and performance.

The smart thing to do is to undertake some ‘test runs’ in your neighborhood to get a feel of how your bolt-on parts have changed how your car handles.

Does a full bolt-on make my car attractive to potential buyers?

Prospective buyers, generally, do not take kindly to being presented with a ton of bolt-on accessories on their future car.

Unless you’re specifically planning on selling to a car enthusiast, the smart move would be to remove your full bolt-on upgrades when presenting your vehicle.

Final Thoughts

Modifying your car with bolt-on accessories can be a fun but tricky challenge, and many car owners turn to online car forums for guidance.

Do your research properly with any bolt-on work to prevent damage to your car’s horsepower or performance.