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Ricer car is a common term used in the car tuning and modification community. A ricer car is a car that has undergone unnecessary modifications that are usually done to make it look faster and more powerful. The modifications are usually done on cheap Asian manufactured cars.

However, this is not to say the trend is limited to only Asian manufactured cars. The most common modifications on ricer cars include but are not limited to, expensive and flashy rims, big exhaust and mufflers that make the car louder, and flashy body modifications.

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Ricer car is a word that morphed from the word Rice burner. Rice burner was used to describe Japanese manufactured motorcycles. Rice burner first appeared in British motorcycle magazines in the 1960s which intended to depict Asian manufactured motorcycles to be inferior and low quality compared to European motorcycle make and models.

In the 1960s, Japanese vehicles had not hit the US market.

However, in the 1970s, Japan made Honda Accord and began exporting to the US. The vehicle was affordable and soon started cutting into the American automotive industry.

As such, the US adopted the term “rice burner” to refer to Asian-made vehicles. Soon the modification and tuning of cars became popular in the 1990s and 2000s.

These modifications were inspired by race cars and high-performance vehicles.

From this, the Rice acronym was born to denote the term Race Inspired Cosmetic Enhancement. Hence the term Ricer Cars. The practice became a hobby to many and soon became a street culture.

Many individuals would modify their Asian manufactured cars in an attempt to make them look more powerful and have extreme aesthetics. Today individuals can make these modifications to any car regardless of its manufacturer.

With more people becoming ricer car enthusiasts in the US, street racing began to gain popularity.

Although street racing became illegal, people still continued to modify their cars and some still continue to participate in illegal street racing. In the modern-day, any car can be riced out.

From Honda Civic to BMWs, any car that has race car-inspired modifications is considered to be a ricer car. These modifications are considered tacky and for aesthetics than they are functional.

We have established a ricer car is whose modification and enhancement are inspired by race cars. However, what are JDM cars and how are they similar or different from ricer cars? To understand this, let’s first define JDM cars. JDM cars are referred to as “Japanese Domestic Market” cars. These vehicles are produced by Japanese manufacturers specifically for the Japanese domestic market.

FeatureRicer CarJDM Car
ManufacturerWhile these cars may be Japanese makes and models, there are other models of ricercars like Chevy, which is manufactured in the US and Volkswagen, which is GermanJDM cars are strictly made in Japan
PerformanceRicer cars are not necessarily performance vehicles. They are modified to look like performance vehiclesJapanese vehicles manufactured for the US are done so to meet US standards. However JDM cars do not have that restriction and tend to be better in performance and speed
AppearanceOverdone and over-optimizedSimple and practical look
Steering Wheel PositionIn the US Ricer cars are LHDSince they are made for the Japanese market, these cars are right hand drive

Not all cars that have been modified are ricercars. Ricer cars have one thing that distinguishes them from the rest. Their modifications are race car-inspired. What makes a car a ricer car?

  • Huge Spoilers
  • Body Kits
  • Paint Jobs and Stickers
  • Tires and Wheels
  • Suspension Kit
  • Exhaust and Turbo
  • Interior Modification
  • Lighting

Huge Spoilers

In racing cars, spoilers are used to keep the car grounded especially at high speeds by regulating airflow at the rear of the vehicle. Ricer cars are usually modified by placing huge spoilers at the rear of the vehicle. Some of these spoilers are ridiculously huge one would mistake them for a jet.

Body Kits

Ricer cars will have an array of wide-body kits that are meant to enhance their appearance. The wide-body kits will make the car appear faster and more powerful in performance. These kits may include custom fenders, vertical doors, rea diffusers, bumpers, front and rear hoods.

Paint Jobs and Stickers

Paintwork and stickers are the most common car cosmetic enhancement practice among the ricer car community. Car enthusiasts will paint their cars in different colors and sometimes incorporate neon body paint on their vehicles. You will also find stickers on the side, front hood, and top of the car.

Tires and Wheels

Most people know a ricer car is not a ricer car without the wide wheels and tires to match. There are different types of custom alloy rims that are found in rice cars. Some of these wheels also include LED and come in different sizes. Individuals may go further to install spacers.

Suspension Kit

There are different suspension kits for ricer cars depending on what an individual wants. Some people want their suspension to be lower while others want a raised suspension. Suspension modification is therefore a crucial part of ricer car modification.

Exhaust and Turbo

There is no denying that many people enjoy the revving sound produced by a turbo-charged car. Car modification enthusiasts will install big exhaust and turbo for the sound it makes. Sometimes it is intended for functionality but on ricer car it is more of an anesthetic. 

Interior Modification

Ricer car enthusiasts will go as far as to modify the interior of the car. Some of the modifications include installing sporty bucket-like seats.


Some individuals will modify their cars by installing LED lights in different places on the car like the wheels, dashboard, spoiler lights, and tail lights.

Have you ever wondered what are ricer cars used for? Well, there are plenty of reasons why people modify their cars. Here are some of the uses of ricer cars:-

  • Day to day use
  • Car Shows
  • Street Racing

Day to day use

Believe it or not, some people have a ricer cars for their daily use in their day to day life. Some people take it as a hobby and decide to modify their car to look like a race car.

Car Shows

Ricer Car shows are a thing in many countries and among car enthusiast communities for individuals who take car modifications seriously. Some go as far as awarding winners in different categories depending on who has done it well.

Street Racing

Being a race-inspired car it is only right that the ricer cars are put to the test. Ricer cars are also used in street racing. Sometimes the car will race against other ricer cars other times they race against real race cars.

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Some cars have gained popularity in the ricer car community. Which are some of the most famous ricercars in the industry?

  • Honda Civic
  • Toyota
  • Chevrolet Cavalier

Honda Civic

Perhaps one of the most stereotyped cars when it comes to ricer cars, Honda Civic is one of the most famous ricer car. The modifications for the Honda civic have been inspired by race cars like the Nissan Skyline GTR. 

Car tuning experts argue that the Honda Civic has the ability to withstand functionality modifications like turbo, added horsepower, and intake without damaging its components. The Honda Civic is also very affordable and so are the modification spare parts.


Toyota has a huge selection of car models that are popular in the ricer car community. From Toyota Camry, Toyota Yaris to the Prius one can deduce that it is one of the famous ricer cars out there. When it comes to Toyota, the Toyota Camry and Corolla are the most common rice cars.

However, you might occasionally find the Toyota Supra as well. All these models are not known for speed or as performance cars. However, they are easily modified to create an illusion that they are.

Chevrolet Cavalier

The Chevy Cavalier is popular among ricer car enthusiasts because it has a lot to work with. The trim when modified creates a supercar illusion. The Chevy Cavalier modifications will spot the occasional huge Boeing size wing, huge exhaust, and wheels. The car is quite affordable, thus making it popular among many car enthusiasts.

That and the fact that it has been marketed as a sports car makes it appealing to ricer car enthusiasts. Although sports does not equal speed, most people associate sports car with being fast and powerful. Seeing that the Chevy Cavalier is a sports car when modified, it gives the impression that it is fast.

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Although car critics may argue that ricer cars look ridiculous with unnecessary modifications, others may disagree. That said what are the advantages of a ricer car?

  • Inexpensive
  • Standout from ordinary cars
  • Creativity
  • Aesthetic Enhancement


Ricer cars are usually very affordable when purchased before all the modifications and enhancements. Most people find that the modification parts are affordable and readily available as well.

Standout from ordinary cars

A ricer car will always stand out from other normal cars. Depending on who you ask, this can either be a good or bad thing. For the ricer car enthusiasts, they will acknowledge and appreciate the effort put in the modification and enhancement of the car.


Ricer cars are a way that car enthusiasts express different forms of creativity. The modifications and enhancements are done in different designs which keep evolving.

Aesthetic Enhancement

Ricer car looks are done to enhance and optimize the overall look. The Rice car modifications will make the car look more powerful and faster.

Although ricer cars are common in the modern world, there are a few downsides to having a ricer car. Here are the disadvantages of a ricer car that you may want to consider before getting a ricer car or modifying your car:-

  • No speed
  • Looked down upon
  • Trouble with getting insurance
  • Expensive modification parts

No speed

Although Rice Cars are modified to look like race cars, they are neither fast nor are they performance cars in any way. Therefore, their modifications beat the point why it’s necessary to spend money and make the enhancements. They are basically all show but no go.

Looked down upon

The popular opinion is that rice cars are cheap, ridiculous, and unnecessary. So, do not be surprised when people make fun of you and your car.

Trouble with getting insurance

Some insurance companies may have a problem with covering ricer cars. Insurance companies are strict and particular when it comes to insurance cover of modified vehicles.

Expensive modification parts

Some modification parts can be very expensive. Some may be expensive to almost half the value of the car. For instance, rims, tires, lights, and exhausts can be expensive.

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Wrap Up

Ricer car or Rice burner cars are cheap cars poorly modified to look like performance-tuned cars but doesn’t live up to mark. In other words, A ricer burner car is born when car modification goes wrong, sometimes hilariously.

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