Modern cars can take voice commands and park themselves. Some can even help you find an empty parking spot. But we can’t all drive the latest and greatest, and sometimes, it’s simpler to add a feature to your existing car than spend the money to get a new one.
There are a lot of ways to enhance your in-car experience. Today, we’re focusing on the ones you can do without breaking the bank. Just because cars are expensive doesn’t mean upgrades have to be. You can stretch your dollar on the aftermarket if you know what you’re doing.
Have It Detailed
You might not see paint when driving, but the way your car looks can have a significant impact on you and passers-by. Instead of spending considerable coin for a new paint job, a few hundred dollars can get you a quality detail service that will make your car feel new again.
Install a New Air Intake
One of the best entry-level performance mods you can make is a new air intake. Whether you want to upgrade to a higher-flow filter or install a cold-air intake tube, you’ll enhance performance and fuel mileage on a budget, with a package that’s easy to install. As you add more engine mods, the intake upgrade will have a more pronounced effect.
Slap on Some Different Wheels
You probably think wheels are an expensive upgrade, but many cars can use wheels from other models. See if you can find lightly used wheels in good condition for an effective bargain upgrade, just make sure the lug pattern matches your car’s and check the offset. Failing to get the right fit can make your car look pretty awkward.
Change out Your Lights
Particularly when driving at night, your lights really impact the way your car looks. You can quickly and easily swap out the bulbs for a brighter set, or one with a different color. For a few more bucks, you can install new lenses and housings. You’ve got the option to upgrade your headlights, taillights, and side markers at the same time, or one-by-one. This upgrade can also improve your visibility and field of view during night driving.
Upgrade Your Infotainment
Lots of people upgrade the stereo system in their car, and if you own an older car, this is a great way to add functionality. You can even add Bluetooth compatibility to make it easy to stream music from your phone and take incoming calls. Best of all, you can upgrade things incrementally, beginning with your head unit and moving on to speakers and amplifiers.
Get an ECU Tune
Today’s cars are incredibly tunable using their engine management systems. You can upgrade the computer tune that comes from the factory and do amazing things. For example, you can unlock increased horsepower and increase the factory redline. Some tuners even offer custom packages that are made for the upgrades you have on your car. These can up the price, but a simple reflash should be fairly affordable.
Tint the Windows
Here’s one that’s cheap, functional, and stylish. You can help keep the sun out of your eyes and give your car a cool, low-profile look with the addition of some tint. It usually costs a few hundred dollars for installation, but you can install tint yourself with a little practice and research. Just make sure that you know the laws for your state so your tint is legal. No more fishbowl feeling when you’re out cruising.
Upgrade your Suspension
This one might require a little wrenching ability, but it’s worth it. If you have a truck, you can replace your springs yourself as long as you have a place to lift it. You’ll notice changes even more in a car, as your handling and ride control will be completely changed. You’ll be able to zip around corners with much more control, and your car will feel more expensive than it really is.
Get Started Now
The costs associated with car culture can be intimidating. Sometimes, it seems like even the people operating on a budget are throwing everything they have into their ride. But it doesn’t have to be that way, you can take pride in your car with one or two critical upgrades, and you don’t have to take out a second mortgage to do it.
Follow these tips, and remember that the person who’s most invested in how your car looks and drives is you so you can add upgrades at your own pace.