Longing for the days when you felt good about driving your car, truck or SUV? With the average new-car price over $30,000, there are many reasons to hang on to the one you have. But maybe the one you have seems a bit too tired to keep. What your car needs is a makeover.
A little nip-tuck, new shoes and a few shiny accessories can make your vehicle exciting again without breaking the bank.
Consumers spend more than $33 billion annually to personalize their vehicles, according to the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA), the trade organization representing the automotive aftermarket industry.
“The possibilities are tremendous. You’d be amazed how just a few hundred dollars of accessories can completely change and enhance a vehicle’s looks or performance,” said Chris Kersting, SEMA president and CEO.
Here are a few things for a great vehicle makeover:
1) Wheels and Tires: One of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to freshen up the look and improve the safety, comfort and performance of any vehicle is to get new shoes – a set of custom wheels and specialty/performance tires.
There are literally thousands of combinations to choose from. Start at a local tire shop or specialty wheel store where they can tell you what fits your vehicle and budget, present some options and do the installation.
2) Mobile Electronics: Another way to make your vehicle cool and more fun to drive is to install some modern mobile electronics. Today’s selection of car audio equipment, navigation systems, backup cameras and more is broad and can fit a range of budgets. Plus, they can be installed on just about any vehicle and instantly make the drive more convenient.
3) LED Lighting: Once the domain of clunky and inefficient incandescent bulbs, accessory lighting has moved to LED technology with nearly limitless applications. Fog lights, driving lights, work lights and even interior lights are now available in compact LED format, which uses less energy, emits less heat and can be many times brighter.
4) Running Boards: If you’re feeling like your truck or SUV has gotten taller since you’ve owned it, it probably means you’re just a little less excited about climbing in and out of it. A set of running boards under the doors can make ingress and egress more comfortable and elegant. Don’t like the look? There are running boards that can automatically extend and retract for a clean look and great functionality when needed.
5) Bed Organizers: There’s a lot of space in a pickup truck bed and not all of it is needed all the time. Bed organizers have roll-out drawers and load-carrying tops to keep cargo safe and organized.
6) Suspension Parts: Like anything that happens gradually, springs and shocks often wear out almost imperceptibly, allowing for less control. A fresh set will get your ride feeling like new and help you drive safer. If you choose, you can even install upgraded models for better-than-new ride and handling.
7) Engine Performance: There are several ways to make improvements to your engine. “Bolt-on” parts let your engine breathe easier for increased power and efficiency. If you’re really serious, you may want to consider having a supercharger installed to increase horsepower significantly. There are kits for many popular cars and trucks, especially V-8s.
8) Restyling: Improving your vehicle’s looks goes beyond custom wheels. There are plenty of companies that make cosmetic body kits that, when properly installed, can make your vehicle look sportier or more aggressive.
9) Wraps: If the paint on your car is worn out, consider getting it wrapped. Several companies offer hundreds of color and pattern options that are a good alternative to having your car resprayed. The best thing is, they’re durable, removable and affordable, so you can change them as often as you like.
10) Car Care: You’d be amazed at how much you can improve and protect the appearance of your vehicle with a good, old-fashioned deep cleaning and polishing. Automotive cleaners, soaps and waxes are available for all surfaces and materials and can be purchased at auto parts stores nationwide.
“It never ceases to amaze me how innovative this industry is” said Kersting. “If you can think of a product you’d like to have, it’s likely available. Visit your local auto custom retailer or go online to find the products you want. And it it’s not available now, it soon will be!”