Your Car Reborn: 8 Cool Car Upgrades that Will Refresh Your Old Or Used Car
Did you know that one out of every four vehicles on American roadways today was built before the year 2000? Or, that the average age of daily drivers is 11.6 years old?
Many chalk America's aging fleet up to improvements in mechanical reliability.
Other older car owners site the fact that the models that they know and love simply aren't manufactured anymore. Still others feel that driving older cars makes economic sense.
But whatever your reason, you don't have to settle for pre-2000s technology. There are a wealth of upgrades you can make, from heated seats to rearview camera capabilities, sometimes for less than $100.
Read on for eight of the niftiest car upgrades you can get right now to make your familiar ride feel a little newer and edgier.
1. Seat Heaters
Nothing says opulence like a little heat on your back. But many pre-2000 models don't come with this feature built-in.
No worries, though. You have a variety of options, some of them surprisingly easy and affordable, available for install. This makes seat heaters one of the best car upgrades out there.
Our personal favorite? For less than $50 you can purchase Bed Bath & Beyond's heated car seat cushion. (It runs $39.99 to be exact.) A super easy install, your lower back and rear will thank you for this comfy upgrade.
2. Seat Massagers
Or, why not take your automotive upgrade to the next level with actual seat massagers? That way, each trip in your car has the potential of becoming a mini visit to the spa.
These more advanced cushions also come with cooling features so that your back won't be drenched in sweat for three months out of the year. Yet, despite the sophistication of these cushions, many still cost less than $100.
Two worth checking out? The Gideon Luxury Cooling and Heating Ventilated Seat Cushion at a solid $49.95 and the Five Star FS8812 10-Motor Vibration Massage Seat Cushion at $59.99. Both are available through Amazon.
3. Rearview Cameras
Did you know that as of May 2018, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration started requiring rearview cameras in all new vehicles?
Why? Because rearview blind spots account for 15,000 injuries every year, many involving small children. Rearview cameras reduce these blindspots by upwards of 90 percent.
Of course, if you've got an older vehicle, we're guessing you don't have these rearview cameras. But that doesn't mean you can't get them.
Auto retail chains such as Pep Boys offer a variety of wireless backup cameras for under $150. They're easy enough to install yourself and will give you added peace of mind each time you shift into reverse.
4. Parking Sensors
Another great piece of technology your older ride is more than likely missing? Parking sensors.
These handy gadgets emit sound waves to detect nearby objects when you shift into reverse and activate the system. They either use increasing lights or beeps to warn the driver as they're getting closer and closer to an object.
The result? No more fender benders or scratched doors from trying to maneuver into a tight parking spot.
Parking sensors range from as low as $35 to upwards of $300. As the price tag increases, so do the safety features and tools you'll get with your sensors.
Of course, the more complicated the sensors, the more likely you'll need to hire an experienced professional to install them. That said, a couple of the cheapest models don't require any wiring or drilling and prove DIY-friendly.
5. Bluetooth Stereos
If you're still playing CDs or, even worse, tapes then it's time to upgrade your car interior.
Not only will you enjoy the musical choices available to you with a new Bluetooth stereo system, but you'll also gain many valuable ways to stay connected to the world.
Best of all, this technology is hands-free. There are few things more dangerous than holding a cell phone while driving. And it can mean a steep ticket if you get caught in the act.
What does Bluetooth do for your car? It allows you to wirelessly sync your phone to your sound system.
That way, you can answer phone calls without even touching your phone. Just talk into your car speakers.
You can also operate your phone through the stereo, making hands-free music choices a cinch. Best of all, you don't have to break the bank to get this new tech in your car.
For under $150, you can replace your current stereo with a Bluetooth-equipped version. Most independent shops provide affordable installation, especially if you shop around.
6. Navigation Systems
Here's another easy way to upgrade your auto: a GPS or navigation system.
There are many ways to add navigation abilities to your vehicle. These range from devices manufactured by companies such as TomTom or Garmin to new GPS navigation radio upgrades.
If you're looking for navigation on the cheap, though, the obvious solution remains using your phone. Simply get a mount cradle holder that goes on top of your dashboard. Or, use a magnetic vent mount to position your phone.
These dash mounts cost as little as $10 and, in combination with a Bluetooth stereo, allow you to utilize your phone for hands-free navigation services.
7. Remote Start
Have you ever found yourself envying the owners of new vehicles, who can simply press a button to start their car from inside the house? This proves particularly nice during the winter when you'd like to warm up your vehicle before heading outside.
Fortunately, you can let go of the green monster of jealousy and get this feature for your vehicle, even if it's an older model. For as little as $200 plus installation, enjoy this awesome technology year-round.
Some systems even include a safety feature allowing you to lock or unlock your doors with the push of a button.
And when you've got the climate control set up the way you like it? You'll never have to suffer driving off in a super cold (or, for that matter, super hot) vehicle again.
8. USB Charger
Here's another amenity that dates your car, lack of a USB charger. These devices prove highly functional and useful, allowing you to charge all of your devices on the go.
Fortunately, if you've got a cigarette lighter or a 12-volt outlet, you can avail yourself of this technology. Just purchase a USB car charger adapter and plug it in.
Most come in at under $20, and they provide you with two outlets and the ability to charge your current smartphone. This proves a must, especially if you're using your phone for in-car GPS.
Car Upgrades You'll Love
Revamping your vehicle doesn't have to end with interior amenities. Did you know that in many cases, newer automotive parts can be swapped out on older vehicles?
These parts swaps can mean a newer look that matches your tech-savvy interior. For example, when it comes to Miata compatibility, there are quite a few parts from 1999-2005 that work with cars from 1990-1997.
Depending on the make, model, and year of your vehicle, there may be a whole slew of new car parts that you can add to your current ride. So, do a little research or contact your local dealership or parts dealer for the inside scoop.
Make Your Car Feel New
Whether you're looking for a sleeker exterior or more interior options, you can make your ride feel new again with a little know-how and the parts.
Interested in more car upgrades that are both effective and affordable? Browse our blog for serious auto inspiration.