by Lori Straus
Making your car your own can range from the practical, like easy-to-clean leather seats, to the extravagant, like underbody lights and a flashy paint job. In this blog post, we’ll cover the many options available to you to customize your car and make it truly yours.
From seat covers to completely reupholstering your interior, you have no limit of options here. Seat covers are by far the cheapest option and come in an array of colours and fabrics. If you have small kids whose legs are just long enough to dirty the back of your seat, seat covers can act as cheap insurance and protect the fabric from all that dirt, sleet, snow, rain, and mud kids track into the vehicle.
Fully reupholstering your interior will obviously cost you more, but it will give you a much more unified interior. Another bonus: it may increase the resale value of your vehicle if you’ve upgraded your upholstery, e.g., gone from fabric to leather.
You can customize myriad accessories in your vehicle: rims, a spoiler, steering wheel cover, licence plate frames, floor mats, sun visors, sound system, window shades…
Many of the items in that list cost little. Sound systems and rims can certainly reach into the thousands of dollars if you want to soup up your vehicle, but even they needn’t cost more than a few hundred. But a comfortable steering wheel cover that prevents your black leather steering wheel from heating up in the summer? That can run as low as $20.
(Heck, for $25 you can buy a “diamond” leather steering wheel cover with “bling bling crystal rhinestones” on Amazon. It averages five stars and has over 30,000 ratings.)
Customizing Your Vehicle’s Exterior
When my kids were young, one Pixar clip from the Cars franchise we loved to watch was a bet where Mator raced against a bunch of modified Japanese cars. The loser was “stripped of all modifications” reduced to—horrified gasps all around—stock.
There are lots of ways to customize your car’s exterior, without worrying about losing all those modifications. You can try any of these creative ideas:
- change your car’s paint
- tint your windows
- jazz up your exterior with decals
- add a spoiler
- install new rims
- upgrade the ride height
Your imagination and transportation regulations are your only limits.
Customizing Your Vehicle at Time of Purchase
Do you order the V6 or V8 engine when you buy your car? Leather interior or fabric? Parking assistance? Built-in Wi-Fi network capabilities?
It may feel like choosing your customizations when ordering your vehicle is the last thing you want to worry about—you just want your new wheels! These additional features can also increase the price significantly.
Which is all the more reason you’ll want to think about these customizations before you head to the dealership. For example, you can find cheaper and still reliable options for an aftermarket in-car entertainment system. However, some upgrades, like buying the V8 instead of V6 engine or increasing horsepower (where possible), could be covered by the vehicle’s warranty, making it an attractive option at time of purchase.
An Upgraded Sound System
We’ll be the first to agree with you: the sound system that comes out of the factory could use, well, a boost. But first, consider insulating your car a little from the road. Installing soundproof floor mats will help reduce the noise from driving in the first place and doesn’t cost much or need wiring installed.
Then investigate what makes the most sense for a new sound system. Pretty much anything will be better than factory installs, so you needn’t spend much here: a new set of speakers will play crisper, cleaner music, for example, and may only cost a few hundred dollars. Cheaper still might be a new radio receiver. Just confirm installation costs if you can’t do it yourself.