Plug & Play Vehicle Upgrades: Tech Made Easy
It’s fun, easy and exciting to add gizmos and gadgets to your car. When your vehicle is new, everything is shiny, smooth, and in perfect running condition. There are tons of aftermarket vehicle upgrades can you add to give your car the style and personality you want. For example, some common upgrades might be window tint or high performance exhaust systems. Aesthetically, they look cool and draw attention. On the flip side, other upgrades like tire pressure monitoring systems (TPMS) or dash cameras provide safety benefits.
Do-It-Yourself Vehicle Upgrades for a Better Ride
Window Tinting: One of the most basic car upgrades a car owner can make is installing window tinting film. In addition to keeping the car looking sharp and cooler in the summer, window tint is one of the most inexpensive enhancements available. There are several advantages to tinting your vehicle’s windows.
- Tinting adds privacy and security. Since it’s harder to see into the vehicle from the outside, break-ins are much less likely.
- It helps shield the interior from hot temperatures and ultraviolet light. You and your passengers will be much more comfortable.
- In the event of an car accident, the tinting film can help minimize sharp glass if the side windows ever shatter. Even with tempered safety glass, people get cut. The tinting acts as an additional layer of protection against little glass pieces covering the occupants and increasing the chances of lacerations.
Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS): A TPMS gives you peace-of-mind. In addition to improved situational awareness, it enhances vehicle safety. It provides a digital display of your tire pressure for each of your wheels. Not only that, but it can detect leaks and tire temperature as well. Why is it important? If you’re on a long trip or driving in rugged terrain, a TPMS can alert you prior to a blowout or a flat tire. Aftermarket TPMS systems connect to a display monitor or your phone via Bluetooth, making them easy to install. In most cases, you simply replace the valve stem caps with the screw-on TPMS sensors.
If you tow a trailer, add TPMS sensors to your trailer’s tires, as well. Some tire pressure monitoring systems allow you to monitor two vehicles, so you can switch between the towing vehicle and the trailer. Likewise, some provide monitoring for double rear axles, dual inboard/outboard tires, etc. As part of the setup, you define the maximum cold tire pressure and settings for alerts or alarms.
Dash cameras: Dash cams are quite simple to install. They oftentimes help in the event of an accident. If you ever need to go to court to prove the other driver was at fault in the accident, dash camera footage can make your case. If you do a lot of driving in heavy traffic or bad weather, a dash cam is an important upgrade to your ride.
Variety of Views and Installations
Some dash cams include both a wide angle lens (showing the big picture) and telephoto lens (to capture license plate details). Others have the ability to capture both forward and rearward video, to allow coverage in rear-end collisions. In most cases you can install the camera yourself, simply by using an included windshield suction cup and accessory power cord. Otherwise, you might opt to have the camera hardwired professionally for a cleaner, more permanent installation.
Not-So-Do-It-Yourself Upgrades for Power and Performance
Car owners that are a more hands-on or enjoy getting down and dirty may prefer to make major upgrades. Or, as the case may be, non-mechanical people can hire a mechanic to do the work for them. Major modification for power and performance can be exciting… and costly.
High-performance exhaust and/or turbo charger: These vehicle upgrades are not for the faint-at-heart. They boost performance, but need more upkeep and premium maintenance to ensure a longer-lasting engine and transmission. Anytime a structural or design performance change is made, special care is needed regarding the stock fluids recommended. Why? Because the engine specs, temperatures, and operating pressures will change. Basic motor oil and transmission fluids will no longer be adequate to provide maximum protection. In these scenarios, switching to full synthetic oils and transmission fluids is a must. Depending upon the style of driving you do, more frequent fluid changes may also be required to protect your investment.
Engine Oil Remote Bypass System: Installing a bypass filtration system increases the overall sump size of the engine, helping dilute the concentration of metals in the oil. Bypass filtration removes or dilutes contaminants, making oil last significantly longer. Cleaner oil ensures better engine reliability. So an engine oil bypass system is a performance and maintenance enhancement to take better care of your engine.
Whether the car upgrades cost a couple hundred dollars or thousands, it is important to do a little research. Shop around. Find exactly the right products for your particular make and model of vehicle, and be sure to adhere to your manufacturer’s protocols. Consulting with a professional service advisor is a great place to start.
Of course, the list goes on. There’s no limit on the variety of vehicle upgrades you can add. Physical appearance modifications like spoilers, ground effects, underlighting, etc. all have appeal. But we encourage you to also consider upgrades discussed above to improve safety, comfort and performance. Keep a balance between the dramatic and the practical as you add flair to your ride. Check out our other topics for more ideas.