Customizing your vehicle is a great way to make it stand out on the roadway and make it your own. And when it comes to modifications and accessories, the options are nearly endless, depending on preferences, budget, and local regulations.
For a few ideas on personalizing your car, from audio to appearance to gadgets and performance, keep on reading!
What to Know Before Personalizing Your Car
Before you begin adding any modifications or personal touches to your car, it’s essential to know your state’s guidelines for vehicle alterations. States all have different laws and regulations regarding modifying cars.
This is due to an attempt to control the excessive noise pollution and emissions that modifications may generate and reduce distracted driving incidents.
Common bylaw-restricted alterations may include:
- Lighting modifications that reduce the legal requirement of working lights, adding LED lighting that is too bright, and altering the placement of specific lights.
- Mufflers, in regards to excessive noise, baffles, or lack thereof.
- Sound systems, with increased decibel limits.
- Suspension or frame modifications that are to an extreme or unsafe degree.
- Window tinting beyond the acceptable percentage limit or type.
So, before you change or add modifications to anything on your car, it is wise to double-check your state’s laws and regulations on what is legal!
Car Gadgets for the Open Road
Whether you are headed out on a road trip or simply commuting to work for several hours a day, having some useful gadgets in the vehicle can make the time more enjoyable. Outfit your car with these accessories and embrace modern functionality.
From navigational aids and chargers to storage accessories and personal comfort items, you can augment your comfort and safety by trying some of the following great car gadgets today:
Audio and Video Enhancements
Give your sound system an entire makeover and bring your movie-watching technology into the 21st Century—with some easy technological additions and upgrades, your passengers will be in concert mode in no time!
Engine Sound Boosters
Do you want your diesel or electric car to sound like a V8? Engine sound boosters might be the right modification for you—by adding a module that connects to the vehicle’s ECU, an attached soundbox can deliver the roaring tone of a V8 engine. Custom car garages typically install these. We do not recommend doing this at home, as accidentally removing the DPF will make your vehicle illegal to drive on public roads.
Surround Sound System
By replacing your factory speakers and upgrading the head unit for smartphone music connections, you can take your sound system to a whole new level. Add some subwoofers in the back of your car for bass, and you are all set!
While some cars do come with built-in DVD players, you can upgrade your vehicle to contain a full-sized TV mounted in the trunk or hi-def screens in the seatbacks. Some custom installations can even accommodate video gaming, such as PS4 or Xbox, which is perfect for long road trips.
Arguably one of the most popular ways to personalize a vehicle is by modifying its appearance! This gives your car a unique look and makes it stand out on the roadway. But if you consider lifting, lowering, or tinting, ensure you check your state’s regulations.
Aftermarket Wheels and Tires
If you want something flashier than the wheels your car already has, think about changing them out. Aftermarket wheels and tires are a great way to add accents to your exterior that are still fully functional.
Popular choices for new wheels include painted alloys, chrome wheels, or aluminum alloy wheels. Or, if you want a more overstated look, a set of oversized wheels will fit nicely onto cars with customized stature.
Car Body Mod Kits
Similar to body modifications for people, car body mod kits make your car stand out from the crowd. Modify and customize the physical shape of your car with ground effects, made out of carbon fiber, fiberglass, or polyurethane that will last for years.
Custom Paint Job
When it comes to paint jobs, the options for transforming the exterior of your car are nearly endless. Impress bystanders with various combinations, including base coloring, accent hues, two-tone jobs, snazzy trim colors, and even graphic additions.
While spoilers do work to keep high-speed racing cars on the track, you likely will not be installing one for practical purposes. Spoilers provide your vehicle with a sleek, sporty look, or if you opt for an oversized spoiler, a grungier, monster-truck feel.
Lifted or Lowered
You can alter the height of your vehicle if your state’s regulations allow it. The process of lifting or lowering a car is quite common and is similar to the changes in shocks and struts regarding the actual performance. Cars are commonly lifted and fitted with oversized wheels.
Trucks can be lowered or lifted and paired with more intensive shocks and stiffer springs that will increase durability and allow a smoother off-road or rough roadway traveling sensation.
Oversized Tailpipes and Mufflers
Another cosmetic consideration, custom exhaust tips like oversized tailpipes and mufflers, is applied to achieve a deeper acceleration noise for the vehicle. They also enjoy a niche status of vogue among car modifiers for their specific look and sound.
Swathe your car in images, graphics, or colorful patterns of your choice! Businesses often use vinyl wraps on company cars to advertise, but wraps are also common in the world of personal vehicle customizations. With a wide variety of finishes and textures available, vinyl wrapping is a great way to customize your car for a relatively low cost while protecting your paint job and avoiding any irreversible exterior alterations.
Vinyl wraps can cover the full body of your car or even specific areas like the front grill, roof, or wing mirrors instead. When it’s time to get rid of your vinyl wrapping, the professional who installed it can remove the vinyl and any residue.
Depending on your state’s regulations for the level of tint, this can be a fun personalization to give your vehicle. Not only does tinting have a sleek visual appeal, but it can also be quite functional in blocking light transmission, as window tinting is available in many percentages of visible light transmission (VLT%).
Interior Upgrades and Customizations
You have altered the exterior of your vehicle already, but what about the inside? Luckily, there are several options for surrounding yourself and your passengers with personalized touches and upgraded items.
You don’t need to keep the original seats your vehicle came with—but if you want to change the seating, make sure the installation will not disable any airbags and that all passengers can still use the original factory seat belt.
Choose from a variety of seat types, such as sport seats, for a sleek appearance. But don’t be tempted by actual racing seats—they are designed for use with a racing harness, which is not a legal alternative to factory seat belts.
Not only can you change up the colors of your seats with custom upholstery work, but you can also select a new paint job for any hard surfaces to complete the look! Popular choices include bold hues like orange, blue, green, or classy white leather.
Place your feet on a personalized mat. You can find virtually any decoration, theme, or pattern for custom floor mats, and often for a very affordable price. Search online for “floor mats for” and your desired image— the options are endless.
Give your car a neon glow at night by installing LED strip lighting to the interior. While LED lighting can be applied to the exterior, such as under the running boards, it is not advised as many states do have regulations barring its use. However, installing accent lighting LEDs under the dash and glove compartment can give the inside of your vehicle a fun vibe that you can change with the click of a button!
When it comes to handling your vehicle, several enhancement options will make your car much more powerful. With some simple adjustments or a visit to your local garage for a nominal fee, you can count on more performance power.
Among the smaller types of enhancements for your car’s performance, consider installing the following items to enhance your driving experience:
- Blow-Off Valves
- Bolt-On Exhausts
- Cold Air Intake Systems
- Cutting Weight Strips
- Professional Bracing
- Short-Throw Shifters
- Upgraded Spark Plugs
Though the factory suspension system is more than capable for the average driver, some car owners want to go the extra mile. Explore a range of upgradeable and complex suspension systems, such as coilovers, full performance, and even racing-spec suspensions.
Give your car that gritty feeling of torque with the addition of a throttle response. Make adjustments to the throttle body’s cable slack to enhance the physical coupling between your throttle pedal and the engine, and enjoy the roar.
Turbochargers and Superchargers
Turbochargers and superchargers are more intensive types of modifications. Chargers enhance the performance of your engine by forcing more air through it to create more power. Installing turbochargers or superchargers can give you that extra boost you might be looking for. Unlike a nitrous oxide charger, these are legal. Just make sure any turbochargers or superchargers installed do not alter your car’s emissions system or cause you to fail your state’s safety inspection and vehicle pollution check.
Now that you know what possible customizations are available, it is time to decide what personal touches you want to add to your vehicle. Just remember to keep your budget in mind and check state regulations before making any significant alterations. The last thing you want is to get pulled over by the police and asked to remove the customizations you spent so much time and energy making possible.
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