Let's be honest here, cars are a massive money pit. Most of us car owners spend a fortune on our vehicles – and it's not just the bells and whistles either. Whilst the temptation is definitely there to purchase those new, shiny additions for your set of wheels (especially seeing as we spend so much time in them), the upkeep essentials of running a car generally eat into our budgets.
Whether you want to keep up with the Joneses with the latest gadgets or you just want to breathe new life into your old ride, there's cost effective improvements you can start implementing today to boost your car. Here's a few financially smart options to improve its value or performance:
1. Invest in a Reversing Camera
Reversing cameras will be mandatory in all new cars by 2018 in the US, with Australia not too far behind. In today's world, both parking sensors and reversing camera are indispensable – and it has nothing to do with laziness, bad drivers or an ageing population. With the amount of tragic incidents on the rise of toddlers being run over in driveways, rear cameras have been deemed the best prevention for death and injuries.
As the best technology to reduce blind spots, collisions and lower the heartbreaking statistics, investing in a reversing camera for your vehicle is one of the best safety features you can implement. Boosting driveway protection, eliminating costly reverse parking accidents and acting as a vital second set of eyes, reversing cameras are invaluable.
2. Amplify the Sound
Upgrading your car's sound system for an amplified sound can make a massive difference (and impression!) to your car. Especially if your vehicle is more than 5 years old; chances are the sound system has seen better days and needs a sound boost. For a cost effective solution, you can look into adding a separate amplifier to enhance the power quality.
Look for amplifiers with more RMS power as this will give you more room for volume, if you like your sound loud of course.
Other key areas to consider to improve your sound system include investing in quality speakers. This can work out pretty pricey if you're upgrading everything, but for a cost effective solution stick to just the front speakers which will boost the sound quality by 90% and won't cost you a fortune. For an extra sound boost, consider purchasing a small subwoofer to up the bass.
3. Replace Floors Mats and Seat Covers
It's amazing how 'new' your vehicle can look with a few easy upgrades that won't cost you an arm and a leg. Replacing floor mats and seat covers can give your car that much needed boost in appearance and make it feel like a shiny new ride. Floor mats tend to be the first thing that shows wear and tear in the car. Opt for weather-proof rubber floor mats as these will save the carpet underneath, prevent a build-up of mould caused by wet shoes and be more heavy duty than standard floor mats. Seat covers are the best way to protect car seats from general wear and tear. Opt for higher quality materials for longer lasting protection and replace them as soon as they start looking too far gone. If the look like they've seen better days but you want to save more money, consider washing the covers to give them more life.
4. Upgrade Your Tyres
Decent tyres make all the difference with safe driving, vehicle performance and fuel consumption. If you're looking to upgrade one big ticket item with your car, tyres should always be your first move. Keep your new tyres well maintained over the years too, ensuring tyre pressure is never neglected. Low tyre pressure can affect performance and safety, and see even the higher quality tyres burn out quicker. Once you've purchased a new set of tyres, invest in a good set of rims for them. It's not just about the shiny new appeal of rims either – lightweight sets will look great, but they will also improve brake performance and handling ensuring your car is safer, more efficient ride.
5. Use Good Quality Oil, Regularly
The engine is the heart and soul of your vehicle and using good quality oil will keep things running smoothly. Check the manual to determine what the manufacturer's recommended grade of motor oil is and stick to it where possible. This will not only improve your petrol mileage by a decent 1-2%, but it will boost horsepower.
Using just any motor oil won't allow your car to perform at its peak. The engine is designed to work best with a specific type, so if you're unsure check with your local mechanic. Using a heavier weight oil than what's been recommended will cause the car's engine to work overtime and burn more fuel, adding to those dread petrol costs and creating more friction without the engine.
By listening to your car, following the manual and keeping on top of small maintenance issues before they become big problems; you can keep your vehicle running smoothly. Improved performance, fuel cuts and maximum reliability is what we all want from our car. And with the right cost effective improvements, you can be on your way to a healthier and efficient ride.