No matter how much we spend on our cars or how we were able to obtain them, we always want them to look as good as possible. Buying a new car isn't cheap, and since most only buy cars every few years, once you do have a car, you're then stuck with it for a while. Cars are a reflection of what we believe ourselves to be, and they represent us before we can even get a chance to represent ourselves. In society, a car is symbolic of wealth and status, and if you want to impress the crowd, then you need to have something impressive to drive around in. When it comes to dating, finding a date or even being considered worthy enough to be somebody's date can stem from what kind of car you drive.
Cars are very important in almost every detail of our lives. They aren't just what we use to get from Point A to Point B, but they're also a way that we connect to the world around us. Driving a car that you aren't happy with or proud of can sometimes overall put you down and make you feel bad. It can impact how people interact with you, whom you date, and how society sees you as a whole. This list includes 20 things that you can do to your car that can take it from zero to hero.
20 Car Wraps
One of the hottest trends going around on the car scene is car wraps. They can be an alternative to painting your car, and with so many different styles and varieties, the possibilities for car wraps are endless. Getting your car painted is expensive, and for the most part, unless you have a lot of money to dish out, it's also a permanent thing. With car wraps, you can experiment with different colors and patterns and change it out as you see fit.
A car wrap is essentially a large sticker that you put on your car. Sometimes, people buy and apply car wraps to their car to protect its original paint coating, and once they're ready to trade in the car, they remove the wrap, and the paint is in pristine condition. Other people find that it's a lot cheaper to customize the outside of their car with a car wrap instead of finding a skilled painter to do a paint job for them. If you have a really steady hand, then you can try wrapping your car yourself, so this is also another upgrade to your car that's more affordable.
Long gone are the days when spoilers were only reserved for racing or sports cars, and now, spoilers can be put on practically anything. Spoilers are a hot commodity in the car world because they can make almost any car look 10x cooler. Something about having a spoiler on the back of your car drives attention to your car and makes it look overall more sporty. Spoilers aren't just all for show, and depending on what kind of spoiler you get and the kind of car you have, they can even improve how your car drives.
Spoilers can go from affordable to expensive very fast, and they aren't always the easiest do-it-yourself projects. The cost of spoilers can begin from the hundreds but can quickly go into the thousands, excluding the cost of labor to put it on. Some companies specialize in making spoilers for cars, and if you have something specific in mind, then they most likely will have a spoiler for you and your car.
Not much beats a nice set of rims on a car to improve its appearance. Whether in a music video or at a car show, rims are always in style and in season. They've long been on the top of most wanted customizations on cars for years and still continue to stay among the top things that owners do to their cars. Rims emit luxury and status, and the bigger and more elaborate the rims, the more attention they bring to your car. Rims can also range in price, and you can put them on and switch them out yourself, making them accessible to most drivers.
When you add rims to your car, you're telling the world that your car has class. Whether you get spinners of spoked-out chrome or others, rims of all shapes and sizes look good. If you're on a budget, there are even rims that mimic precious metal, so you can have the look without breaking the bank. If you do decide to buy rims and you drive a performance vehicle, make sure that the rims don't interfere with how the vehicle drives. Rims can be a lot heavier than standard stock plastic rims, and if they're too big, they make driving a nightmare.
17 Wheel & Fender Lights
Having lights on your wheels and fenders can make any car go from basic to cool. Especially at night, eyes are attracted to lights, and if you have lights placed strategically at your wheels, then you almost guarantee that your car will get lots of attention. If you have nice rims and tires and want to show them off at night, then getting wheel lights will make sure that people see your personalized whip no matter what time of day it is.
Installing wheel lights isn't as hard as it looks, and watching a few videos will easily point you in the right direction to getting it done yourself. Since they're lights, they're also easily customizable, and you can personalize your color choices as well. You can choose colors that make your car stand out, colors that highlight and accent your car, or you can even have lights that create patterns for you as you drive.
16 Grille Inserts
While a little pricier than some of the other changes to your car that you can make, grille inserts can completely change the look and the appearance of your car. While grilles are normally used as a line of protection for your car, they also add a lot of personality to your car. During the day, when your headlights aren't running, the grille is the first thing that people will see before they see the rest of your car. Personalizing your grille can be a fun way to customize your vehicle.
Since some grilles can ultimately change your entire front end altogether, you may need professionals to install it for you. Some grilles will also require that you change out your headlights or may require some additional changes in order to be placed on properly. If you decide that you would want to include or add a grille insert on your car and your state requires a front license plate, then make sure that your grille still allows you to display your license plate.
15 Headlight Upgrades
One of the first things that you notice about a car is the headlights. Especially at night, headlights are one of the telltale signs of whether the car pulling up to you is a nice car or not. Upgrading your headlights can usually be done on your own, so if you're looking into making a change to your headlights, then, for the most part, the only thing that you need to buy are the headlights themselves.
Sometimes, you can completely change the look of your headlights without even changing out the entire thing by either changing the type of bulbs you have or just by restoring your headlights if they're old and dirty. LED and HID lights are really popular since they're crystal clear and offer more of a white tone over traditional yellow tones. The restoration of your headlights is an option as well and normally involve a kit that includes various cleaning and polishing materials to put on your lights.
14 Interior LED Lighting Kit
Even the most basic of cars will have an improvement in its overall feel with interior LED lights. Something about having lights inside of your car brings it more prestige. It can also function as a way for you to see things around your car better as well, and it isn't just solely a piece to make your car more impressive. Putting in LED lights on your car is also something that can be done by yourself with a little time and effort, so it's one of the changes that you can make on a budget.
Since there are so many surfaces on your car, putting in the lights can range from being on every available groove and surface for maximum effect all the way to just picking a few places you want to highlight. LED interior lights are also highly customizable, and you can personalize them to fit your own personal style. They can come in a variety of colors, and some even have chase or blinking filters on them to show off their cars.
13 Video Screen Monitor
If the interior LED lights aren't your style or if you want to add something else to upgrade your car, then video-screen monitors may be right for you. While some of the newer cars on the lot already come with built-in screens, older cars will still have basic radios installed. The cool thing about video screen monitors is that there are a ton of them to choose from and they're available in a wide range of prices and styles. Some of them are also really easy to install, making this not only more affordable but also something that you could do yourself.
Not only are video screens nice to look at when you're driving; they can also be seen by those driving nearby. Having a video-screen monitor in your car lets other drivers know that you're technologically sound and up to date with the times. You can get a touchscreen monitor that plays music or has GPS built into it so you don't have to use your phone; you can also get one that you can talk to so that you never have to move your hands off the steering wheel.
12 Turn Signals and Tail Lights
If you decide that changing out the headlights is something you want to do, then changing out your tail lights and turn signals is the next step. As tail lights can be seen even during the daytime, spending some time and effort to customize them will only impress those driving around you. Tail lights can be expensive, and while you can change them out yourself, if you don't know your way around a car, then it's best to pay a professional to do it for you. What makes tail lights so fun to customize is that they come in a ton of fun varieties, and you can even make your car look like something from outer space.
When you're looking into special tail lights, make sure that they're also something that's legal in your state. Some states will restrict extreme changes to your car if they don't meet legal standards. Even if the tail lights are the only thing you change on your car, it'll make a lot of difference in the car's overall look and appearance.
11 Window Tint
Having tinted windows in your car definitely ups its status. When those around you can't see through your windows, your car looks and becomes more interesting. Window tint not only upgrades your car's look but also has practical uses. Privacy can be hard to come by when you're driving, and having tinted windows means you can rock out and have concerts in your car peacefully. If you live in hotter climates, then having tinted windows keeps cool air in your car.
While window tint is sometimes best left to professionals, it's a car mod that can be done on your own. Depending on the state you live in, you may only be allowed to tint to a certain percentage before it becomes illegal, so double check before you dish out any cash, so you don't break the law or get pulled over. Window tinting does fade after time, and once some time passes, you may need to have the tint completely redone or removed.
10 Exhaust System
Adding an exhaust system to your car is a fun way to enjoy your drives even more. If you want those around you to hear your car, then adding an exhaust system may be right for you. Exhaust systems vary in both price and intensity, and depending on your car and engine type, you have a lot of options to choose from. Exhausts can be pricey, even at entry level, and most require a professional installation, so make sure it's what you want before you decide to buy.
Exhaust systems can improve your car's appearance, but they have a downside to them as well. Since anytime you drive your car, it'll be louder, trying to listen to music or having a conversation may be harder. If you live in a quiet area, then you might create unnecessary conflict with neighbors who don't care for loud noises from your car at various times of the day.
9 Audio System
If adding an exhaust system to your car isn't enough, then there are always audio systems. Music is such an integral part of driving that having a good system to listen to it on is important in any car. Driving with the windows down and your favorite song coming out of the radio is written about in stories and songs. People love music, and people love cars, so why not make the most of them both by adding an audio system to impress.
Audio systems can vary from car to car and person to person, and they come in so many varieties that it would be hard not to find one that you like. There are some budget-friendly options as well if you're tight on what you can spend and they all will still deliver an improved sound than your basic radio. Installation can sometimes be tricky if you're trying to do it yourself, so having someone else do it can be easier. In some states, if you're playing music too loudly, then you can get a ticket for noise pollution and disruption, and depending on the size of your system, you might lose some trunk space as well.
8 Tire Upgrade
There are few things that are worse than a beautiful car on a set of ugly bad tires. Driving a car on skinny, balding tires is a quick way to turn anyone off from your car. Not only do upgraded tires improve the quality of your driving, but they're also a lot easier on the eyes. Having new tires shows that you care enough about the condition of your car to invest in quality pieces for it. The good thing about tires is that once you buy them, then you normally don't need new ones for years after.
Even used tires can be pricey, and since they're basically the shoes of your car, they usually have to be put on by a mechanic or a tire shop. Some terrains and climates will require that you have certain tires, so getting summer tires in a wintry season isn't only dangerous but also a waste of money. There's some research that's needed when buying tires, as you need to make sure they're the right tires for both your car and your budget.
7 Seat Covers/Upholstery
Life happens in cars; drinks spill, and dirt gets in cars, but having a dirty, messy upholstery will almost certainly cost you dates and cause people to talk about your car. If you have an older car or a used car, the stains left in your seats will most likely remain in the car forever, even with cleaning. Seat covers are an easy and fun way to refresh the look of your car without breaking the bank, and they give the car a clean start. Seat covers come in a variety of styles and colors, and you can get them in different materials, including leather. Depending on your personal style and budget, the type of seats you can get can ultimately change your entire interior.
Not only are car seats affordable, but they're also usually really easy to install and can be done by yourself. If something happens to them where they get dirty or become flawed, then they're also easy to remove and clean. Even when you first buy a car, you can get car-seat covers to protect your untouched seats underneath, just as a car wrap protects the paint of a car.
6 Steering-Wheel Makeover
If you've already upgraded your seat covers and changed out your interior lights, then the next thing you need to do is change your steering wheel. Changing your steering wheel is a quick and cheap way to express yourself and get away from all of the stock accessories that the car originally came with. Getting a new steering wheel is one of the cheapest changes to your car that you can make but is one that's both noticeable and super customizable to your own personal style.
Unless you're a getting a complete remake of your steering wheel, then, for the most part, you can change out the steering wheel yourself. You can get steering wheel covers in different materials and fabrics, so if you want a leopard-print velour steering wheel, then there's a steering-wheel cover out there for you. Other drivers or passengers seeing your cover will get a peek into your style and taste, and it can be used a conversation starter as well.
5 Car-Door Lights
Adding car-door lights to your ride will instantly up its wow factor. While interior lighting is cool, adding lights to your door when you open it or on the handles and buttons make your car more luxurious. In a lot of today's newer luxury cars, lights are strategically placed all over the doors to highlight buttons and features of the car. If you have a little bit of creativity and a set of lights then you can achieve the same level of luxury in your car as well.
Lights are easily one of the most inexpensive accessories that you can get in a car. In comparison to rims or tint, lights not only up the ante but are also super easy to install and are incredibly light on your wallet. When you add something to the car yourself, you can easily make it your own, and the possibilities go as far as your imagination does.
4 Cold-Air Intake
If you're looking to improve the overall quality of how you ride and add a little speed to your car, then a cold-air intake might be worth your while. A cold-air intake adds cold air to your car's internal-combustion engine to maximize performance, efficiency, and fuel economy. Getting this type of modification done is most likely only noticeable by yourself or anyone that you let drive your car, but it's a more affordable option than changing out the engine entirely or getting a new car.
There are a variety of cold air intakes that you can get for your car, and they vary in price as well. Since they're an addition to your engine, then most likely, a mechanic has to install them for you. While some dealerships allow you to add cold-air intakes at the time of sale, most of them are bought aftermarket. Some side effects your car may experience from having an intake filter are louder noises coming from the engine and additional maintenance required to keep it clean and optimized.
3 ECU (Engine Control Unit)
Like adding a cold-air intake, an ECU optimizes the use of your engine. By making readings of your car's performance and then making adjustments as needed to your car, the ECU makes sure that you're always getting the most from your ride. Based on sensors and monitors, the ECU takes and records important measurements based on how your car performs when you drive. What makes an ECU different from a cold-air intake is that while an intake adds to your car by bringing in cold air, the ECU makes sure that everything already in your car is working at peak performance.
The ECU is something that's mostly recommended for people who view their car as a performance vehicle. If your goal is simply to improve the outer appearance of your car, then there are about 15 other things on this list that'll do that for you. Getting an ECU installed by a mechanic will require some money, and based on the data picked up by the sensors, additional items may need to be bought for your car.
2 License Plate Change
Nothing says "I like my car" more than a customized license plate. Whether you bedazzle it or add lights to showcase it, making changes to your license plate is one of the base-entry ways to improve your car's appearance. The best thing about getting a customized license plate is that no matter what car you have now or what car you buy in the future, the license plate can go with you. It's a one-time-expense calling card that describes you, and it's really easy to get and install yourself.
Because license plates have limited character spaces, the creativity required to make one your own can sometimes be stretched. If you have a longer name or slogan that you want to include, then you may have to use abbreviations or slang to get your point across. If you lack the creativity streak but still want something fun, there are sites that'll even give you personalized license plates.
One step further than just tinting, debadging and de-chroming your car are two ways that you can personalize it. If you don't want those around you to know what you're driving or which year your car is, then removing any badges that give that information away forces them to guess. People who drive performance cars will often remove their badges so that their rivals don't know what kind of engine they have until the race has already started.
Dechroming can also be called "blacking it out" because essentially, that's all you're doing. If you just love the idea of having a completely blacked-out car, then removing any form of color that isn't black just might be right for you. Both debadging and de-chroming a car are inexpensive and can be done by yourself. Neither requires fancy equipment, and most of the tools you need can be bought on the web.
Sources: camaro5.com, hellcatforum.com, racenotrice.com