A good looking car is like a beautiful woman. People will always stare at her wherever she is and even in the dark she will glow. If you are a car enthusiast, chances are you are driving your dream car or something close to it. You must have spent hours researching on the trims and the features available.
A lot of modern cars come with amazing features which are meant to enhance the performance and looks. Some of the features are purely for aesthetic purposes which is still a good thing. Sometimes the factory features might not be enough despite having an excellent car. Car modification is not a new phenomenon. The tradition is as old as the history of the automobile itself.
Car mods are about expressing personality and individuality. It is about standing out from the rest of the car owners who have the same model. There are so many modifications that could be added to the car. The limits are only in one's imagination. The most popular kind of modification is on performance. Car owners want a little bit more power than what was provided by the factory. Some car modifications are not for everyone as it would mean breaking the bank which goes against the grain of the whole process. We have compiled 25 car mods that you can do yourself and will not leave a hole in your pocket.
25 Interior LED Lighting
This is a cool modification that can make your toy look like a high-end luxury car. There are so many interior LED lighting styles available and you just need to go to Pinterest to get some inspiration.
LED lighting is not all about looking cool. You can lighten up your interior if the factory lighting is not sufficient. If you like getting your hands dirty then this is a project you'd like to try on your vehicle. There are step-by-step tutorials on the internet which walk you through the whole process from start to finish. The rule of thumb is not to overdo it. You don't want your car looking like a badly light house party where you only see the flash.
24 Car Wrapping
This can be a once in a year modification. It is not that cheap but cannot be compared to getting a paint job. It is mainly used by advertisers but you can take it on another level when it comes to car modification. Car vinyl dates back to the 1950s and it all started in advertising.
There are a couple of DIY videos you can follow if you decide to do it yourself. You will need a lot of patience and an open space to do the perfect job.
The racing stripes are common among car owners and gives the vehicle a premium feel and one would think you are driving a Porsche Panamera yet it is a 1998 Toyota Celica that you inherited from your dad.
23 Wiper Brackets
This is for those who want to truly stand out. Normal wipers are just too mainstream and you need something that will catch the attention of onlookers. A wiper bracket gives a unique accent the overall color scheme of your vehicle.
They come in different colors and shades and are very cheap. It will not even take you more than three minutes to install the brackets. It is recommended that the wiper brackets are a different color to your paint job if you really want to stand out. This may not be a popular modification but it is something worth trying out if you are on a tight budget and want to add some skin to your old car.
22 Aftermarket Audio
This is also one of my favorite car modifications. Most car factory audio systems leave a lot to be desired in terms of quality. It only gets worse if you are driving an old car. You might have found yourself a great bargain in a good car but the audio system is whack.
The good news is you can upgrade the sound system without breaking the bank. You can even install a double din head unit that is compatible with your IOS or Android phone. A good audio system should include a head unit, amplifier, and a subwoofer. You can include a backup camera since you will be installing a head unit. You will never have to worry about reversing and you can play music straight from your favorite streaming apps like Pandora and Spotify.
21 Shift Knob
Anyone who drives a stick knows the joy of shifting the gears. The shift knob might have looked the same for years and a facelift isn't such a bad thing. There are a couple of shift knob accessories in the market depending on the type of vehicle.
The DIY community is changing the way accessories are produced especially after the commercialization of 3D printing.
You can print custom shift knobs with your name or face on it. The challenge with such a project might be the design element. You can always outsource and get print-ready files. If you value comfort, you can decide to buy leather or soft cloth shift knobs. It is a world of endless possibilities when it comes to such car accessories.
20 Steering Covers
This is particularly popular with the fairer sex. You will see covers with a lot of wool and feathers. It is a good way to express oneself and is also seen as a way of marking territory.
Just like the shift knobs, there are several steering covers in the market to choose from. You can even get a Ferrari cover if choose to dream big. Your car might not be a Ferrari but the steering cover will be a constant reminder of what you are missing out and what you should be doing to drive a real Ferrari. Steering covers start from $5 a piece and you can buy as many as you like and change them whenever you are in a different mode.
19 Grille Inserts
Grille Inserts are common with trucks and 4x4 vehicles. If you are looking at sprucing up the exterior looks then grille inserts will take you to the next level in terms of customization.
The inserts are very cheap and you can get them for as little as $8 a piece.
Unlike the Neon, grille inserts are not tacky and your car still looks good without attracting all the unnecessary attention. Grille inserts are popular with Jeep owners who don't want to compromise the rugged look of the vehicle.
There are still grille inserts which are meant for ordinary vehicles but may not look as good as those on trucks. At the end of the day, it is about getting that car modification that suits your needs.
18 Headlight Covers
This is a car modification that doesn't take a lot of time and you can do it yourself. Headlight cover modification was used by the military in world war II. The covers are applied to the headlights so as to alter or reduce the light being transmitted.
The covers can also protect the headlights from damage in case of an accident.
There is always the worry of the headlight cover interfering with the overall exterior design of the vehicle. Most of them are barely noticeable and there are designs for a particular make and model of a vehicle. A typical headlight cover can cost around $50 on the higher side. You can decide to do the installation yourself if you don't want to incur labor costs.
17 Vanity Plates
This is the easiest modification you could add to your car. It is so easy that even a kid can do it. The only challenge with vanity plates is their legality depending on the States you live in. A survey conducted by American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators in 2007 found out that there were more than 9.7 million Americans with vanity plates. The number could be higher in the present day.
Vanity plates give you the chance to personalize your car ID. Not every word can be used on a vanity plate. There are words and phrases that are banned from being used in a vanity plate in Canada and the US.
16 Fog Lights
Modern cars come in trims and you have to pay more to get additional features. One of this feature is the fog lights. Some cars producers will sell their base models with basic functionalities. Adding features like the fog lights could cost you even up to $2000 more. This might not be a problem to some people if they are buying a new car.
The problem arises when you have bought a second car that doesn't have fog lights. Fog lights are very cheap and you can even get them for $14 a pair. You get to choose between Xenon, LED and halogen lights. The color can also be modified to give it more individuality and the desired uniqueness.
15 Headlight Upgrades/Restoration
This is for those who have old vehicles and have problems seeing at night. A simple headlights upgrade could make a big difference in night clarity. Headlights are very cheap and you can do it yourself. You just go to YouTube and search for headlight restoration for your car model.
If you feel the problem is not with the headlights then headlight restoration could be helpful.
Before 1990, most vehicles were using glass for headlight covers. They realized it was expensive to manufacture and maintain. They switched to polycarbonate plastic. The problem with polycarbonate plastic is oxidation. The polycarbonate becomes dirty and blurry. This could be easily fixed by a headlight restoration kit and it won't take more than 10 minutes.
14 Seat Covers
This has to be my favorite mod because of the tons of options available. For some strange reason, I don't like the seats that come standard with the Golf GTI. I honestly feel they could have done a better job. The seats obviously can't stop you from getting this beauty of a car. A quick search will give you hundreds of results for seat covers.
The best part is these seat covers are very affordable. It will give your interior a new premium feel even if you have an old vehicle. If you've always wanted ''leather'' seats then the cover doesn't stop you from dreaming. The seat covers are easy to fix and come in a variety of materials and colors. This is one modification you should definitely try out.
This is a great modification but some people go overboard with it. It doesn't make sense to put a Bentley emblem on an old Toyota. The whole idea behind the emblem is to make the model stand out and the emblem the car came with might not be enough to do the job.
There are modified emblems for just any vehicle under the sun and can be found in the major E-commerce websites.
If you are not about car brands, you can take it a notch higher and go with emblems from movies. The Batman emblem is very common with car modifications. You should be wary though because there are some States that don't permit such modifications. You don't want to be getting a ticket for a Batman emblem.
12 Custom Hood Ornaments
You can go all out if you decide to do custom hood ornaments. You should be willing to take the risk though as some modifications are irreversible while others will lead to damage to your vehicle.
A custom hood ornament could be anything and everything. It could be a flying horse or a 3D printed model of your face. There are a lot of ornaments people have used for their hoods and don't be surprised to see weird pieces when you are searching for inspiration.
11 Interior Dome Light
The interior dome light is for those people who spend a lot of time in their vehicles, especially at night. It could also be used to impress girls but you will only be able to do so after the sun sets. This kind of modification is what you'd find in a teenager's vehicle. Someone who is experimenting with life and there are all of these conflicting things competing for his short attention span.
For an adult, if you don't use the interior lights then you might as well replace them. It doesn't cost a fortune and it will make the car look different, albeit at night. For a more holistic lighting, the interior dome light should resonate with the LED lighting. You can choose to do the two modifications at the same time.
10 Tire Bling
There was a time tire bling was a fad in Hip-Hop culture. Guys would go out of their way to add gold bling to the tires. Nowadays Hip-Hop artists sing about waking up in a new Bugatti.
The hype might have died but you can still pimp your ride with unique tire bling. You can add coats to your tires which give them a new shine. The modification works in such a way that a dressing is applied to the tires to give it a glossy shine.
There are tire blinsg that could also be used as a protective coating from the elements like water and dust. The coat is not expensive and you can do it yourself provided that you are careful with the procedure.
9 Wheel and Fender Lights
The wheel and fender lights should be done together so as to produce something more magical. I guarantee you this is one of the modifications that will make you stand out. It can be a continuation of the exterior neon accents. The Neon Ground FX might be too vibrant and you need something subtle and calm.
The wheel and fender lights will shout without making a sound. The blue accent will look good in just any vehicle and the modification doesn't cost a fortune. All you need is the fender and the wheel lights which can easily be found online. Your mechanic shouldn't charge you a lot for the installation. You can do it yourself provided you follow the basic instructions that are given.
8 Trunk Liner
This is a modification that is popular with chicks but it still applies to both genders. There are people who hate cluster and are organized to the core. These kind of people will always have their cars clean and everything is in its rightful place.
There are big cars that come with a lot of room in the trunk. Some items might need proper storage and what better way than to have a trunk liner. A trunk liner will ensure your storage space is well utilized and you don't have things flying around in the trunk. The trunk liner can be customized to reflect the interior and theme of the vehicle which is in line with the personality and tastes of the owner.
7 Window Tints
This is a very important modification that is useful. Different States have different laws when it comes to window tints. Window tints will save you from the scorching sun by blocking UV rays. What you do inside your car should also be private and a window tint will save you from prying eyes.
Window tints are relatively cheap and the level of difficulty of installation will depend on the make and model of the car. I have installed window tints before though I had to call a friend to assist me who also happens to be a mechanic. Don't be afraid of trying it out as you can always do it again unlike some modifications which can have irreversible effects on your car.
6 Floor Mats
This is one modification that is often overlooked by car owners. Some people would rather have newspapers for floor mats instead of just buying them. There is the assumption that car floor mats are expensive and some people just don't know where to get them.
There are floor mats suited for every vehicle since they are manufactured with specific dimensions.
If you are not sure of what to get, you can go for all-weather floor mats which serve the purpose no matter which season you are experiencing. The floor mats can be selected depending on the interior styling of your vehicle. You don't want to be throwing just anything to your car when it comes to the interior design and accessories.
5 Racing Pedals
No one has to know they aren't real. They will make your car look good and your friends will always be surprised how unique your car is. The new modern cars come with paddle shifters which let you experience the joys of driving a manual even when your car is an automatic transmission. The racing pedals might just provide the same level of satisfaction without breaking the bank.
There are racing pedals currently on the market that look so good and real and one would be mistaken to think they are actually attached to the car. This is a car modification that should be on top of your list if you want to appear like a sophisticated driver who is all about speed and racing.
4 Interior Vinyl
Other than the seat covers, the interior vinyl will give your car a new makeover no matter how old or rugged it is. You want to start with the dashboard to make it look like a $100,000 luxury car. I will advise planning beforehand if you want to completely modify your interior.
The vinyl should accentuate the seat covers and the lighting that you choose. You can extend it to the door panels and the armrest. This is a modification that you can easily do yourself and can come in handy when you are on a budget. The vinyl is not permanent and you can always change it if you feel like you need a refresh.
3 Rear View Mirror
The rear view mirror is very important in driving as you are able to see what happens behind the vehicle. A lot of old cars have the traditional rearview mirror which is limited in terms of functionality. You have to adjust it from time to time to get the perfect view but it is still limited to what you can see.
The good news is you don't have to buy a new car to get a modern rearview mirror.
Modern rearview mirrors come with a dashcam and you don't have to worry about not seeing what is happening in the back of your car. If you install a double din head unit, you can use the dash to see when reversing. The modern rearview mirror lets you see what's happening with the help of a camera. You can get it for around $40.
2 Neon Ground FX
This is a cool car modification if you literally want to stand out. The Neon Ground FX turns your car into moving disco lights. There are different colors you can choose from. It might be dangerous driving with the Neon but there is nothing stopping you from lighting them when the car is stationary.
There is a video that went viral on social media which showed a guy picking up girls with the Neon Ground FX.
There was nothing fancy about his actual car. One could say that the girls were 'blinded by light'. If you want a serious and weird modification then the Neon Ground FX might just be what you are looking for.
Spoilers are very popular with Subaru owners. Some people install spoilers just for the sake of it without knowing their real reason. Spoilers are not just for making a car look good. They are installed to improve the overall aerodynamics of the vehicle.
Spoilers improve the airflow around and over the vehicle which results in better traction and grip on the road.
The reason why they are popular with Subaru owners because they drive the vehicles at high speeds. Such vehicles are likely to experience control problems because of the high speeds. Spoilers change airflow by increasing downward pressure thus increasing stability on the road. A spoiler is a great modification if you drive a fast car. It will make it look good and improve the safety.
Sources: carponents.com; buzzfeed.com; wikipedia.org