You’ve probably heard of the saying “You are what you drive”, but if you drive an older car, it doesn’t have to mean that you’re old, or cheap, for that matter. There are quite a few ways you can “pimp” your car without breaking the bank. After all, why invest hundreds or thousands of dollars on a car that’s over a decade old? It doesn’t make sense from a financial point of view. However, no matter how old your car is, it’s probably your love and joy, and you want to enjoy driving it as much as humanly possible. That being said, here are a few ways to improve the comfort and look of your vehicle on a budget.
Steering Wheel Covers
The steering wheel cover is one of the most worn down parts of your interior. After all, you spend 99% of the time holding it with your hands, and in the Australian weather, that often translates to holding it with sweaty hands. Sweat can completely ruin your steering wheel’s look. There are many different types of steering wheel cover types and designs, including padded, leather, carbon fibre, or tie-dye. Furthermore, there are even more colours and themes, such as your car’s brand, favourite sports team, or anything in between. Replacing the cover will provide a huge cosmetic change, as well as make it more comfortable. Moreover, it can keep the steering wheel cool after leaving your car in the hellish Australian sun. You have tons to choose from, and the price range of covers starts at about $15-20. Replacing your old one with the new one is extremely easy, just make sure to clean the surface before placing the cover.
Mats for Cars
Every time you go in your car you bring along dirt, snow, mud or rocks. Mats for cars offer an extra layer of protection and conceal what’s already happened to your carpet. You can choose from a wide range of floor mats, but generally, they’re divided into two categories – universal or vehicle specific. Vehicle specific mats are custom-made to fit the floor area of your particular model and make. However, they are the more expensive option. On the other hand, universal mats can be placed in any vehicle, but they won’t necessarily match the dimensions of your floor down to the T. Additionally, car mats are categorised based on the material they’re made from. Rubber is the most popular option, as it’s easy to clean. Carpet mats, on the other hand, can provide a more refined look.
Seat covers are another way to completely change how your vehicle looks. They provide a custom look, can be wiped or washed more easily, and can add to the overall comfort of your vehicle. They’re a must-have accessory for pet owners who want to prevent their seats from getting scratched, drooled or even urinated on. After all, it’s cheaper to just buy new covers than to chemically clean your interior. You can choose from basic, sheepskin, towel, cushioned, etc. They come in a million designs and colours, and you can even print a photo on them! They’re as simple to install as the aforementioned accessories, and just as affordable.
While backup cameras are now mandated by law on newer vehicles, chances are if you drive a car older than a decade, it doesn’t have one. This safety feature will not just modernise your vehicle, but it will help you see blind spots and just what’s happening behind you in general. However, unlike the other accessories I talked about, adding one can be quite costly, especially if you consider installation and screen costs. However, you can find some kits that are considered plug-and-play, and simply connect to your power point or reverse lights.
Phone Mount, Bluetooth and USB Chargers
If your car is older, it probably doesn’t have GPS, Android Auto or Apple Carplay. However, this doesn’t mean that you can’t take advantage of these technologies, even when on a budget. A phone mount will secure your phone wherever you want, making it easy to use its navigation and music applications. Most mounts are generally attached to the dashboard or one of the air vents.
Bluetooth, on the other hand, allows you to use your cellphone and stream music with minimum distraction. There are universal Bluetooth kits that don’t need to interact with the stereo, but you can also use an adapter to connect it to an aftermarket stereo that’s Bluetooth-capable. Contrary to what many people believe, this is quite an affordable solution. However, most of the time, you’ll need a professional installer or handyman to do the installation.
Lastly, USB phone chargers provide some of the best quality-of-life improvements out of all accessories. They simply plug into the cigarette lighter, and many come with dual ports, allowing you to charge multiple devices. For under $20, you’ll never have to worry about your battery dying while you’re out.