Have you had your car for more than a few years? If you drive an older car model, chances are that you're missing out on a ton of technological advances. You might not notice until you get a newer car rental when out traveling - but once you start noticing, you won't be able to stop.
There are a ton of ways that you can spice up your ride and make it feel like a new car. For some of the more expensive options, you can sometimes get an auto loan to finance it. That's less pricey than buying an entirely new vehicle! But there are also quick options that are totally inexpensive.
I've put together a list of some neat luxurious updates you can make for your vehicle.
Depending on how long you've had your current tires, your vehicle could benefit from getting a new set. Not only do fresh tires make driving easier, but they're also essential for your safety. If you live in certain areas, your tire tread could make the difference between being able to leave the house and being snowbound.
Tires last for anywhere from 65,000 to 100,000 miles of driving. The exact amount depends on the tread-wear rating that the tire has. You might not realize how much you're overcompensating for worn-down tires until you replace them. Worn tire treads make it hard to start, stop, and turn at tight angles.
New tires have the following impacts on performance:
Different types of tires are built for different performance. For example, winter weather or all-weather tires are built with tough treads that can grip in snow. Off-roading tires are built to handle sharp objects, uneven terrain, and steep mountain grids. Racing tires are made to start quickly, minimize drift, and maximize speed.
New tires also give you drastically better gas mileage, especially if your old tires haven't been replaced for a while.
When the tread pattern on your tires is uneven and worn down, your engine has to work harder to push against the ground. For this reason, tires should be regularly rotated and rebalanced. They should also be inflated to the correct pressure levels.
Interior Car Trash Can
Some of the best luxury items can be bought for just a few dollars. Chances are that you have a few trash cans in your house to gather your garbage. You also probably have shelves, cabinets, and drawers to organize your things.
Shouldn't the same be true of your car?
Many people take the DIY approach to collecting trash in the car. You can hang a plastic bag off the back of a headrest or place a removable lining in the pocket of the center divider. But a proper trash can helps give you a permanent place to relocate trash, and it doesn't take up awkward space.
Messy Back Seat
The amount of mess that accrues in your vehicle depends a lot on how many people ride in it. If you have friends, family members, or kids, the debris tends to pile up. That's especially true if people eat in the car.
Fast food wrappers, sticky spots on the carpet, empty bags, Popsicle sticks - these are just a few things that can pile up without a trash can. And if you're usually driving, you might not pay much attention to what's happening in your back seat. But your passengers will.
Benefits of a Trash Can
There are a variety of trash cans designed specifically for vehicles. Some slide between seats or attach to seat backs. Others attach underneath seats. Depending on the type you choose, there could be any of these benefits:
A backseat organizer can quickly make your vehicle feel more luxurious. Not only does an organizer help to minimize clutter, but it also turns your vehicle into an accessible workspace. That's essential for people who are often on the go and tend to do work in parking lots and drive throughs.
What To Store
An organizer will let you store many vehicle essentials so that they stop cluttering up your glove box and other storage space. That has the added bonus of leaving your storage compartments free for important documents, chargers, and other objects.
Some of the most common objects to store in the organizer include:
How Organizers Work
Some organizers can be hung in the window or from the back of a seat. They can also be filled with objects to keep your kids busy. The pockets tend to be large and deep, which means that they can hold more than the door pockets of your car.
The idea of an organizer is to make use of the vertical space in your car. Most cars don't have a lot of room on the floor to store objects. Because of this, organizers are designed with stacking pockets like a hanging folder system.
Different organizers are designed to meet different needs. Some are good for on-the-go professionals, some are ideal for those who often make trips to the post office, and some are made more for the entertainment of little ones.
Wash with Leather Conditioner
Regardless of whether your vehicle is a newer or older model, there's a good chance that you have leather seats. Upgrading to leather seats from cloth seats will immediately add a sense of luxury. It'll also make it easier to do maintenance and increase the life of your seats.
If you have leather seats already, you can take care of them by using a leather conditioner treatment. This has a number of benefits including increasing the seat lifespan and making the seat more comfortable. Many auto mechanics refer to conditioning the seats as "servicing" your car seats the same way you service an engine.
Main Benefits of Conditioning Seats
Conditioning your leather seats provides the following benefits:
How the Protection Works
When leather car seats haven't been conditioned in a while, they'll slowly lose their softness and suppleness. That's because the leather will begin to dry and crack in the heat. Periodic reconditioning is necessary to make sure the leather stays moisturized.
The stain protection is also a big deal for the longevity of the leather. When you use stain dissolving solution on the leather, you run the risk of degrading it. Harsh chemicals and even non-acidic liquids like water can take a toll on the leather.
Conditioner doesn't dissolve stains, so it doesn't impact your leather's lifespan. It just protects against future stains. Debris and dirt will slide off more easily when you vacuum, rather than sticking. That increases lifespan and makes it much easier to clean the interior of your car.
The conditioner creates an invisible barrier between the leather and any liquids you spill. That's how it protects against water, soda, juice, coffee, and any other liquids you may spill by accident.
Chances are, you have a fair amount of clutter in your trunk. Of course, some of that will depend on what you use your vehicle for. These are a few examples of clutter that can pile up in your car trunk:
If your trunk gets too cluttered, it can be frustrating to shop for groceries, stow luggage, or carry other important items.
By using a trunk organizer, you give everything a place to "live." From there, you have extra space to easily store the items you need. That will immediately make you feel like you've invested in a more luxurious vehicle model.
Available Types of Trunk Organizer
Like with backseat organizers, different manufacturers have created different designs to suit a variety of different lifestyles.
The biggest thing to keep in mind is the type of vehicle you have. Not only will you want an organizer that fits your trunk dimensions, but you'll want one that's designed to work with your vehicle's unique challenges. For example, a minivan will use a different organizer than an open truck bed.
Many organizers are foldable, allowing for easy portability. The ones with flexible walls can also sometimes adhere to strange trunk curvatures.
Once you have one that meets your vehicle's specs, you want to make sure the organizational system works. It should have enough pockets to keep everything straight, and there should be enough large pockets to hold your larger items.
Cell Phone Mount
Many older vehicles are from a time before people realized exactly how vital cell phones would become. There are hands-free laws for cell phone use in many areas of the US, and some states ban talking on your phone altogether.
Newer vehicle models are frequently equipped with a cell phone mount. Adding one is a great way to make your car feel more luxurious.
Who Benefits from a Cell Phone Mount
A mounted cell phone can make your life easier if you do any of the following:
How a Mount Works
You'll need to get a phone mount that fits your current phone model. Some can also accommodate your phone case so that you don't need to make the device vulnerable.
The phone mount attaches to your dashboard, vents, or another area on the front of the car. You simply place the phone in the holder with the screen facing out. This lets you see the screen as you drive and makes it easy to accept calls or glance at a map in real time.
Even if your phone is mounted on the dashboard, you should never text while driving or use it more than necessary. It's better to queue up a playlist than swipe between a ton of songs, for example.
As long as they're used responsibly, cell phone mounts are easily accessible devices that make driving much easier and more convenient.
Dash cams like the HD Mirror Cam can make a big difference. The mirror cam attaches to your rearview mirror. Other cameras can be mounted on your dashboard or other areas of the car. Not only does a dash cam allow for luxurious monitoring of your vehicle, but it can also be vital when dealing with insurance disputes.
Some dash cams record both images and sounds, while others record only images. They capture the interior of the car and the things that happen around it.
Dash Cam Benefits
The following benefits are part of having one of these cameras:
The Luxury of HD Video
For safety and legal reasons, it's helpful to use a dash cam so that you always know who's at fault in any insurance issue. You also have footage to show the police should your car be broken into or vandalized.
But dash cams that take HD video are a huge deal because of the footage they capture. It's not just about recording the road. It's about recording your surroundings, so you never lose any unforgettable sunsets, mountain ranges, lakes, or unique cityscapes.
If you do a lot of road tripping, a dash cam is an effortless way to capture those memories. You'll be grateful for it when you compile videos or take still shots as photographs.
Your ability to purchase a radar detector will depend on where you live. Many states in the US, along with several international countries, have banned the use of radar detectors in vehicles. You could end up with a hefty ticket and points added to your license.
The best way to avoid a speeding ticket is not to speed. You shouldn't use a radar detector to "cheat" and try to "get away" with speeding. But every driver knows what it's like to lose track of your speed.
How Cops Issue Speeding Tickets
Speeding tickets are issued by police when a person goes significantly faster than the posted speed limit in an area. Some cameras have radar technology that can detect speeding even if an officer isn't present. In these cases, tickets are sent in the mail.
That's fair and necessary - obeying the speed limit protects not just you, but also all the other cars, pedestrians, pets, and wildlife surrounding you. But the police will sometimes use ways to "trap" speeders. They may sit at the bottom of hills where your speed naturally increases, hoping to catch you.
How Radar Detectors Work
Police measure the speed of cars by using a radar gun. They may also use Ladar technology, which uses lasers instead.
Some radar detectors can detect radar guns in the area, while others are equipped to measure both radar and Ladar signals.
When the scanner alerts you that there's a radar gun close by, you have a chance to slow down. You can double-check your speed before coming into the vicinity of the police officer.
Collision Avoidance System
Installing a collision avoidance system may not make your car feel more luxurious right away. But the safety factor cannot be overstated. If you have a family that you often drive with, keeping them as safe as possible is probably at the forefront of your mind.
Many new car models have collision avoidance systems built in. Some only have the technology available on the more expensive trims, while others offer it as a basic feature. But you don't have to purchase an entirely new car to get the benefits. Many systems can be installed into older models as well.
Types of Avoidance
The features included with the system will depend on what type of system is installed. Some are more robust in their collision avoidance capabilities. Some systems simply alert you to impending danger, while others can actually take control of the vehicle to prevent a crash.
Common included features are:
How to Install in Older Vehicles
Many of these systems work through the use of a camera lens. Even the more advanced systems often don't need more than one camera.
That means that you can install them into nearly any vehicle - all you need is the ability to mount the camera and the alert system properly.
New Car Wax
Waxing your car will immediately give it a gloss that makes it appear factory-new. From protection against damage to aesthetic appeal, there are multiple luxurious reasons to invest in a new coat of wax - especially if it's been a while since you had your vehicle detailed.
Benefits of Car Wax
Protective Benefits Explained
The wax keeps UV rays and inclement weather from penetrating the paint job. That prevents the paint from fading, chipping, or becoming damaged by the sun. It also keeps the exterior of the vehicle from aging.
The scratch protection keeps the car from getting scratched by rings, keys, shopping carts, or other cars. Damage to the metal itself can be costly, but the wax keeps scratches from penetrating.
Some wax coats can even be laid over the car windows. This helps your windshield and windows to repel water, great for driving in rainy weather.
Cosmetic Benefits Explained
The outermost layer of your paint job is the clear coat. If this coat is chipped, damaged, or uneven, that can make your car look older than it is.
When you put a new coat of wax on the vehicle, you cover up those imperfections. The texture of the outside is smoothed out, and the majority of clear coat issues are much more difficult to see.
It's easier to wash the car because the dirt doesn't get stuck to the paint job. Not only does that extend the life of your paint, but it also repels water, making it easier to dry the car.
Since dirt, debris, mud, and other imperfections are repelled, you don't need to give the car a full wash as often.
You might not have known that an SUV tent is even an option. But for pickup truck and SUV owners, it's a quick tool that lets you access adventure.
An SUV tent isn't the same as a shelter for your vehicle. Vehicle shelters can be erected in your driveway to shield your car from the sun. That helps keep it cool on hot days, plus it protects against sun damage.
What's an SUV Tent, Then?
An SUV tent is a camping tent that attaches to the back of your vehicle. Instead of being pitched in the wilderness, these tents are set up directly attached to your truck or car.
That makes camping much more accessible. It's also favored by off-roaders and people who tend to drive to their campsites.
If you're an outdoorsy type, this will turn your vehicle into the hotbed of your next adventure.
Vehicle Tent Benefits
With a tent attached to your car, you can:
Pretty much anyone can benefit from a car refrigerator. Long commute to work? Store your lunch or your soda. Going on a picnic? Store your fresh food. Living out of your car? The benefits are obvious. On a road trip? Keep cool drinks and snacks nearby. Camping? You can store the makings of a fresh meal.
Benefits of Fridges over Alternatives
There are plenty of traditional alternatives to fridges. One of the most common is a cooler. Most coolers don't use electricity. Instead, you pack them with ice and set your food and drink inside.
A refrigerator doesn't need ice. That's a game-changer. Not only do you not need to worry about the insulation melting, but you also have much more room to store a lot of food or beverages.
Fridges don't need constant maintenance or ice refilling. All you have to do is set the temperature, and you're done.
How Do Fridges Go in Cars?
Chances are, unless you're accustomed to extremely long road trips, you might not know about car fridges. They're common knowledge for truckers and RVers, but more casual road-lovers aren't aware.
The car fridges today plug into the 12-volt outlet of your vehicle or the cigarette lighter. The adapter gives the fridge all the power it needs.
What about the car battery? Most good fridges have a car battery monitor. If your car battery drains, the fridge will automatically turn off. That means your food can stay cold even when you're not actively driving, and your battery won't suffer for it.
New Mats or Carpeting
The mats in your vehicle help to protect your carpeting against debris. Most cars have mats in the driver's and passenger seats, and you might add a larger one to your backseat as well.
Over time, the mats tend to get messy. And maybe the carpeting underneath has seen its share of accidents, too. Replacing the floor mats or carpet of your car can make the interior look new, even if the vehicle is a decade old.
When Vacuuming Isn't Enough
Your car mats and carpeting might be dirty with any of the following:
Over time, these things can get ground into the surface. That's especially true if you have cheaper mats with less surface protection. If the mat is old enough, it might be easier to replace it than to try to scrub the grime out.
Replacing the carpet in a vehicle is a little more involved. Usually, unless the material is soiled so badly that it stinks, you'll want to start with a more relaxed approach.
Follow these steps to restore your vehicle's carpeting to its factory state:
In most cases, this will be enough to pry up years of dirt and grime. But if you do all of this and find that the carpet still smells or looks bad, it might be time to pull it up and replace.
Replace the Shocks and Struts
One way to improve the handling of an older car is to replace the shocks and struts. Many people put off this aspect of vehicle maintenance because they don't believe it's necessary. After all, if you aren't noticing any problems with the steering or brakes, what's the problem?
The truth is that your car will wear down slowly over time, so slowly that you may not realize it's happening. When you replace the shocks and struts, you'll notice an immediate improvement in the handling that will make you feel like you're dealing with a brand new model.
How to Replace These Components
There are four shocks and struts that are responsible for a vehicle's handling. Expert mechanics recommend replacing them in pairs rather than one at a time. The ultimate ideal is to replace all four simultaneously, since they're all the same age and have undergone the same wear-and-tear.
But replacing in pairs is all right if you're working with a budget. You'll still notice an improvement on the handling.
About Shocks and Struts
These are the parts of the car that control your tires. They help ensure that the tires stay in contact with the surface of the road.
If your shocks and struts become worn down, the tires will start to bounce instead of being held in place. This will make it more difficult for them to grip the road, which will in turn put stress on the engine.
Replacing them is vital for the control of your tires, so it's a safety issue as well as a comfort one. Even if you're not concerned about your tire handling, replacement will make you feel like you're driving a smooth, luxury vehicle.
Add a Steering Wheel Cover
A steering wheel cover is a relatively small change to make. It's one of the least expensive on the list. And yet the improvement to your driving experience can be huge. In addition, there are measured protection benefits against damage.
Types of Covers
Leather-wrapped steering wheels are all the rage. A leather cover may be expensive, but it lasts a long time, allows a comfortable grip, and doesn't wear out easily. Cleaning is easy, since you only need a cloth and soapy water.
Wooden covers are slightly more unusual. These are clipped to the wheel rather than being wrapped around. You'll need precise measurements. But they do add an aesthetic appeal that many people enjoy, and the tactile feel of them is praised by enthusiasts.
Rubber wheels have been designed for people who need a stronger grip. Maybe your hands slip over your current wheel. Maybe you have trouble holding tightly because of a medical condition.
There are also mesh covers made of synthetic materials. These can be purchased in hundreds of different colors to suit any aesthetic, and you can pull them over the wheel without any trouble. Mesh covers are often used to help with temperature issues like the wheel overheating or freezing in extreme weather.
Covering your steering wheel can improve the look of your car and make driving more pleasurable. It's a great place to start when you want to add a little luxury.
No matter your budget or vehicle, there are ways that you can make your ride more luxurious. Changing up your interior or improving your performance will make your grocery runs and daily commute feel a lot better!