When looking at buying a new or pre-owned car, the draw to a new car is generally the fact it has all the latest and greatest features. However, going this route will cost you thousands more upfront and even more in first-year depreciation.
Fortunately, aftermarket car upgrades can help bring virtually any pre-owned vehicle up to par with new vehicle features. Below, we cover some common and desirable aftermarket car upgrades that help make a pre-owned car feel like a new car.
These exterior car upgrades will help that older pre-owned car look as flashy as one that just rolled off the showroom floor.
Over the years, car wheels take a lot of abuse, and pre-owned wheels rarely look as stellar as they did on the showroom floor. You can upgrade your pre-owned car and make its shoes look new again with a set of aftermarket wheels — also called rims.
There’s no shortage of aftermarket rim manufacturers that build all types of wheels that look as good as anything on today’s new cars. And there’s no need to opt for huge wheels that’ll look silly on your car. Many manufacturers create wheels in the factory sizes, so the fit and finish are just like they rolled off the showroom floor.
Headlights have come a long way over the years, and the most modern LED unit cut through the pitch black of nighttime better than any other. Sadly, LED headlights are a relatively new technology on mainstream cars, so many pre-owned cars still have the older halogen lights.
Fortunately, there are companies now that create direct-replacement LED headlights that are virtually plug-and-play. You simply plug them into the car’s factory headlight outlet and slide the bulbs into the headlight assembly, and you have the perfect lighting for your evening drives.
You can also do the same for turn signals, reverse lights, and parking lights, but the turn signals may require a special load resistor to operate correctly.
Over the years, the sun can fade the tint on a pre-owned vehicle. Fortunately, this is an easy fix. Simply head to a tint shop and ask them to remove the old, fading tint and install new, dark window tint to make it look new again.
This new tint will also better protect the interior from the sun’s harmful rays.
While there’s little you can do to modernize the interior appearance, there are plenty of other car modifications you can do inside a car to make it function like a brand-new car.
Smartphone mirroring via Android Auto and Apple CarPlay have become staples in brand-new cars. With these features, you can connect your compatible smartphone to the infotainment system and use the apps you love on your phone inside the vehicle, like navigation and audio streaming.
However, just a few years ago, this was still a novel feature that not every vehicle had, so there are plenty of quality pre-owned vehicles. Fortunately, you can purchase an aftermarket infotainment system with a touchscreen featuring Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Some even feature the latest technology, connecting to your device without a cable.
These systems also often include Amazon Alexa, adding extra convenience.
In-car audio systems have become downright amazing these days, and they may put your pre-owned car’s stock audio system to shame. Fortunately, you don’t have to upgrade to a brand-new car to get amazing-sounding audio.
You can simply upgrade the audio system with quality aftermarket speakers, amplifiers, and subwoofers to get the rich, concert-like sounds you crave.
Many new cars also include multi-colour ambient lighting that gives the cabin a warm, light glow in the evening. You can purchase and install many aftermarket mod kits in your older car and give it the same look and feel without getting a pricy new vehicle.
Like the exterior lighting, LED lights have overtaken new-car interiors, giving them bright and inviting cabins compared to dull halogen lights. Luckily, aftermarket light manufacturers have created retrofitted LED bulbs that fit in place of the older halogen bulbs to give any pre-owned car the same brightness in the cabin as a new car.
New cars always have the latest in safety gear and ratings. This includes the latest in safety technology that makes it easier to avoid crashes and reduces driver fatigue. Fortunately, many of these are available as aftermarket car mods for your older pre-owned vehicle.
Parking sensors have become relatively common in today’s new cars. These sensors use radar to detect how close you are to stationary objects, like another parked car or a wall, while parking. They use audible beeps and a visual display to indicate how close you are to these objects.
Just a few years ago, these sensors were only on the most premium vehicles, so your pre-owned vehicle may lack them. Fortunately, they are available aftermarket and function virtually the same way as the factory-installed ones on today’s cars.
Backup cameras — also called rearview cameras — give you a view of the rearward path of your vehicle via the infotainment screen. This allows you to see other vehicles, people, and objects without twisting around and looking. These are now required on new cars, but they are still relatively new, so your pre-owned car may lack one.
Fortunately, aftermarket companies saw the need for these and created a wide range of rearview cameras that can work on virtually any vehicle. There are various screen options to fit all types of cars, including projection onto a smartphone, an auxiliary screen, or integration with an aftermarket touchscreen.
Blind-spot monitors help prevent crashes with vehicles in your blind spots via visual and audio alerts when you turn on your turn signal to change lanes. These have helped avoid countless accidents but are still a relatively new trend, so many pre-owned cars lack these helpful features.
Like all other features on this list, there’s a range of aftermarket companies offering blind-spot monitors for just about any vehicle, so you can easily make your used car feel like a more modern car.
Many of these blind-spot monitoring systems also include rear cross-traffic alert, so you’re aware of any vehicles or pedestrians crossing your rearward path while reversing.
At Clutch, Canada’s first 100% online pre-owned automotive retailer, we have a wide range of the highest-quality late-model pre-owned cars with the latest automotive features. So, you’re sure to find a vehicle with all the options you want, no car upgrade necessary. However, if you find a vehicle lacking a few features but is otherwise perfect, rest assured you can always add these features later.
At Clutch, you’re also getting a quality pre-owned car, as every vehicle we sell goes through a 210-point inspection and reconditioning process, then receives a 90-day or 6,000-km warranty. Plus, we include a 10-day or 750-km risk-free test-own period. If you don’t love your Clutch vehicle within this time, return it for a refund or exchange it for another vehicle.
Check out our inventory of quality pre-owned cars today and choose the one that suits your needs. We’ll complete the sale online, set up the financing, evaluate your trade-in vehicle, and deliver the vehicle to you. The Clutch purchasing process is as simple as it gets and requires no trips to the dealership.