Americans are obsessed with cars — especially new ones. Over 15 million new vehicles were sold in 2013 alone — 15 million! While it’s arguably nice to upgrade your ride with the purchase of a brand-new one, most of us probably can’t afford to do so. Of course, that doesn’t change the desire. If you’re in the mindset for a new vehicle, but nowhere near the market for one, here are seven ways you can improve your ride that won’t require you to break the bank.
1. New Tires
Not only will new tires help your car perform better, but depending on the brand and type you get — FRS Performance Parts has some real beauties — they can also greatly improve the look of your vehicle. Especially if you’re adding off-road or high-performance racing tires, go big, and you’ll love the look of your vehicle every bit as much as the way it handles.
2. New Rims
Of course, whether you’ve got old tires or new ones, they can easily be spruced up with some new rims. Depending on your taste and price points, the sky is the limit, too. From custom, high-dollar, chrome stunners to affordable and attractive options that won’t set you back more than a couple hundred dollars, a new set of rims will inspire you to keep your wheels clean, and you’ll enjoy the attention you get on your commute, too.
3. Motor Mount Inserts
Also called dogbone mounts, top mounts, snub mounts, and torque arm mounts, what motor mount inserts do is remove the slack that exists between the act of shifting and the time it takes for the resulting power generated by from your engine to translate into speeding tires on pavement. To install, put the inserts in the freezer to shrink them a bit. Remove the stretch bolt that goes through the mount. Spray the cold insert with WD-40, and get it into its place with a good swing of a rubber mallet. Then, reinstall a new washer and stretch bolt. The result? Faster, cleaner shifts and an improved throttle response.
4. A General Tune-Up
It’s amazing what performing a general tune-up on your vehicle will accomplish. For less than about $100, you can improve performance in everything from stopping time to emissions. Here is some of what you should do to give your car an overall checkup that will make almost everything about it better:
- Replace spark plugs.
- Change the oil and the oil filter.
- Change the transmission fluid.
- Clean the idle control valve.
- Replace the air filter.
- Bleed your brake lines.
- Rotate tires.
- Get air tire up to manufacturer’s recommendations.
5. Cold Air Intake
If you’d like to make your vehicle a little bit more like a rocket and a little less like a gas guzzler, modifying the cold air intake is a good first move. Basically, you replace the stock air box that came with your car’s original intake. It allows air to flow more naturally across you engine so it can breathe better, access air when necessary, and perform more economically. It’s a relatively easy mod you can probably do yourself in about an hour. You can buy kits for this improvement; just make sure you follow all the instructions.
6. H.I.D. Headlights
High-Intensity-Discharge headlights will roughly double what you currently see at night with your regular halogen headlights, and they look impressive, too. You can choose between color temperatures, so you don’t have to get the blinding white look often associated with cheaper, newer cars. For a little bit of extra money, you can choose projector-based lenses, too. These focus the light much better than your average H.I.D.s.
So this upgrade might not impress anyone outside your vehicle, but for you and any passengers traveling in a heavy rainstorm, a windshield that’s had Rain-X applied to it is a glorious thing indeed. Even when your wipers are clipping away at full speed, a heavy rain can make seeing well enough to drive safely nearly impossible. Rain-X, when applied correctly, forces water off the surface of your windshield at a refreshingly fast pace, so you can see clearly to steer safely.
Improve your ride enough to love it anew with these seven relatively cheap improvements and upgrades.