Are you driving around in an old car? Do you envy your friends and co-workers who have fancy tech upgrades in their cars? If your car is paid off, you don’t have to trade it in and take on another car payment just to get the tech boost you want.
There are many ways to give your old car a technology upgrade.
Before my 2002 Civic was totaled in an accident, I was really tempted to buy a new car just because I wanted a back-up camera. Now that my new car has one, I couldn’t imagine driving around without it.
I still check my mirrors and my surroundings, but my back-up camera helps ensure that I’m in the clear while I’m backing up. This is especially helpful when I’m at the grocery store where people and children can suddenly – without warning – run behind your car.
Rearview cameras have become so essential in the safety department that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration now requires them in all new vehicles. It’s a standard feature that can save lives.
Here’s the good news: you don’t have to buy a new car just to get a rearview camera. You can buy a quality aftermarket camera that you can install yourself for less than $200. Wireless cameras are also available that are even cheaper.
A heads-up display, or HUD, displays your navigation as a transparent image that’s projected onto your windshield.
Many newer luxury vehicles, like those from Mercedes-Benz, Audi and Land Rover, offer this convenient feature. Some models come with this feature standard, but you can also find it as an optional upgrade on most new vehicles.
HUDs can display arrows for upcoming turns, but they also provide information on your mileage, speed, engine problems and more. It does all of this without requiring you to ever take your eyes off the road.
You can find standalone, aftermarket HUD systems (like VIZR) for $300 or less. These systems will project onto a transparent screen that sits on the dashboard right in front of your windshield. Even the aftermarket systems can display your navigation as well as engine warnings.
Parking can be dangerous. Yes, you’re moving slow, but there are so many uncontrollable factors that can lead to an accident. You misjudge your vehicle’s position, so you clip the car next to you while pulling in. You rush to parallel park and hit the curb or a light pole.
There’s no doubt about it – moving in and out of parking spots is stressful. And sometimes, these struggles can lead to scratched or dented bumpers.
The newest vehicle models can park your car for you. But if you’re not ready to empty your bank account to buy a new vehicle, you can purchase and install parking sensors that will make your life a little easier – and less stressful.
Parking sensors usually activate when you shift your vehicle into reverse. They work by using sensors to measure sound waves. These sound waves help detect nearby objects. When you get too close to an object, the system will sound an alarm or flash lights to warn you that you’re close to hitting something.
Aftermarket parking sensors are incredibly affordable – less than $50.
Many of these sensor systems don’t require you to do any drilling or wiring, so they’re DIY-friendly. But just to be on the safe side, you may want to have a professional install it. You also need to make sure that you choose a system that’s compatible with your make and model vehicle.
After a long day at work, the last thing you want is to get into a car with an uncomfortable seat. Even vehicles with comfortable driver seats can become uncomfortable after being stuck in a traffic jam for an hour.
Now, you can turn your car into a mobile spa with seat massagers and heaters. Car seat heaters were first introduced in 1996 with the Cadillac DeVille. Today, most new vehicles offer this feature. The Ford F-150 even has seat cooling and massaging functions.
If your car didn’t come with these features, you can install them yourself. You can buy seat covers with heat settings for less than $50. More advanced cushion options offer cooling and massage functions.
Do you normally use your phone to listen to music? Most people use music streaming services to get their music fix, but if your vehicle doesn’t have Bluetooth connectivity built-in, you’re stuck scrolling through your phone to find your next tune.
And in most states, it’s illegal to do this while you’re driving.
Bluetooth connectivity allows you to sync your phone wirelessly to your sound system so that you can change your music or talk to callers over your car speakers.
If your car doesn’t have this functionality, you can replace your current stereo with one that’s Bluetooth equipped. And you can easily find a model that’s under $150.
Have you ever been bored to tears as a passenger on a long road trip? You could have been more productive – or at least had more fun – if you had Wi-Fi on your phone.
New vehicles now come equipped with Wi-Fi hotspots, so you can connect anytime, anywhere. But what if you don’t want to buy a new car?
You can still get Wi-Fi by turning your phone into a wireless hotspot. There are also Wi-Fi adapters and mobile dongles that you can plug in to turn your car into a veritable hotspot.
New technology is making our cars more advanced and smarter than ever before. But you don’t have to spend a small fortune on a new vehicle just to enjoy these advancements. Many of these technologies are available as affordable, after-market systems that you can easily install yourself or with the help of a friend.
For more complicated systems, like those that require drilling and wiring, we recommend hiring a professional to get the job done right.
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