We’re not all rich. In fact, most of us can’t afford to buy one Lamborghini Gallardo, Dodge Viper or Tesla’s new Model S.
But we love our cars. We give them names, we nurture them. We treat them as though they are part of our family. It doesn’t matter how old our cars are and we don’t care.
My own car is kind of an extension of my personality. And I don’t simply give away my personality and get a new one. That’s why I’m not going to sell my car. I’m just going to upgrade the one that I’ve got.
Yes, it’s old and clumsy and empties my pocket for fuel in no time, but I love it. That car is a part of some of the best memories of my life and it’s never going to be for sale. No way.
Still, it needs some update. Since I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on getting it done, I tried to find some cheap ways of bringing it to the 21st century.
Better the Tires – Better the Car
It doesn’t matter how many times you’ve heard it, but I’ll say it one more time. Your vehicle’s tires are its only link to the road’s surface. The best imaginable car with crappy set of tires is of little use to anyone. Then again, an ordinary car with great tires can sometimes do wonders. So if you want to upgrade your ride, first take a look at your tires.
Luckily enough, tire technology is getting better and better and it’s at all-time high. You shouldn’t have too much problem finding tires suitable for your car or truck. But, you’ll have to know what are you searching for. There are numerous considerations to be taken into account. To make it a bit easier for you, pay attention at these two things.
First of all, know your driving uses and needs. Get tires rated for the weather you deal with most. Certain tires come with features for specific weather conditions. Just make sure you and your salesman understand each other well in order to fulfill your requirements.
Second thing is finding trustful store or source for recommending the best possible choice of tires for your needs. A good salesman will ask you the right questions to come up with the right set of tires. Questions can be divided in 5 main categories:
- Thread life considerations
- Wet weather requirements
- Speed rating
- Ride quality and
So firstly you’ll have to know how long do you expect for your tires to last which means you’ll need to familiarize yourself to UTQG (Uniform Tire Quality Grading) rating – higher the grade, more life you will get from a tire. More about UTQG can be found on this link.
Next thing you have to pay attention to is regarding the prevailing weather conditions in the region you’re living in. While in states like Nevada you would need a standard tire, wet-weather tire is almost mandatory in rainy Washington.
Under the ideal conditions, speed rating indicates the safe top-speed of a tire. Although some speed ratings are higher than others, bear in mind that higher speed rating means shorter UTQG tread life.
Ride quality is all about compromise – lower tire profiles enable better handling but increase ride harshness and vice versa. You can get yourself some sporty 40-series profile tires and instead of being cool just end up being called stupid. And yes! Never, under any condition try to match and mix different tire profiles.
Noise can’t actually be that much of a problem, unless you’re driving on highway most of the time (especially when driving a SUV). Good salesperson will give you advice which tires are quieter than others and help you make the right choice.
Take Care of Your Cables!
While finding power source for your gadgets in car is not much of a problem, organizing them all could become quite a challenge. But, with a little money and some patience, you could make your driving to be a completely different experience.
Start with installing your smartphone dock on your central air vent. Since some of the cars’ air vents are not adapted for attaching smartphone docks, try installing it on a side of the cup holder. If that option doesn’t work for you either, feel free to experiment with other positions inside the car or purchase a smatphone dock that can be directly installed into cup holder.
Having more than two gadgets that need USB ports to charge, you’ll have to acquire an USB hub. Or, if you want to save some power, get one high-capacity battery with hub.
More cables you use for your gadgets, bigger the mess around you will be. We all know how entangled cables can go on our nerves, so probably the best solution is getting some retractable cables that could be stretched when needed and retracted when not in use. Other, less adequate means of organizing your cables is by using some masking or painter’s tape and positioning them somewhere around your smartphone dock.
How to Improve Your Handling Without a Mechanic
However old your car is, you should always welcome any improvement regarding its handling. Especially when it can be done with a relatively small investment and without professional help.
While almost all new cars come with installed sway bars, older ones usually come without them. Sway bar stiffens your vehicle chassis, improves your handling and makes cornering much easier. It is rather cheap and easily attainable piece of equipment. The procedure of installation differs little from one car to another and shouldn’t be much of a problem for you to do it yourself. You should be able to find instructions for your vehicle model on the Web without much hassle.
Whenever someone brings up shocks and struts, I’m imagining how driving would be a very uncomfortable experience. Although they do provide coziness, their primary objective is to provide more control over your vehicle. These two car parts tend to wear off depending on the mileage and harshness of use, so after 50,000 miles you should consider replacing them. You’ll instantly improve your braking and handling.
I suppose you’re probably not a mechanic so maybe you should let professionals do the replacement for you. On the other hand, if you are proficient enough to replace shocks and struts by yourself, you could save a considerable amount of money.
Straight into the 21st Century
To really bring your old vehicle to the 21st century, you’ll should buy a tablet in addition to your other inventory. With it, you could easily listen to your favorite music, play videos for your crew and what’s most important – GPS navigation application on a screen that is much larger than on the standard GPS-only device. What’s more, depending on the operating system your vehicle uses, you should choose an app that best suits your needs.
There’s a wide variety of tablets on today’s market, so I suggest taking some time on picking the right one. Their prices go from around $160 to $300 or more. Android provides more options than other platforms currently available for purchase. And more importantly, it’s cheaper while providing you more than satisfying performance.
So besides tablet, you’ll need some other stuff too – a tablet mount and a USB power cable. Mounting tablet isn’t that simple like installing smartphone dock and it requires more work. But it doesn’t need to be that complicated if you find the right mount, like this guy did. And if you really try hard, it doesn’t even need to be expensive.
Your tablet will come with one USB power cable that you’ll just have to plug in USB port, provided that you have one. Or if you have installed USB hub as I said before, you could charge several gadgets at the same time.
Having a tablet installed in your car you could really improve your driving experience. Still, it’s not something every driver should use. Some drivers tend to be inattentive while driving and get easily distracted. They represent danger to other drivers and to themselves. Therefore buying a tablet for your vehicle should be taken very seriously.
Maybe you have a crappy car. Maybe it looks ugly and you can’t brag about it among your friends. But if you can’t afford some new and better car or you just won’t part ways with your old companion, I suggest you consider some of the things advised in this article. First of all, you wouldn’t have to spend a ton of money to do all of them. And secondly you would realize how even a small modification of your car could improve your car’s performance and make your driving a much better experience.