Buying a car, truck or SUV is a big investment. To protect that investment, most people make sure they keep up with the necessary maintenance and safety recalls, as well as getting sufficient insurance coverage.
However, there’s a lot more you can do to protect the investment in your car, to help it last longer and to improve performance, safety and even your enjoyment of the vehicle over the years you’ll be driving it. Here are some of the top aftermarket parts and accessories to consider upgrading for enhancing your vehicle’s performance, safety and longevity.
One of the best — and most cost-effective — ways to improve your vehicle’s safety is to be sure that your brakes are always in top condition. Whether you go all out for top upgrades like a high-quality brake pad setup and steel braided brake lines, or if you just invest in good quality performance brake pads, you’ll have more peace of mind if you know you’ve got the best stopping power that you can afford for your vehicle.
Because reliable tires are one of the most crucial elements for auto safety — especially since they are the only parts of a vehicle that touch the road — it’s a good idea to invest in high-quality tires that will not only last longer, but that provide consistently better handling in a variety of extreme weather conditions, from rain and wet roads to ice and snow. For example, Yokohama Tire’s latest all-season premium touring tire, the new AVID Ascend LX, is designed for passenger cars, minivans and crossovers, and offers superior wet traction, dependable winter traction and longer tread life, which is backed by an 85,000-mile limited tread life warranty. Top-notch tires will not only offer better safety for you and your passengers, but will also improve fuel efficiency and provide a quieter, smoother ride, no matter what the road conditions are.
3. Fog lights
Especially if you live in an area that experiences dense fog or heavy snowfall, or if you do a lot of driving at night or early in the morning, high-quality fog lights can really improve your safety and visibility. This is a must-have if you live in certain climates, or if you drive frequently in remote or rural areas. Aftermarket fog lights are available in a variety of sizes and shapes to suit a wide range of vehicles, so be sure you are selecting a fog light appropriate for your car or truck. This is one upgrade that’s easy to take care of yourself.
4. Spark plugs
If your vehicle is experiencing intermittent difficulty starting up or accelerating, or if you notice occasional misfires or feel your engine is idling roughly, replacing your spark plugs can make a big difference. Fuel economy can also be improved by replacing older spark plugs. You can choose between four different types of spark plugs — iridium core, copper core, platinum and double-platinum core. Your best bet when replacing spark plugs is to check your vehicle’s owner’s manual to be sure you’re choosing the best type for your particular car or truck.
5. Wiper blades
Especially if you live in an area that experiences weather extremes, finding the best quality all-weather or heavy-duty wiper blades can make your driving experience much safer, whatever the season. You also want to make sure that you change the wiper blades frequently to ensure they’re working effectively, usually every six months to a year. If you notice streaking or other issues with visibility, it's time to change them. It’s best to make sure that any wiper blades you get are the correct type and size for your vehicle's windshield.
Depending on your budget and specific concerns, choosing aftermarket parts or accessories to upgrade on your vehicle — even minor ones — will be likely to enhance your safety as well as the car’s performance over time. Prioritize what is the most important factor to you in choosing upgrades or enhancements that make sense for your vehicle.