Do you have the need? The need for speed? Or perhaps you’re just lucky to keep your junker rolling, but really want your new iPhone to work with your car’s speakers. Regardless, upgrades are what you’re after. Upgrades can range from the smallest tweaks all the way up to major system upgrades — the upgrades on this list will help improve your vehicle’s performance, comfort, and functionality. Whether you’re an avid car enthusiast or a student just trying to make it to class on time, a few simple upgrades can really help you get the most out of your ride.

Performance upgrades


Add a steering wheel cover

Cheap, effortless to install, and sometimes fuzzy, a steering wheel cover can add the flair your car’s interior needs. They come in a wide variety of sizes, colors, and can even be made to represent your favorite sports team or any other aspect of your personality. Steering wheel covers can also create a more comfortable driving experience: cooler to the touch in the summer, warmer in the winter, and most of the time more grippy than your original steering wheel.

Add a dashboard cover

Dashboard looking a bit ramshackle? Just looking to mix it up? Adding a dashboard cover is an easy way to spice up your car’s interior.

Add a phone mount

Phone mounts are an inexpensive and convenient way to keep your phone out of your hands, but still within your line of sight when you need to use your GPS.

Add a USB charger

You probably already have this. If you don’t, then you probably have a dead phone. USB chargers let you use GPS to your heart’s content, keep game consoles charged, and keep kids happy.

Add a USB Bluetooth adapter

If you find yourself in the unfortunate scenario where your car is significantly older than your phone, then you may need an adapter to use your Bluetooth. You can find a variety of them on Amazon.

Buy a trunk organizer

If you, like most people, often find yourself with groceries or miscellaneous luggage rolling around in your trunk, a trunk organizer can be a complete game changer. Collapsible and reasonably priced, these organizers keep your groceries in-line, the items that live in your trunk sorted, and usually provide handles for transporting it all inside.

Install seat covers

Working both for a premium vehicle and a junker, a seat cover can really bring your interior to life. Seat covers add comfort and style to the interior of your vehicle. Some are designed with protection in mind, meant to be removed and washed in the case of a spill, while others are made of premium luxury material and made for comfort.

Replace your floor mats

If you have an older vehicle, replacing your shoddy floor mats will make your ride feel fresh again. Conversely, if you have a vehicle that you want to protect, getting rubberized floor mats is a good way to protect the floors of your ride.


Cold air intake

Cold air intakes can offer a small bump in performance. They help generate more airflow to your engine by feeding it cooler condensed air. The performance bump includes a boost in horsepower and fuel efficiency.

Add a turbo charger

A turbo charger does exactly what it sounds like it does — produces more power. Turbo chargers are more efficient than superchargers, allowing your car to burn more fuel each second, and can improve fuel economy.

Repair those scratches

If your paint job has a scratch on it, don’t just leave it there! The elements can damage your car’s body and cause rust under the paint. Paint pens come in most factory colors and are great for quick touch ups.

Replace your hubcaps

Replacing your hubcaps can be as simple as replacing a broken down or missing cap, or getting some hot spinners installed. They can be a flashy style statement, or just a way to protect the inner workings of your wheel.

Safety upgrades

Install a backup camera

This is one of those upgrades that becomes more useful the larger your vehicle is, or more useful the worse you are at backing up. You can find backup cameras starting as low as $50.

Install a dash cam

The best reason to own a dash cam is peace of mind. If you’re in an accident, dash cam footage can be used as evidence. That, coupled with good driving habits, will keep you secured for any “he said, she said” post-accident situations. You can find dash cams starting as low as $40 online.

Replace your tires

Whether it is because your treads are low or you need different tires to match the weather, replacing your tires is never a bad idea. Remember, treads exist for a reason — both to grip the road and help prevent hydroplaning; be fastidious and make sure to check your tires on the regular.

Upgrade your brakes

The most important feature a car can offer is the ability to stop it before it becomes a threat to you or others on the road. Stopping more effectively prepares you for the unknowns of the road. This can range from simply buying better brake pads to upgrading the entire system. No matter your choice, updating and upgrading your brakes components is always a solid safety decision.

Luxury upgrades

Massaging seats

On long drives when muscles tense, a massage might be exactly what you need. Massaging seats help you stay alert and present for road trips where you otherwise might start to nod off.

Heated seats

On cold days, there are few things more satisfying than sitting on heated seats. And, it can complement your seat massage.

Remote car starter

One of the few things more satisfying than sitting on heated seats on a cold day is getting into a preheated, pre-started car. A remote starter kit lets you start up and heat your car without ever leaving your home. It also lets you start melting the snow off your car while still in the warmth of your own home.

Are there any cons to upgrading your car?

Well, the obvious con is that more upgrades means less money in your pocket. If you’re stone cold broke, upgrades can wait. If you’re thinking of upgrading your ride, the one thing you should consider before you do is how much utility you’ll gain out of this upgrade. This list contains many practical upgrades that make life much easier, but if your car is only going to last another 6 months it might be worth waiting until you buy a new car.

The best upgrade: upgrading your driving

Driving more responsibly

Upgrading your driving is something that you can do even if you’re broke. You can learn to modify your following distance properly adjusted for speed, avoid sudden changes in speed, and drive when fewer cars are on the road.

Using a telematics app

Telematics help track everything from your car’s position on GPS, to how fast you’re braking, to what time of day you’re on the road. Many telematics apps serve dual purpose — first, they serve the consumer by providing real-time feedback on their driving. This is useful for new drivers as it provides feedback that will create better drivers.

Telematics can also be useful in saving you money. Insurance companies like Elephant Insurance have telematics programs that offer more savings the better you drive. The app records your driving habits and the insurance company is able to adjust your rate to reward good driving.

Upgrading a car can be anything from a minor/major expense to adjusting your driving habits with the help of telematics. From fixing a scratch in your paint to avoid rust to installing a new cold air intake system to boost horsepower. Whether big or small, an upgrade can make all the difference.

While you’re shopping for your car, take the time to shop for car insurance. Get a quote with Elephant today.

Article last updated on June 25th, 2023 at 7:19 pm