Older cars don’t offer the same amenities that newer models do. It seems like every time you see a car commercial, there’s some newfangled tech or gear innovation that you drool over. However, until you have to buy a new car, there are still ways to get the same high-tech features you crave.
Looking for ways to improve an older car and bring it up to speed, so to speak? Here’s how to upgrade your old car with new tech, adding safety features, creature comforts, and more.
Install a Car Phone Mount
Are you constantly needing your phone to check for directions? If you are not yet driving safely and hands-free, a car phone mount should be your top priority. However, there are many more modern car phone mounts than those that clip onto the air vents.
Today, you can find mounts for your phone, tablet, and more to add to the dashboard or even a headrest. Also, when you install something like a MagSafe car charger, the phone snaps securely into place while charging your phone simultaneously through the drive.
Add a Dashboard Camera
Dashcams can record video and store hours of footage on an SD card, which can be downloaded if needed. Even if you are a smart driver who’s never had an accident, a dash cam can come in handy. Install one on your car dashboard or window to monitor other drivers — even your teenager with a brand-new driver’s license.
With a smart dashcam, you can keep track of where they go with your borrowed car, syncing live footage to an app automatically. Dashcams are also used as evidence to dispute accidents and tickets, proving that you were not at fault. It can make its money back simply by preventing raised insurance premiums. But you can also choose a high-end dash cam for video surveillance as well.
Install a Backup Camera
Backup cameras offer another new tech safety feature for your old car. While backup cameras have become standard in many new cars and trucks since 2018, when they were made mandatory, it doesn’t mean your older model will have one.
A backup camera is beneficial in taller vehicles like pickup trucks and SUVs, showing a blind spot under the rear tailgate. Backup cameras are not only great at showing blind spots but also in helping you park or backing out of a parking space in a busy parking lot. Luckily, you can install a backup camera to an older vehicle, connecting it wirelessly.
Charge Major Electronics with a Power Inverter
Need to charge a laptop or other home devices in the car? Make sure to get a power inverter! Your car battery’s DC voltage must be inverted into AC before you can use electronics on the road. Otherwise, your car’s battery could die. So if you are someone who spends lots of time on the road, camping, transporting goods, or traveling for business, a power inverter is a must-have upgrade.
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Add a Blind Spot Warning Sensor
A blind-spot warning sensor and cross-traffic alert are two radar devices that can improve car safety. These two radar sensors are an excellent upgrade for older cars and are often bundled together in aftermarket kits. Essentially, these devices will warn you if another vehicle is in your blind spot as you change lanes.
This is something that rear backup cameras simply don’t do well, which is why these devices were created. However, installing a blind-spot warning sensor does require the help of an electronics expert.
Along with many cars, upgrades are Bluetooth-enabled devices and accessories. Bluetooth allows a more hands-free driving experience, which keeps you and other passengers safe. With the existing sound system, you can use voice commands to make a call without touching your phone and even receive phone calls, too. All you need is a basic plug-and-play Bluetooth connection device that connects to your auxiliary power outlet or the audio input jack.
Project Car Info with a Head-Up Display
If you have an older vehicle that displays the gauges a little lower than you’d like, a head-up display can correct your line of sight. By installing a head-up display, you can project vital info like the speed, odometer, and fuel gauge directly in front of you on a small screen. A head-up display simply plugs into the car’s computer connection located beneath the steering wheel with a wire leading to the dash’s display unit.
Replace the Head Unit for Better Apps
Replacing the head unit of your vehicle can give it a significant upgrade. If it’s not yet touchscreen, it’s time to update it with some new tech. Of course, swapping the head unit out requires the work of a professional, but it offers lots of perks and amenities that can bring some creature comforts to your car. For example, a newly updated head unit can provide access to your favorite music and driving apps, along with voice activation to offer a hands-free driving experience that keeps you focused on the road ahead.
Relax and Warm Up with Massaging and Heated Seats
Make your cold morning commute more comfortable with heated seats. Even better if they offer a massage! Simply choose a massage or heated seat that is designed to be compatible with the make and model of your vehicle. Most heated seats can be put into place and plugged into the car’s power source, making installation a breeze. However, you can also find variations that must be installed by a professional mechanic or your dealer. Do your research and be honest about how much effort you want to go through for heated seats.