Sure, your old car may have been around back when Apple was producing large beige boxes that took floppy disks, but that doesn't mean it's anything less than fully capable of being a wonderful and luxurious ride that's as comfy as a modern luxury car, and with many of the same high tech features, too. Each one of these eight updates is under a grand, and each one would go a long way towards bringing your car into the 21st century.
Upgrade your tech with Apple CarPlay
Price: Starting at $500
Apple CarPlay replaces your car’s stereo, and it’s a great way to add features like Bluetooth connectivity, streaming music, and navigation to your car, and you can get it for under $500. That leaves plenty of money to upgrade the rest of your car’s audio system at the same time.
Give it a new look with a custom vinyl wrap
Price: Starting at $500, depending on the size of your car
Nothing is more detrimental to your car’s appearance than an old paint job that’s so poorly maintained it might as well be named Oxidation Brown. A good paint job will cost you several grand, but if you’re willing to spend a weekend in your garage, you can get everything you need to wrap your car in top-notch vinyl for well under a grand.
The best part is that vinyls come in roughy three zillion different colors, finishes, and even textures, so the ultimate look of your car is entirely up to you.
Stay safe with a collision avoidance system
Cost of system: $850
You don’t have to have a brand-new car to have the latest accident avoidance warning systems. The Mobileye-560 has everything from lane departure alerts to pedestrian detection, and is made by a company that designs these systems for auto manufacturers.
Upgrade your seats
Price: Starting at $700 per pair
Your seats should not only be comfy on long trips, they should hold you in place while you’re driving. You probably don’t even realize how much you perpetually readjust yourself on every single journey, which causes fatigue. Seats run the gamut from a couple hundred to several thousand each but if you shop around, you can find some really nice additions to your car for well under $1,000.
Make your car whisper quiet with sound deadening material
Price: Starting at $200
Sound deadening material comes as a very heavy, dense mat that you put on the floor, underneath the carpet, under the roof, and on the doors. It’ll not only help keep your car as quiet as a brand new Mercedes, it will help regulate temperature, too.
Clean up your interior with new carpet
Price: Starting at $300
Fact: if your car is getting up there in age, the amount of dust, dirt, dead skin, mucus -- and other things you probably don’t want to think about -- that’s lodged in your carpet is worthy of hazmat gear. Fresh carpet isn’t just nicer to look at and feel, it can give you a sense of peace, knowing you don’t immediately need a shower the moment you’re out of your car. You can take it to an auto trim specialist to get the job done, or you can buy the carpet yourself and do it in an afternoon. It's incredibly easy if you can turn a wrench and pull your seats, and you'll save a couple hundred bucks in the process.
Improve the feel of your ride with new shocks
Price: Varies by car, but expect to pay at least $600 for something good
Shocks are often overlooked in pursuit of bettering your car, unless the end-game is performance, but in truth a good set of shocks can absolutely transform your ride -- that’s why they’re called shock absorbers. Depending on what car you drive, expect to spend a few hundred on a really good set, either online or at your local parts store. If you're uncomfortable changing these out on your own, a good shop shouldn't take too long to do it, and you'll notice a huge difference.
Get rid of squeaks and ride smoother with new bushings
Price: Varies greatly, but starts around $50, and runs into the hundreds
It sounds boring, but if your car is getting up there in age, worn bushings -- which serve to mute the vibrations coming from the engine, transmission, and the car’s interaction with the road -- won’t do their job properly. Assuming everything else is in good condition, some fresh bushings can make your car feel like new again. For the most part, you'll want to have your mechanic do these, though, so keep labor costs in mind when you're determining how extensive you want to go.