An increasing number of car manufacturers are offering new car buyers the option of upgrading and customising their new vehicles with add-ons prior to purchase.
These range from custom paint jobs to bigger engines and different levels of interior trim. While some of these add-ons are gimmicky and can actually lower the resale value of your vehicle, others can improve the safety and performance of your car relatively inexpensively. Many of these same add-ons are considerably more expensive to add to your car once you’ve driven it out the dealership.
Here’s our pick of the seven add-ons that belong in your new car.
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1. Built-in tyre pressure gauge
Your tyres are amongst the most important parts on your car, and maintaining the correct tyre pressure can improve your safety, extend the lifespan of your tyres and reduce your fuel consumption. A built-in tyre gauge takes the guesswork out of determining when there are issues with your tyres. An onboard computer will alert you as soon as soon as your tyre pressure falls outside manufacturer specifications, prompting you to re-pressurize them as soon as this is required and allowing you to identify and fix punctures and other tyre problems promptly.
2. Rear-view mirror dimmer
You’re almost twice as likely to be involved in a serious accident at night as your are during the day. This is due partly to reduced visibility at night, which can be exacerbated by inconsiderate drivers who do not lower their headlights when they encounter other vehicles. A rear-view mirror dimmer will ensure your vision and concentration are not affected by the headlights of vehicles behind you, improving your safety while driving at night.
3. White paint job
There are two good reasons to order your car with a white or light colour scheme. The first is that white cars retain their value better than any other car colour. Because it is neutral, far more people will be willing to buy a used white car than a car of another colour. Another reason to stick with white paint is that it improves your car’s visibility in all light conditions. Red cars, for example, are less visible than white cars in all light conditions and much harder to see in the dark.
4. Folding exterior mirrors
The majority of minor accidents happen in parking lots, and if you’re wondering which part of your car is most vulnerable, it’s your sideview mirrors. These are exposed not just to other drivers but to pedestrian traffic in parking lots. Exterior mirrors are also annoyingly expensive to respray or replace. Fortunately many car manufacturers allow you the option of installing folding mirrors on your car, which take your mirrors out of harm’s way once you have parked your car.
5. Cruise control system
Cruise control systems are optional extras on many mid-range cars. If you’re going to be doing a lot of open road driving, one of these systems is a must-have. It will make long distance journeys easier and more pleasant, reduce your fuel consumption and prevent you from getting hit with a big fine if you accidentally go a few km/h over the speed limit.
6. Rear parking aid
A rear parking aid is an inexpensive way to reduce the risk of damage to the rear of your car while reversing. These systems alert you to an impending collision with any object behind you, and can radically reduce your probability of sustaining accidental damage while reversing. Most of these systems cost less than a trip to a panel beater’s, so add one now to keep your rear bumper in mint condition.
7. Telematics tracking system
Telematics systems track the way you drive and are able to send important information about your driving and car position to third parties, like insurers. In the past most telematics devices were fairly pricey units that added no resale value to your car and had a reputation for being buggy. Today you can simply install a telematics app on your smartphone and enjoy many of the same functions and benefits free of charge.