You bought a “new-to-you” used car, and it’s…OK. It was good for the price. It was a model you wanted for various reasons like reliability or safety. But maybe it’s a little bland. You might even say boring.
Then it’s time to pimp your ride. There’s no reason to drive around a mom-mobile when you can trick out almost any car with mods and after-market gadgets to create a truly dope custom ride.
Before making any changes, create a plan for the overall look of the final product. You’ve seen people whose clothes are a hideous mash-up of individual pieces they love but don’t really go together. Don’t make the car version of that.
Figure out how each modification will affect others and consider whether everything you want will actually fit on the car you have. Then take your ideas to an auto expert before buying anything.
While you’re doing that, gauge your car model’s modding potential. Some are easier to trick out than others. You can probably find ready-made mods for newer cars. Older cars may require more custom building or lengthy modifications.
Will any of your mods impact your insurance? If your insurance premiums go up, modifying your car may become cost prohibitive. Ask your insurance agent about any changes you are considering. Another deal-breaker could be learning a particular mod is not street legal. Several years ago it was becoming fashionable to place neon lights beneath the undercarriage of your car. Most police departments determined these designs to be distracting to other drivers and the trend died.
Check local regulations before doing anything.
Will your car still be safe to drive once the mods are complete? Some changes can cause handling issues or limit a car’s function. One example of a popular modification that can affect safety and operation is “hellaflushing.”
Finally, think about how the pimped ride will look and sound to others. Some mods may get you laughed at by your peers. Others may cause people to call the cops because your muffler doesn’t muffle or you put out enough smoke to hide a platoon.
OK, enough about that. Let’s get to the good stuff.
Pimping the Exterior
Painting and pinstriping are two easy ways to make your car stand out from the crowd. A used car may not be bright and shiny anymore, or the color may be out of style. You can DIY the paint job or get a more intense look from a mod shop. When it comes to pinstriping, let a professional handle it. Pinstripes enhance the lines of the auto body.
Another simple modification is replacing the car’s stock headlights for projector headlamps housed in chrome or black. The beam is more powerful, shining farther and brighter. Add LED taillights, and your car makes others sit up and take notice. Xenon high-intensity discharge bulbs give off an icy-blue light that increases your visual pathway and makes you stand out from the crowd.
Your wheels have lots of potential.
- Get a spectacular set of chrome rims.
- Add chrome spinners to make the wheels dazzle.
- Select tires appropriate for the weather.
Keep in mind that changing the wheel size impacts alignment, braking, acceleration, handling and speedometer calibration.
Tinted windows are popular, not just for looks but for your comfort. Tinted windows can keep the interior cooler and provide privacy from those around you. Tinted auto glass also deflects UV rays from the sun and keep your upholstery from cracking and fading. Window tinting is another job better left to the professionals. Check for the degree of tinting that is legal in your area.
Wraps have become huge. You can advertise your business or create an exterior appearance of anything you want. The boldest statement is made by a chrome wrap. Chrome wrap is the best of the best and can make your car look way more expensive than it is.
Other exterior additions that add to the visual splendor are spoilers, new or enhanced emblems and grill inserts. Add front air dams or decide between radiator, roof, fender, hood scoop, and bumper skirts to create the final look.
Pimping the interior is more for your admiration and comfort, although you will get people peering inside when it’s parked.
The most noticeable change is a dash kit. Stock surfaces are usually molded plastic that warps and fades. Dashboard refinishing kits can create a wood grain or brushed aluminum appearance. You have your pick of colors, grains, and materials pre-cut to fit over the old dash.
Give your seats some love with new seat covers in high-quality vinyl, cloth, or leather. If you want to spend a little extra, manufacturers will personalize the covers with embroidered symbols. For more comfort on those long drives, install massagers, heaters, or gel cushioning. As long as you are doing that, have them reinforce the foam rubber, too.
Let’s talk interior lighting. Neon lights let others continue to admire your car after night falls. Neon lighting changes the atmosphere inside your vehicle and enhances the ambiance for passengers and driver alike. Pick an exotic look or go for a romantic or party vibe.
To cover up wear and tear, opt for custom floor mats to beautify the interior while protecting the floors from mud, stains, and spills. Also, they absorb moisture from your shoes so the interior won’t get that wet dog odor.
Pimping is not complete without adding the latest gadgets for the 21st-century driver.
- A GPS is key for those long trips to unfamiliar places. With a portable GPS, you can get less expensive updates as well as traffic reports in real time, news, and movie listings. But if you want to look James Bond cool, you need a heads-up display, which also keeps your eyes on the road.
- Upgrade your car stereo so you can plug in your iPod or MP3 player. You can take your entire music collection with you on the road. Many modern systems are also Bluetooth ready or offer satellite radio. Don’t forget to upgrade the speakers and add a subwoofer while you’re at it.
- Video screens are not for the driver, of course, but your kids or your sports-loving buddies will appreciate the view.
- If you go on lots of long trips, everyone will appreciate a travel fridge if you have room for it. Many come with both a warmer and a cooler so you can keep food fresh and your mocha latte hot.
- Finally, to keep all your devices charged while you’re on the road, get a Powercup Inverter. This gadget is a 200-watt inverter with two AC outlets and a USB power port so you can charge or run two household items and a USB item from your vehicle’s cup holder. How lit is that?
Caution: be considerate of others when thumping the subwoofer and keep your eyes on the road.
There is much more you can do to pimp your ride, but that's all the space we have right now. Tell us how you have pimped-out your used car in the comments.