Academic Magnet High School - North Charleston, South Carolina.


Academic Magnet High School - North Charleston, South Carolina.


Academic Magnet High School - North Charleston, South Carolina.


Vehicle Mods: A Quick Guide

A short but comprehensive review of some accessories to make your car or truck unique

Let’s say you just bought your first car. You’re excited, which you should be- you finally have your own vehicle to drive! But, you feel like you’re missing something. Your new car feels bare, basic, and boring. If you want an effective guide to give you an idea of what you can do to make your car uniquely yours, then look no further. From lift kits to a new stereo, the amount of customization you can do to your car or truck is endless.

Sound system: One of the best things about a vehicle is the radio. But not all cars come with the amazing sound provided by aftermarket items. Some of the best items you can purchase for a sound system are a new radio, subwoofer, speakers, or amp. The subwoofer can be one of the most challenging parts as there are many different sizes and types of subs you can purchase for your vehicle. Typically subs will come in a box that you can buy separately and you will need to wire into the radio, although some vehicles come with a built in subwoofer. Some of the best subwoofer brands are JL Audio, Skar, and Alpine. The speakers are really up to you, although you will need to make sure the speakers you want to install match the right size for your vehicle. If you buy speakers that are too big then it will be difficult to install and you might need to do some custom work on your doors to ensure the speakers fit. Some good speaker brands include JBL, Skar, Kenwood, and Pioneer. The most important thing when putting in any part of the sound system is ensuring the different parts are powerful enough for each other. For example, if you buy an aftermarket radio it is probably a good idea to invest in better speakers as the new radio will likely have more power than stock speakers can handle, which will lead to a blown out speaker. Ultimately, a better sound system is a very fun investment for a car, albeit a somewhat expensive one. It is worth it though if you enjoy jamming out on your everyday drives.

Brush Guard: This is more for the truck drivers out there, although some cars can do well with a brush guard, otherwise known as a ranch hand or grille guard. Adding an extra layer of protection to the front of your vehicle, a brush guard attaches to the front of your bumper as both a cosmetic upgrade and a layer of protection from debris. Brush guards are rather expensive, with the cheapest and simplest model going for a minimum of $120. The most expensive can go for over $500 depending on what kind of features come with it. Some models are simple and just cover the front bumper while others can come with headlight covers, light bar mounts, and even a spot for a winch to be added. Brush guards can be especially useful when driving in rural areas where deer are a constant danger for unsuspecting drivers. As someone who lives in an area where deer love to run across the road at night, I can say a brush guard is a great investment for anyone who wants to make sure their vehicle doesn’t run afoul of an animal in the road.

Lift Kit/Leveling Kit: Another item meant more for the truck owners, a lift kit is an item meant more for cosmetics than practicality.

Average lifted truck

A lift kit is pretty simple: it adds height to your vehicle. Lift kits range in prices and height, with total costs ranging anywhere from $400 to $12,000. Typically lift kits are installed more for cosmetic purposes but some vehicle owners install them for off roading, mudding, or for when their car might be a little too low to the ground. Leveling kits can also achieve the same goal as they are meant to balance out the front and back ends of a truck or SUV as most stock vehicles’ front ends are lower than the back ends, ultimately leading to further ground clearance. I would recommend anything from a 2 to 6 inch lift kit, although it is entirely up to the driver’s preference. As someone who has ridden in a truck with a 12 inch lift kit I can say it becomes very difficult to get into the cab and at that point it is just unnecessary for that much lift on any vehicle. Lift kits can also allow drivers to install bigger wheels on their vehicles as an extra cosmetic upgrade, although this will also cost more money for installation and the purchasing of new wheels.

An example of different types of headlights

Smaller upgrades: While there are numerous different modifications you can make to your vehicle, some of the best upgrades are the smaller ones. One of the better upgrades you can make on older cars is new headlights. Most of the newer cars come with standard LED headlights, but most cars that don’t come with LED headlights still use halogen bulbs. While these work well enough and are slightly cheaper than LEDs, the upgrade to LED headlights can be affordable and a good investment as they add visibility at night, last longer than halogen bulbs, and make better use of energy. LED lights can also add a more modern look to your vehicle and can be bought in nearly any auto parts store. Another cheaper investment for interiors are seat and steering wheel covers. This is an opportunity to truly make your vehicle unique as there are numerous options for you to protect your seats and steering wheel from wear and tear. Some of the best brands include Carhartt, WeatherTech, and CoverCraft. Another simple mod meant more for cosmetic purposes is window tint. This can be a little risky as you can tint windows yourself for much cheaper prices but it is much better to let a professional do it as it can turn out poorly if not done right. Meant to add privacy to your vehicle, tinted windows can block UV light from entering your car and keep your interior cooler when sitting in the hot sun for extended periods of time.

There are numerous other modifications and aftermarket items you can add to your vehicle, but these are some of the most beneficial mods you can add if you want to make your vehicle more unique. I hope this guide has helped and good luck with your customization journey!

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