Budget Friendly Ways to Upgrade Your Car

By Angela Monroe - July 2, 2020

Budget Friendly Ways to Upgrade Your Car

Modifying cars can be massive money. Suspension, rims, body kits, ECU, exhausts, turbos and rebuilds. Add dyno tuning and insurance, it really gets expensive. However, there are ways to significantly minimise costs.

In this article, we list some simple upgrades that won’t cost you the price of another car.


Car wheels on blue car

Changing the wheels is one of the first ways to upgrade your car. Most people choose a set as soon as they buy a car. They of course can be very expensive. Often, there are cheaper options available that you may not realise. For example, car models often come out in different trim levels. A higher trim level’s wheels may be a good option from a wrecker or private sale on GumTree for example. 

Other ways to upgrade your car wheels include secondhand options from retailers. There may be a few scrapes or scratches but the prices will be far lower than new versions. Furthermore, selecting the same wheel size as your current ones will allow for a simple tyre swap rather than have to purchase another set of tyres as well.

Reverse Camera

Reverse Camera on benz

Most modern cars come with reverse cameras – in fact, they are now mandatory in the US. If your car doesn’t have one year, this is one of the easiest ways to upgrade your car. Simple reverse cameras attach to the rear of your car and connect via Bluetooth to a screen attached to your dashboard or windscreen. Some are battery-operated, which removes the need for wiring too.


car with low suspension

It seems so many drivers aren’t happy with their suspension. They either want to go lower or higher, depending on their vehicle.

Going lower:

Firstly, beware of state regulations and safety. A popular (and expensive) option is adjustable coil overs. These allow for multiple adjustments and replace factory springs and shock absorbers. A cheaper option is simply replacing the springs. King Springs, for example, offers lowered springs for most makes and models.

Going higher:

Popular for off-road vehicles, giving a higher ground clearance allows for more off-road ability. Again, make sure you’re legal by talking to an expert before changing the suspension. Lift kits are available but do some research as they can be expensive.



infotainment system

Most modern cars come with excellent, high-quality infotainment systems. They have Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and multiple premium speakers that deliver quality audio. If your car doesn’t have this kind of system, you can easily get an upgrade. 

Even adding a pair of speakers and a simple head unit (the ‘radio’ part that fits into your centre console) will make a huge difference. Almost all versions come with Bluetooth so you’ll be able to connect a smartphone. It can really make your work commute more enjoyable.

Fuel Economy

adding fuel to car

Did you know that higher octane fuel offers significantly improved fuel economy and a cleaner burn? ‘Cleaner’ meaning that when it ignites in your engine, less is needed to give the same ‘bang’ as regular unleaded – 91 octane. Some higher-quality fuels like BP Ultimate also contain additives that help clean a car’s fuel system.

Check with your mechanic and owner’s manual to make sure it’s safe. If so, try adding a little 95 or 98 octane fuel. You may find an increase in fuel economy and performance.

End of the Day

mini cooper with balloons

Upgrading and modifying your car can really make it nicer to drive and stand out from the crowd. It makes sense why Australia has such a huge hunger for vehicle parts and accessories.

Always make sure to read your owner’s manual before carrying out modifications. Lost it? Don’t worry, it’s likely available online. Furthermore, check with your state’s regulations and make sure the modifications are legal. Police can defect illegally modified cars which can result in ‘un-modifying’ costs or losing the ability to drive on public roads.

Angela Monroe
Angela Monroe is the Community Manager at The Positive Group, specialising in giving people the information that they need when they need it, and putting you on the path to a fair financial future. She has 8 years of experience in helping Australians find the right finance solutions, and regularly contributes articles to empower Australians with the knowledge they need to become financially healthy.


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