When you shop around for a car, it is often tempting to shop for more than just the car, or getting bamboozled into a deal that results in you going home with more than you bargained (or budgeted!) for. That’s right, we’re talking about accessories.
Which accessories are good to have, are practical, or add value to your car? Rule #1 is to avoid spending more than you budgeted for by being blinded by those attractive accessories. Should you opt for any, ensure it adds real value to both your lifestyle and your car.
Not all accessories are ‘visual’. A nice set of wheels certainly looks good, but if you travel long distances on dirt roads, or have to traverse water regularly, is a protective coating and rustproofing of the the underside of your car not a better investment? And how about extended warranties and service plans, so you know you have future running costs covered?
FIT TO FIT
Fit add-ons that fit your car, your environment and lifestyle. If your car sleeps outside on the street, or you live in a high-crime area, add locking wheel nuts to those shiny mags. Or, add extra alarms and security devices, tint the windows with UV film to protect the interior of the car from damaging sunrays (and with the bonus of smash-and-grab protection), and Scotchguard the upholstery for easy cleaning and protection against abusive kids and pets.
SHOW, OR GO?
Snazzy wheels and tyres, discreet boot spoilers and chrome-tip exhausts add visual appeal, and add more ‘Show’ without any more ‘Go.’ If you opt for the engine-tuning route, be sure the value of your car falls through the floor. Tuned cars have extremely limited appeal in the second-hand market.
A tow bar is always a good – though sometimes pricey – option (hint: shop in the aftermarket for the best deals), and a set of tailor-made floor mats does wonders for the protection of interior floor areas. The latter is rather inexpensive and shows you care for the car. When you want to resell, invest in a new pair that will make the interior very attractive indeed, and you’ll easily get your money back.
TICK THE BOX
When buying a brand-new car, some extras are worth it, but ticking too many option boxes will soon add up to many thousands more than the initial asking price, and leave you with higher instalments. If you have the choice, add safety-critical items such as airbags, stability and traction control, and a full-size spare, as these are strong selling points when it comes to resale time. Stay away from air suspension and built-in navigation, for which you will not get the investment back, as the latter may well be dated by the time you resell and for which portable (and transferable from one car to another) alternatives are far more affordable and practical.