Auto Parts and Accessories Guide: Performance, Style and Safety

No matter if you’ve got a new or old car, you’ll want anything that adds a little more oomph, increases the overall available space, and helps your car stand out from the rest. There are hundreds of automotive accessories that do just that. And the best part is, you don’t have to spend a fortune to get what you want and need. Going aftermarket is your best bet in getting a quality product that does the job without breaking the bank.  

Sorting through all the ranges of auto accessories on the market can soon become a headache. You’ll hear a lot of marketing hype. Some products are just too cheap to consider, while others are just plain expensive and not worth the effort. Always go for quality and value, and source your gear from local manufacturers and retailers where possible. 

Performance Accessories

You can add more horsepower and torque with a few simple additions. Most buyers will want an exhaust upgrade, and these free up more air for the engine, while also improving the efficiency. Aftermarket exhaust systems are wider and straighter, reduce airflow restrictions, and help with the longevity of the parts. The engine is less stressed, but will have more power going to the wheels. Something you can feel when you put your foot down.

For those who want a little more street presence, an exhaust system can also be tuned for a louder, growly sound. By adding an improved air intake or a snorkel for utes and 4WDs, you further improve engine efficiency and as a result provide that much more air in for combustion. Once these auto accessories are fitted, up and running, remember to do an ECU tune to balance everything out.

vehicle accessories

If you feel there’s some latency between the time you press on the accelerator pedal and the actual get up and go, then you’d might want to consider a throttle controller. These are small and inexpensive electronic devices that address throttle response issues. With a controller fitted, drivers get quicker feedback from the engine, and a faster vehicle from a standstill. This will also help in many driving situations. Acceleration is quicker, so there are no hassles when overtaking, or going up steep hills with the car fully loaded.

If you do a lot of off-roading, or have a modified car with more than a few upgrades, gauges help to maintain performance while not going overboard. These monitor how the turbo works by measuring the amount of boost and keeping oil pressure intact, to inform you about exhaust temperatures. The aim is to gauge the engine’s output before causing potential problems by pushing the car too hard. Other gauges measure coolant and water temperatures to avoid overheating, battery voltage in secondary batteries, and fuel levels in modified tanks.  

Functional and Space Increasing Accessories

Different driving conditions warrant the use for different functional vehicle accessories. One of the safest items you can add are aftermarket lights. Driving lights help increase visibility in poorly-lit areas, whether it’s the city or off-road. They provide substantially more light, and work nicely with the car’s high and low beams. If you’re constantly caught up in bad weather, or drive on unsealed roads oozing with dust and debris, then look to fog lights. And if you use your car or ute for work purposes, there’s a range of utility lights to get a better look at things.

The power drain by more electronic systems, as well as more lights, is solved with a secondary battery. These are indispensable for utes and come in handy when powering anything off-road or when camping. You won’t have to risk using your car battery, and later find it flat. Secondary batteries can also help here, by feeding enough power to get the car started if the main battery acts up.

Lead acid batteries are the cheapest option, but deep cycle Lithium-Ion ones are those recommended by most people, as they have more capacity, so last longer without the need for constant maintenance. You’ll also want a charger. Deep cycle chargers help with discharged batteries, have various safety features, and can be used with smart functions to extend battery life. Cheaper are trickle chargers that top up the battery when they notice a drop in capacity, but aren’t good in replacing charge in depleted batteries.

vehicle accessories and parts

Stores also stock a range of cheap accessories to better organise luggage and anything you carry. This includes boot liners, to help keep the boot clean, storage nets to safely transport bigger items, and things like seat pockets for fiddly things like phones and water bottles. In addition, collapsible drawers in different sizes help with better organisation, access and visibility.

All your gear is arranged and quick to find. If you need more storage space than what’s available in the cabin or boot, then get a roof rack. These are available in all sizes, and help you transport sports gear like bikes or surfboards safely, as well as building materials or larger tools like ladders if you drive a ute. Bear in mind your car’s roof loading and get a rack that suits.  

Safety, Style and Maintenance Accessories

auto accessories online

Short of a full body kit, there are affordable auto accessories that benefit your vehicle’s looks. This includes chrome door mirrors and handles on the exterior, seat covers to lighten up the interior, or complete seats that also offer more comfort and a better driving position. You can also swap out an old or musty steering wheel for a three-spoke aftermarket variant for more control.

When safety is a concern, look for replacement wheel nuts to keep thieves at bay, and have a car cover ready to keep the paint in prime condition and safe from hail or the hot Aussie sun. Stores that sell these items also regularly stock maintenance parts, like brake pads, coolant, spark plugs, oil, air and fuel filters that you’ll replace at the recommended intervals. 

Author: Michael Hobbs

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