1. Getting new leather upholstery
These days, leather upholstery is no longer only found on the most expensive luxury cars. In addition to making any car interior instantly look and feel more luxurious, leather seats don’t smell musty or wear out the way typical fabric seats do. That is because leather being an organic product can be conditioned and nourished back to its original condition even years after they’ve been installed. Unlike vinyl or PVC upholstery, leather seats never get as hot when you step into a car that’s been parked in the sun.
2. Adding a window tint
As Singapore lies within the tropics and just a few kilometres away from the equator, the sun and its damaging ultra violet rays beats down on us every day of the year. One very effective way of easing the load on your car’s air conditioner and also protect the upholstery, which can get bleached out by constant exposure to the sun, is to install a window tinting film. Brands like V-Kool and Huper Optik are the most established brands.
3. Going for a car grooming package
Car-grooming professionals take the pain out of washing, waxing and polishing the exterior and interior of your car. It gives you more time to enjoy your weekends instead of getting soapy hands and tired arms. There are normally many different grooming packages available and prices may range from around $30 to the thousands. Some of the more popular automotive grooming companies in Singapore are Autoglym, Amazing Glaze and Glare.
4. Modify the suspension
Does your car feel like it’s ‘floating’ at expressway speeds or when cornering on undulating roads? Chances are, the shock absorbers are worn out and need to be replaced. If you drive a popular model, there may be many brands that offer suspension systems that are suitable for your car. Not only will your car ride more comfortably, the better handling responses also mean that your car be able to react quicker if an emergency arises. Some drivers prefer a lowered, sportier stance for their car. To do this, always replace the existing springs with lower and stiffer items. NEVER, EVER have your existing springs cut to a shorter length as your car will ‘bottom out’ easily over speed bumps or road irregularities and can cause irreparable damage. While some drivers claim that a lower, stiffer suspension improves a car’s handling, a less comfortable ride is almost always a resultant side-effect. Be sure however, to check with the workshop that the suspension upgrade is in compliance with the LTA’s guidelines.
5. Upgrading the sound system
Music playback or news reports can be more clearly heard by simply upgrading your speakers as these make the most apparent difference to any sound system.
If your car’s speakers are more than four years old or if they are exposed to heat for prolonged periods, the paper cones found in most speakers can become brittle and not flex sufficiently during dynamic playback. A more powerful amplifier can also bring out the best from your speakers when it comes to producing bass notes you can feel as well as hear.
6. Getting a new exhaust
You can get more horsepower out of your car from installing aftermarket high-performance exhaust system. Due to the improved flow of the exhaust gases, your car will operate more efficiently. However, expect a louder exhaust note and since there are some regulations about aftermarket exhaust system in Singapore first check with the installer if the item is LTA (Land Transport Authority) approved before buying.
7. Getting a new steering, gearlever and pedals
The steering wheel, gearlever and pedals are all parts of a car that one actually touch, and to further enhance the tactile experience of driving, one can have the steering and gearlever wrapped in leather, and drilled aluminium pedals for better grip. For a really sporty feel, the Italian company Momo, which supplies Ferrari with steering wheels and gear knobs, offers an excellent range as aftermarket equipment.
8. Fitting an air conditioner filter
While some car manufacturers have installed high-qualilty air filters to absorb odours and particles in their new models, those with older cars are left breathing fumes and exhausts from other road users. Well, this no longer need be the case as Cairefresh has developed an aftermarket air filter for airconditioners. Containing an electrostatically-charged polypropylene fibre, this filter inhibits fungi and mould growth as neutralising exhaust odours. This is available from most auto accessory outlets.
9. Fitting a DVD player
“Are we there yet?” is something you’ll never need to hear again when taking the family for a long drive. In-car entertainment systems capable of playing DVDs these days are extremely sophisticated with features like Dolby Digital or DTS surround sound capabilities. Best of all, the existing multi-speaker set-up in most cars is usually sufficient for surround sound. Take this a step further by adding a subwoofer speaker and the improvement to the sound quality of your movies can be surprisingly dramatic.The conventional head unit that plays CDs or cassettes and radio broadcasts in the car can be swapped for one that plays DVDs without sacrificing the other functions we’ve come to expect from a car hi-fi. Most of these players also come with a 7-inch screen that electrically folds out of the way when not in use.
For rear passengers however, a larger, ceiling-mounted extra screen or even individual screens for those seated behind, is essential for viewing movies without craning their necks to the front.
10. High performance tyres
For instant performance enhancement, the easiest thing to upgrade on your car are perhaps the tyres. Depending on the existing rubber on your car, fitting ultra high-performance tyres such as the Bridgestone S0-3, Continental CSC 2 or Pirelli P-Zero should improve the car’s handling noticeably. The downsides from these tyres are usually firmer and noisier ride.
11. Fitting more economical tyres
If you are really keen to get the best mileage from your tank of petrol, in addition to being light footed on the accelerator, another effective fuel saving device is to install low-rolling resistance tyres. The brands like Michelin, Pirelli and Yokohama have eco-tyres that have firmer sidewalls so that they roll with less resistance, and thus consume less fuel.
12. Installing a navigation system
If you are constantly thumbing through your street directory because of a bad sense of direction, what might be useful is installing a GPS and CD-Rom based navigation system. On top of displaying a map, most models will even give voice instructions to get to the destination, allowing one to fully concentrate on the driving. On top of this, most sets have flat LCD screens, displaying a map of the local area, that fit into a regular DIN-sized radio compartment.
13. Buying a new set of wheels
Changing to a new set of wheels not only improves how your car looks, but it may also enhance performance. Larger diameter rims certainly make your car look sportier and lighter wheels boost your car’s handling and acceleration, while wider ones allow wider tyres for better high-speed stability if you are a sporty driver.
14. Getting white light bulbs
The headlamps of many new cars today sport a whiter and seemingly brighter spread of light thanks to the use of High Intensity Discharge (HID) technology. If your car has not been homologated with such headlamps which are known as ‘Xenon’ headlamps, it would be illegal to change to the latter. The next best thing however, is to replace the existing halogen lamps with those that emit a ‘whiter’ light. Make sure however, that the wattage is the same
15. Re-painting it
If you have tried polishing and waxing, but your car still looks like a scrap metal on four wheels, then maybe it’s time to repaint it. Re-spraying not only revitalizes the colour of your car (you can always go for a different colour), but the new coat of gloss also gives it a shiny finish, making it look like it just got out of the showroom.