Money rants

Are aftermarket accessories for your vehicle worth it?

Aftermarket car accessoriesTHAT BLING THING


Maintaining your vehicle is just as important as maintaining your house, even if it’s with aftermarket parts rather than OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) parts.

For instance, the wheel nuts on our vehicle started to bulge and become distorted because corrosion had built up between the actual nut and the alloy coating on the outside.

The price for the new parts were $8+ each so I picked up aftermarket plain nuts for $1.25 each.

The vehicle now has new wheel nuts and they didn’t cost me the earth. Not only that but the vehicle still functions the same and it’s safe.

I’m an avid fan of maintaining what you have because it will last longer and cost you less in the long run.

In the last few weeks I have definitely noticed more and more people taking some time to give their vehicles a little TLC. We are no different, in fact our vehicle will be taken to the car wash place for a shampoo and blow dry too.

Not only is it getting cleaned inside and out to get rid of all the salt that has hit it over this particularly nasty winter period, but the tires will be swapped over as well. After I’ve swapped over the winter tires to all-season tires both vehicles will get a wax and buff.

Spending money on maintaining our vehicles is money well spent in our budget. Sure I could add all sorts of aftermarket accessories to my vehicle but with increases in prices in just about everything these days and building our retirement funds why bother.

Keep in mind most people have kids, mortgages, OSAP loans for school and other debts too. We’d rather enjoy our debt-free life than adding expensive aftermarket accessories on our vehicles that most people could care less about.


Aftermarket accessories


We only limit ourselves to aftermarket parts rather than aftermarket accessories, but for some that’s just the beginning. Car bling or adorning your car in aftermarket accessories seems to be getting more and more popular these days.

There seems to be this desire to personalize our vehicles and make them look what I can only describe as something they are not. I’m sure you’ve seen these cars roaming the streets especially this time of year with all the bling attached. What do I mean by aftermarket parts?

Aftermarket “soup cans” on the end of your exhaust pipe to make it sound louder is just one option. Alloy rims and low profile tires, rear spoilers, large entertainment systems, blue LED under lighting and the list goes on and on.

Certain people insist on writing cheques their cars can’t cash.

Last week I saw a very basic Honda that has a low powered 4 cylinder engine with expensive alloys and low profile tires that must have more value than the actual car. What a waste of money, especially when I’m sure it could be spent on something much more worthwhile.

Maybe this is my sign that I’m getting on in years but I’m failing to see the point of most aftermarket additions to vehicles lately. Certainly low profile tires have better handling capabilities on track cars but a four-cylinder Honda is not what you’d call track material.

The best of it was 90% of the other cars were passing because the vehicle was too slow. Maybe they should have spent the money on maintaining the engines performance which will likely get them much further. It’s like spending your money on landscaping when your roof is caving in.

These cars are what I like to call “all show and no go“.

The ever famous rear spoiler that stems from the late 70’s and early 80’s that people put on their vehicles always makes me chuckle. They have a front wheel drive car and place a spoiler on the rear. Now, instead of making the car go faster, they just made it go slower.

The whole point of a spoiler is to add down force to the drive wheels. But I suppose if you’ve got more money than sense then do you really need a point?


Pimp my ride


I can remember a number of years ago when I still lived in the UK, one of the residents in my local area had a Ford Orion (it’s a UK car). It was a normal looking factory standard car when he bought it.

Every weekend and spare moment was dedicated to the pursuit of pimping up his car with aftermarket items. He had a body kit installed on it to flare out the wheel arches, a large exhaust system, tinted windows, alloys with low profile tires, chrome and a whole host of other stuff including expensive coloured brake calipers.

The trouble was he spent so much time messing around with it without truly knowing what he was doing and actually managed to destroy his car. The car wouldn’t start to begin with, then he had other break down issues followed by a final engine failure.

If he had left the car as it was it would have been a reliable car that would have him to work and back for many years. If he had decided that it wasn’t the car for him he could have sold it and bought something different.

Not this guy, he lost the lot and the car insurance company isn’t going to pay out on a car you destroyed from messing around with it.

You also have to be careful when upgrading cars, if you have altered them up to a certain degree and you are involved in an accident the insurance companies will more than likely not pay out.

The reason being that they insured the original factory car you bought not the jazzed up aftermarket version you crashed. If you are planning to jazz up your vehicle you might want to talk to your insurance company to see what the rules are surrounding the upgrades.

If you are young and live at home and have absolutely no intention of leaving the bank of mum and dad any time soon then why not bling the car.

For everyone else, can you really afford all the aftermarket accessories and does it really make your car run any better?



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  1. We have a fibreglass cover over the truck bed, just the flat cover. It came with the truck when we bought it so I have no idea if it was after market or not. My Dad has a newer truck than we do and his brother is on him to add running boards to the truck but that is to make it easier for my Uncle to get into the truck. My Uncle has some mobility issues which is why he wants the running boards. I’d think about running boards if we got another truck but not for this one as the truck is getting on in years so it isn’t really worth it right now. I’d rather spend my money on maintaining the truck as long as possible.
    I think I might get the boys to give the truck a clean out soon as the weather is finally warming up.
    I’ve seen some of those pimped up 4 bangers…!! I worked with a guy years ago that drove what looked like an old beater car but there was a pretty good engine under the hood. Pity the smart alecks that dared him to a race off a light….. He left them behind without even trying…. I don’t get those kind of ‘offers’ much. I drive a late model truck and even the idiot brigade has the sense to realize there is a big 8 cylinder under the hood. Some of the newer trucks might have a 6 cylinder under the hood but I have an 8.
    Here in Ontario we have the ‘Blue Book’ values and this is what the insurance companies use to value your vehicle and you will have a very hard time convincing them your wheels are worth more then Blue Book value. Plus if you do anything that is not legal you are on your own. Wreck your vehicle by getting behind the wheel after drinking….drive around a road closed barrier… do something to your vehicle that isn’t street legal….You are out of luck and they will tell you that you were not covered for that….

  2. I don’t know if this counts as an accessory, but we put an HHO kit on our truck. We bought it online for about $500, the hubby installed it, and as a result, we get about 40% better gas mileage! Seriously, though, I try to stay away from accessories that are purely aesthetic.

    1. If you find you are getting a benefit from it such as better gas mileage then maybe it was money well spent depending on how old the vehicle is and if you will save enough to cover the cost of the part in the long run. I look long-term for some things but that’s just me but I agree with you.

  3. OMG, my high school boyfriend was like your UK neighbor! LOL, every weekend it was something new, anything to make his otherwise nice, normal, reliable car flashier, louder, and more ridiculous looking!
    I had no idea that it could actually end up voiding your insurance coverage! Makes sense though, in the end I bet the only thing that was still part of the original car they agreed to insure was the steering wheel:P

    1. Well, I’m not sure about in Canada that’s why I mention it’s best to always consult with your insurance company first. It doesn’t hurt to find out info before you spend money buying parts.

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