There are a few automotive upgrades that are both functional and can be found for under $100. Our readers helped us find these ten best cheap upgrades that can improve your driving experience without ruining your credit.
This is Answers of the Day - where we take the best ten responses from the previous day's "Question Of The Day". It's by you and for you, the Jalopnik readers.
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Photo Credit: Beata Becia/ShutterStock
10.) Good Headlights
Suggested by: Mrb00st
Why It's an Upgrade: You can really tell the difference between the cheaper set of bulbs and high-end set of bulbs. Sure, it may cost almost twice the price, but you can beat the price for better visibility. Living in the city, it can be difficult to even realize that you need to turn your lights on, but there are no street lamps on the twisty, winding country roads. There's nothing like being able to see the apex (or the deer) that you're about to hit.
Photo Credit: Vincent J. Brown
9.) High Quality Windshield Wipers
Suggested by: boluke01
Why It's an Upgrade: Having a good set of wipers is integral for your daily driver. It takes less than a minute to replace a pair of wiper blades and you'll notice the difference between an old set and a new set once it begins to rain. It is often better to splurge and buy a set of winter blades for use year round. The rubber is harder and more durable to cope with the ice and snow of winter that some of us in colder climates see, but that doesn't mean they won't work anywhere else. Because winter wipers are so durable, they can operate normally without becoming tattered and creating streaks that limit your visibility.
Photo Credit: Eddie
8.) Tire Pressure Gauge
Suggested by: foxtick
Why It's an Upgrade: Do you carry a tire pressure gauge with you in your vehicle at all times? You should! You can't rely on your car's tire pressure monitoring system to tell you when you have low tire pressure, instead you must actively check for correct pressure. Usually a car will say what the tire pressure must be on a placard found inside the door sill. Having the correct tire pressure means that your tires will last longer, you will achieve better gas mileage, you will have a better ride, and the car will handle correctly. If tire pressures are extremely important in Formula 1 and other racing series, they are extremely important in daily driving as well.
Photo Credit: Tom Magliery
7.) Stainless Steel Brake Lines
Suggested by: Count von Spiegel
Why It's an Upgrade: Upgrading your rubber brake lines to stainless steel brake lines makes a pretty big impact on the way your car brakes. Rubber hoses deflect under hard braking and brakes feel mushy, but stainless steel brake lines are stiffer and maintain their shape better, therefore transferring the hydraulic fluid pressure to the brake cylinders. Sometimes the difference in brake pedal feel is negligible, but it's there and you can feel it nonetheless. Besides, stainless steel lines are more durable than rubber ones and the brakes breaking won't happen.
6.) Ceramic Brake Pads
Suggested by: GasGuzzler
Why It's an Upgrade: The advantages of ceramic brake pads are seemingly endless. Ceramic brakes are able to withstand higher temperatures better and there is much less fade in the braking. With ceramic pads much less brake dust is produced, there is less wear on pads and rotors, and there is less noise than conventional brakes. Now you don't have to worry about your brakes losing stopping power the more you use them.
Photo Credit: halserad
5.) Short-throw Shifter
Suggested by: Ash78, carrot cat food
Why It's an Upgrade: Do you know how many seconds you waste shifting gears? Some cars can shift gears in milliseconds thanks to semi-automatic gearboxes and tricky software. We gear-rowers must rely on shortening the length of travel of the gear lever for quick gear changes. Enter short-throw shifter. It can be a pretty cheap and simple installation and the result is a shortened travel of the hand and a decreased amount of time spent off the power. Depending on the track (or commute) you could reduce your lap times.
Photo Credit: Rob Schultz
4.) Repair Manual
Suggested by: Coreboy
Why It's an Upgrade: Your car comes with maintenance instructions, but it doesn't come with the instructions on how to fix what's broken. This is where the repair manual comes in handy. They can often be found at your local auto parts store or, nowadays, on the internet. They give you step by step instructions on how to perform repairs from replacing a wheel bearing to rebuilding your gearbox. Having a car in tip-top shape means that it goes faster and there are no worries about breaking something when pushing.
Photo Credit: Joe McKinney
3.) Synthetic Oil
Suggested by: Sheed's Bald Spot
Why It's an Upgrade: We've all seen the commercials on TV and we been told of the advantages of synthetic oil. It offers better viscosity at both low and high temperatures, there is no oxidation of the oil or creation of sludge, and it gives your engine a longer life. Basically, synthetics improve on conventional mineral oils and it's only slightly more expensive to opt for the synthetic option. However, if you happen to drive a performance vehicle with a rotary engine, it's not recommended you use synthetic oils.
Photo Credit: slworking2
2.) Wheel Alignment
Suggested by: SpikeJnz – Shomer Shabbos
Why It's an Upgrade: Now you're going to think I'm going to suggest aligning your wheels properly so that you reduce tire wear and improve fuel economy. You could do that; it would make your daily driver less expensive to run. But if you don't care about tire wear or fuel economy you can tell the guys doing your alignment to give you a certain amount of camber and toe. You should only do this if you know what you're doing, otherwise be prepared for an obscene amount of tire wear.
Photo Credit: RACINGMIX
1.) Autocross School
Suggested by: Jackie
Why It's an Upgrade: Nothing beats knowing how to get everything out of your car. Some say that it's extremely difficult to drive an Impreza WRX STI (it's an understeering pig) on the limit unless you're a pro or you know what you're doing. Just because you play Forza in your homemade cockpit doesn't mean you know what it's like to drive on the limit. A couple of hours with an instructor on a cone-covered course can work wonders. At the end of it all you'll be able to drive faster with more control and the same techniques apply both on and off the track.
Photo Credit: ProjectJenova