10 cool accessories to pick for your new car

Everybody likes a bit of personalization in their cars. And that’s why car accessories exist, to add that personal touch. Here are some cool accessories that you can pick out for your brand new car.

The thing with selecting car accessories though is that there is such a vast selection available. All car dealers have an accessories section, from which they sell either company branded or aftermarket accessories.

Most dealers though will threaten to refuse warranty coverage if accessories are installed from elsewhere – just so that they can get more business out of the customer. Accessories bought at dealer premises are usually about 20% more expensive than the same thing bought elsewhere. But for some accessories it is better to get them installed at the dealer itself, as they would require intricate electrical connections, which if done elsewhere can compromise the car’s warranty.

Here’s a look at 10 accessories you can get for your car.

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Floor mats

Floor mats come in two types – either fabric or rubber or a combination of both. You also get moulded floor mats that are specific to the shape of the floor of your car. These moulded floor mats look good and are much more durable then the generic, one-size fits all mats. Floor mats need not be bought at the dealership. You can get a cheaper and wider range in aftermarket accessory shops, including mats with the car’s brand name engraved in them.

Door sill scuff plates

Surprisingly not all carmakers offer door sill scuff plates as standard fitment. These are very useful accessories to have that will prevent the painted area of the door frame from getting scratched by people’s shoes, while getting in and out of the car. These days these door sill scuff plates come with the car’s branding on them, and some of them are illuminated as well – which look pretty cool at night. These scuff plates are cheaper outside than at the dealer. However, if you are buying the illuminated variety, it would be better to fit them at the dealership – because it needs electrical connections to the door lamp switch.

GPS Navigation device

Not all cars come with GPS navigation in-built. If the car you are buying already has one, then skip this accessory. Otherwise, it is a useful gizmo to have in the car, especially if you are the kind of person who travels a lot or has to explore unfamiliar parts of a city. MapMyIndia, Garmin and Satguide have some good standalone devices for the car. The advantage of a dedicated GPS device over a Google Maps on a smartphone, is that GPS devices will work even if there is no Internet connectivity. Such devices can be procured anywhere (online shopping sites are the cheapest), as they require no complex fitment.

Parking sensors

If you live in a crowded city, you will appreciate the need for parking sensors. Most of the mid-range and premium cars now come with this feature as standard. But if you are buying an entry level hatchback or compact sedan, you would find this useful. Parking sensors come as a kit, with snap fit connectors, so there is no splicing of wires required. It taps into only one of the car’s original wires – the wire to the reverse light, using a crimp on connector. Xenos, Autocop, Minda, Worldtech are some companies that make sensors priced between Rs. 1,500 to Rs. 12,000 depending on the complexity. These can be purchased after market for a larger variety, although some dealers may insist on only a single brand. Also see: Are reverse parking sensors really useful?

Seat covers

Most cars come with matching interior plastics and seat fabric. However, if you want an even more luxurious feel, you can get custom made seat covers in the colour and material of your choice. Many opt for leather or artificial leather seat covers for a sense of luxury. However, not all vehicles can be fitted with seat covers. Vehicles that have side-impact airbags (Mahindra XUV500 W8, Tata Aria Pride, Skoda Yeti Elegance, Skoda Octavia etc) cannot be fitted with seat covers as it would compromise the functioning of the side-impact bags that are usually embedded in the sides of the front seats. The range of seat covers available in aftermarket shops is usually better than that of the dealer.

Alloy wheels

If you have a sizeable enough budget and your car does not have alloy wheels (most of the top-end variants of all cars come with alloy wheels), you can add this as well. Alloy wheels not only enhance the looks of the car, but they have significant advantages when it comes to handling and fuel efficiency of the car as well. Alloys are lighter than steel wheels and more rigid, therefore less prone to bending and being lighter they add marginally to fuel economy. Alloys are better bough aftermarket – as the range is wider and prices are lower. Also see: Buying alloy wheels for your car – a CarToq Guide

Door and bumper protectors

If you live in a crowded city, these are a few accessories you have to get. Bumper protectors are adhesive plastic or rubber strips that tape on at the corners or in front of the bumper to prevent minor bumps and brushes from scratching the paint. Door protectors are even more useful as the prevent the paint getting chipped off the door, in case a car is parked close to a wall and the door hits the wall when it is opened. These are inexpensive accessories and can be ordered online or bought in any accessory shop.

Daytime running lamps

In foggy or rainy weather daytime running lamps are a great safety accessory to have, in case your car already does not have them. LED based daytime running lamps are widely available now and come as a kit, which does not require any tapping into the car’s OEM wiring, thereby not compromising the car’s warranty. These lights use a direct connection from the car’s battery with a separate switch to turn them on or off. They also added plenty of character to the car’s styling. These can be ordered online or fitted at a reputed accessory shop. Also read: A guide to daytime running lamps for your car

Gear lock

A gear lock is an important piece of safety kit to have in the car. It is one of the biggest deterrents for car thieves. Gear locks come in two types – either a U-clamp shaped lock or a pin-type lock. The latter is more unobtrusive and can be nicely fitted into most vehicles. The U-clamp shaped locks take up more space in the car. Gearlocks are priced between 1,500 and Rs. 3,500 for a set. Also read: How to safeguard your car against theft

Music system

A good infotainment system can take the stress out of daily driving. Most mid-range and top-end models of cars have music systems these days, but the lower end variants do not. If you own one of these, then pick up a good system to jazz up the car. However, make sure the music system you are buying is a good brand and for which connecters are available in your car. Else, even though you would pay about 20% more, pick one from the dealer’s accessory list. If your car already has a music system, you could choose to upgrade the speakers, as most of the cars don’t have great speaker systems. Depending on your budget you could choose good co-axial speakers or go in for component speakers.

Share any other accessories you think are a must have for a brand new car.

Also see: 12 accessories to retro-fit to upgrade your car