It’s that time of year again! You’ve done your duty and filed your taxes to find a tidy sum as a refund check. With spring here it is an excellent time to do some upgrades on your daily driver. Whether your trusty ride is brand new or has a few miles under its odometer, the right accessories can make it your own. Here’s a few tax return worthy car accessories to think about.
Seat covers have come a long way from the saggy wrinkly bags of decades ago. Improvements in materials and assembly techniques have created seat covers that sometimes look like they were there from the factory. There’s lots of seat covers for cars, trucks and SUVs but here are a few options that may work for you:
- Neoprene Seat Covers – These car seat covers are great if you need protection from wet conditions or hobbies that lead to wet clothes. They are great at shrugging off messy spills from kids, muddy paw prints, or slushy mess from a walk through a winter parking lot.
- Leather Seat Covers – Looking for an upgrade over your factory fabric seats? Or maybe your factory leather seats have seen better days. Either way there are leather and simulated leather seat covers for nearly every application. Leather has long been a popular seat material for great looks and high-quality feel. Simulated leather has come a long way from the dark days of 1970s vinyl upholstery. Modern simulated leather seat covers have a great look and feel without the extra expense.
- Velour Seat Covers – Treat yourself in velvet-like luxury with a set of classic velour seat covers. While velour isn’t as common on new cars as they were in decades past, they still have a place in seat materials. The softness makes your seats feel like a home recliner while the material won’t scorch your legs in the summer.
Humble car floor mats may not seem like an important accessory until the day you wind up with a big mess. Maybe you stepped in an especially nasty puddle on the way across the parking lot. Maybe the Pad Thai that was staying warm via the passenger seat heater is now cooling in the passenger floorboard thanks to a sudden stop. Factory floor mats can only do so much to protect your vehicle floors. Whether your factory mats are worn out, missing or just not cutting it anymore, a set of all-weather floor mats is a fantastic upgrade. There are several types of all-weather floor mats for cars depending on just how much of a mess you want to contain. If you are happy with the factory-type floor mats then you can always upgrade to a nicer material or even change colors. Express your personality with a set of logo floor mats and personalize your ride. Regardless of which floor mats you choose they are a smart investment in vehicle protection.
At first the backup camera for car makers was a high-end option, but for 2018 backup cameras for cars, trucks and SUVs became mandatory. Every new vehicle sold since then has a vehicle backup camera. If your vehicle wasn’t equipped with a factory car backup camera you can still add one now. There are several options to choose from. You can upgrade to a car stereo with backup camera inputs for an integrated look. If you go with a car radio with a backup camera look for a matched set for no-problem compatibility. You can go with a simple wireless backup camera for cars that would be hard to pull a hard wire. There are also standalone units with small screens that mount on the dash. Picking the right backup camera for vehicles not originally equipped with one only requires figuring out where you want to see the display and how complicated you want to make the installation.
Car stereo technology has made great leaps forward over the last few years. In the past if you wanted a large touchscreen audio entertainment system, it had to come installed in the vehicle from the factory. But now anyone can have one thanks to clever design packaging. There are single DIN unit that retract into the dash when off but slide out when powered on. Double DIN units can look factory fresh with the right matching bezel. Audio inputs now focus on digital means rather than discs or cassettes, making for much more compact packaging. These “mechless” units can sometimes be easier to install thanks to the now missing bulky mechanical bits. Modern features like BlueTooth audio, Android Auto, Apple Carplay, Spotify, Pandora and navigation apps can make any vehicle feel like a new one.
You don’t need to own a trailer to benefit from a trailer hitch. Think of it as a multi-purpose accessory connector. Once you have a receiver hitch installed it is easy to carry cargo that otherwise wouldn’t fit in your vehicle. Bike racks are a popular hitch mounted accessory for safe and secure transport. A cargo basket adds a sturdy platform at the back of your vehicle that can carry things like camping gear, coolers, storage bins, even small yard equipment like a mower or tiller. Of course once you do have a trailer hitch installed it opens up the possibility of pulling a utility trailer. Just don’t forget to add a trailer light wiring adapter to power the trailer lights.
It’s the little things that make time behind the wheel better. Upgrade to a phone charger with more ports or higher amperage output. Maybe grab a cell phone holder so you can take back your cup holder. Pick up a new phone charging cable with the right length that best suits your needs. If you are working on the go a power inverter can keep a laptop and other electronics charged.
Check out all the accessories available on NAPA Online or trust one of our 17,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information on tax return worthy car accessories, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.
Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
With an automotive writing career spanning over two decades, Brian has a passion for sharing the automotive lifestyle. An avid DIYer he can usually be found working on one of his many project cars. His current collection includes a 1969 Olds Delta 88 convertible, BMW E46 sedan, and a slant-6 powered 1975 Plymouth Duster.