Hooniverse Asks: What's the Best Aftermarket Upgrade for any Car or Truck?

So, as many of you may know, I replaced my daily driver a short while back. I promise that I’ll talk more about that soon, but right now I want to discuss a process that many new-to-you car owners go through after obtaining their ride. That is the personalization process, otherwise known as nesting. I for instance have made some subtle but noteworthy additions to my new whip addressing what I perceived to be deficiencies in feature and aesthetics.
That got me thinking that there must be some must-have aftermarket add-ons that we all should consider adding to our own cars, new or old. I don’t mean things like truck nuts or those crazy bed-mounted exhaust stacks like on that Ram above, I mean things like… Well, why don’t you tell me? What do YOU think is the best aftermarket upgrade for any car or truck?
Image: moparaction

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41 responses to “Hooniverse Asks: What's the Best Aftermarket Upgrade for any Car or Truck?”

  1. Tiberiuswise Avatar

    As far as upgrades go, I’m a big fan of leaving it stock until something wears out or breaks. By that time you know the car pretty well and can tell what would benefit it the most. Be it better shocks, tires, stereo, or what not.
    Other personalization items are, well, personal. As a fan of older Mustangs I added a 1970 Mach 1 dashboard badge from a junkyard to my 1985 back in the day. Many other passengers didn’t even notice it but it made me smile every time I glanced at it. I might even still have that badge somewhere….

    1. Kiefmo Avatar

      This is on top of the stock V8, and not an SBC, right? ‘Cause that’s the only way it’s okay.

      1. outback_ute Avatar

        Back in the 1990s there was a Mazda RX7 (S1) here in Australia with a 4/71 supercharger on the original rotary engine. The guy had fabricated an intake manifold to sit the blower centrally through the hood to make it look like a V8 conversion, and then blow minds instead when the hood was opened.

    2. boxdin Avatar

      OMG !

  2. Lokki Avatar

    A radar detector?

    1. Kiefmo Avatar


  3. Ross Ballot Avatar
    Ross Ballot


    1. Scoutdude Avatar


    2. Vairship Avatar

      Strangely enough, every car I ever bought already had them! 😉

    3. Rick Furnival Avatar
      Rick Furnival

      …And nice wheels.

  4. neight428 Avatar

    Before I got old, I would have said a nice throaty muffler, but throaty just means loud now. Aesthetically, tough to beat the “just right” set of wheels and tires, if such a thing exists for your particular vehicle.

  5. engineerd Avatar

    More and better driver education. Do a high performance driver education (HPDE) or similar. Most car clubs will allow anybody in any car (as long as it meets certain safety standards) to do so. Improving the person behind the wheel is the best money spent, IMHO.
    For the rest of the car, it depends on the car and its use. The best aftermarket upgrade I’ve made to the E90 BMW is ditching the stock runflats (after one let me get home) for proper summer (and now winter) tires. Ride improved dramatically and sticky summer rubber and more confident winter rubber have made the car infinitely more enjoyable to drive. Other cars come stock with good tires (i.e. the Michelins on my wife’s Edge are fantastic) so other areas might need to be addressed.

  6. Kaido Spec Avatar

    I like to start with the part of the car that I directly touch. Shift knob, steering wheel, pedals, seats. A heavy shift knob and a nice 3 spoke wheel are a must for me.

    1. Andrew_theS2kBore Avatar

      Agreed. For me, a fixed bucket and a 350mm wheel are usually the first upgrades.

  7. P161911 Avatar

    For a truck, a good roll up toneau cover and a locking tailgate. Allows tons of weather proof cargo space, but easily rolls up out of the way to carry the bigger stuff. The right cover and a locking tailgate makes it at least as secure as a convertible.

  8. Alff Avatar

    Tires is usually #1. Beyond that, depends on the car and mileage. If they come to you with 90K or more, new bushings all around are often a good investment.

    1. srx6 Avatar

      along same line, if older, new brakes.

    2. cap'n fast Avatar
      cap’n fast

      truly agree with you about the bushings. i took note of that thought. 128K in the mark VIII and it does creak and groan a bit. so, yes bushings and a four wheel alignment seems like a worthwhile investment on older vehicles.
      I am going to add to that seat cushion material. nothing worse than sagging seat cushions that give you an aching back and ruin what should be a pleasant ride. some cars and trucks have seats that end up feeling like your butt is down in a bucket or leave you feeling like you’ve been sitting on a wood bleacher at Lambo Field in the middle of February.

  9. mdharrell Avatar

    Pretentious license plate frames and vanity plates.

    1. Vairship Avatar

      Plus a personalized plate, which I interpreted as meaning you live at 209 feet above sea level.

      1. mdharrell Avatar

        It’s the car’s British registration. I did the same for the Metro, the Maestro, and the 66 GL.

  10. Colonel Panik Avatar
    Colonel Panik

    Portholes. Adhesive portholes

    1. boxdin Avatar

      Like stick on bullet holes.

  11. tonyola Avatar

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/45db3c78e69f52208bb66d43dfcdf6ba65a4699cabfc238227be004ee9ce9350.jpg No real discussion needed, except to say that these are the best upgrades.

    1. nanoop Avatar

      I like the wheels, too, but the sidewalls are probably considered as too wide today.

    2. Tiberiuswise Avatar

      I’d call them accessories, with the disclaimer that they are not part of the vehicle.

    3. CraigSu Avatar

      Safety first! Dual airbags! Seems like those would be standard safety equipment though.

    4. CraigSu Avatar

      Given the extra exhibition material I’m guessing that’s a Matra?

      1. tonyola Avatar

        Actually, it’s a TVR show car.

        1. cap'n fast Avatar
          cap’n fast

          WHAT!you mean there is a car in there somewhere?????

  12. 0A5599 Avatar

    Find one in every car. You’ll see.

  13. CraigSu Avatar

    On a serious note, if you own a Volvo the best first upgrade must be iPd anti-sway bars followed by tires/wheels.

    1. caltemus Avatar

      I’ve been considering the skid plate. The fancy aluminium oil pan is just asking for a big ol’ rock

      1. outback_ute Avatar

        Good idea, my first car had a dent in its thankfully-steel sump (aka oil pan) that probably took near half a litre from its capacity. No idea how it got there!

  14. cap'n fast Avatar
    cap’n fast

    After i got old, i didn’t like noisy exhaust. after a few years of quiet exhaust, I decided that loud does have a place in my world. but then, i did want comfort also. ’98 Mark VIII with 2.5″ pipes with lots of HP and torque. very, very satisfying. still, not quite as loud as a J-79 cracking on in afterburner.
    Denver PD fellow asked if it wasn’t a bit too much; fortune smiled at me as at that moment a lad on a harley with open pipes roared past us. i told the officer “not so you would notice”.
    changed the rear end to trutrac and 3.73 gears and 21 tooth speedo gear. not quite a look at me type ride but i do smile when grey haired little old ladies give it the thumbs up.

  15. JBsC6 Avatar

    Depends on the car? I did a few interior mods to create better touch points in my corvette z51 m6….I believe a short throw shifter is a good mod…..a D shaped steering wheel is a nice addition or change…..a computer tune for the car along with air intakes make for an easy 15 hp and lb/ft..
    I added a heads up display and that was a cool addition….updating the wheel sixes from 18/19s to 19/20 has been a plus…..as from going from polished rims to blacked out rims….for a more contemporary look and slightly better ride and handling…
    Winter time having an extra set of wheels and tires for the snow….is a huge plus….I don’t know if that’s cool considered a mod…but what a great way to spend money….huge improvement in winter capability….
    AN interior exhaust controller to open up the sound of the exhaust on demand was an inexpensive and fun mod although most of the time I let the originally designed -3000 rpm be the natural opening point of the baffles…
    Center console and elbow touch point leather cushions on the doors and improved seats are also nice mods….that about sums it up….
    One mod that’s impressive these days that I thought about but didn’t do was the edlebrock supercharger for around 9 or 10 grand….installed…adds about an extra 150 hp and is pretty legit in not destroying your car over 100k miles,,..

  16. salguod Avatar

    First thing I do to each car I buy is get Piaa silicone wipers. Long lasting and treat the glass like Rain-X so water beads up and runs off.

  17. Steven Lilly Avatar
    Steven Lilly

    Does the magnet to hold your cell phone to the air vent count? I know it isn’t cool but it sure is useful.

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