BUYING a new car can be a difficult and time-consuming process right now.
If you don’t have to wait an age for your new car to be built due to supply chain and semiconductor issues, you instead have to pay the resulting inflated prices for a used car.
How about upgrading the old engine you already have?
Fortunately, there are plenty of inexpensive solutions to bring your car up to date.
Some will require a professional to fit, but others only need an online purchase and can be installed by you for immediate use.
And it’s not just the in-car tech that makes the list – there are also inexpensive ways to make your old car safer and more efficient.
12 volt USB charger – £5
Apparently all gadgets charge via USB these days, so not having a USB port in your car can be a big deal.
Luckily, there are countless inexpensive options on the market for adapting your car’s 12-volt cigarette lighter to USB power.
Both USB-A and USB-C adapters are available, or even adapters with both USB formats can be found if you have devices with both types.
Apple CarPlay and Android Auto – from £150
Apple CarPlay and Android Auto essentially mirror your phone’s screen inside your car.
This is handy because most people know their phone, but many struggle with car systems.
Most new cars now have these systems, but you can convert older cars by replacing their radio units with a new display.
We strongly recommend getting a professional to fit it to your needs, but units for some cars start at £150 on Amazon and eBay. Halfords sell Sony and Pioneer units from around £270.
Wi-Fi in the car – free
If you’re on the go a lot and do a lot of work from your car, you might want to consider a stable Wi-Fi connection.
If your car was built before the invention of the internet, you might be wondering how this is possible.
There are dedicated WiFi dongles that can be plugged in, but since most people have a smartphone these days, we suggest using it as a free hotspot instead.
Just make sure your phone and network are capable of doing it and that you have enough data for what you need to do.
DAB Radio – £50
Digital radio is the future and every new car on sale now comes with a DAB radio receiver.
However, it is easy to buy a DAB radio receiver for your car these days and enjoy clearer radio on the go.
If you are a do-it-yourselfer, you can do it yourself or hire a professional.
Either way, this opens up hundreds of additional radio stations that are DAB only.
Headlight bulbs – £20
Headlight technology is one of the fastest growing areas of the car.
Back then, you’d be happy to see where you were going.
We now have OLED lights with hundreds of pixels that can detect oncoming cars and avoid dazzling them from hundreds of feet away.
You can’t have this on your old banger, of course, but from around £20 you can buy more powerful bulbs which have a whiter light to dramatically improve what you can see at night.
Aero wipers – £20
Wiper technology hasn’t evolved as quickly, but the latest wipers will last longer and wipe more efficiently than those of the day.
They are often designed more aerodynamically, which reduces wind noise at high speeds and also helps reduce fuel costs.
Buying new wipers and using products like Rain-X on your windshield to prevent smudging also means you can see more and drive safer on rainy days.